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My Life and Body after Ironman

It’s now been a month since IMMT, which is hard to believe! My body and my life are almost back to normal post Ironman, well almost…

Be patient and tough someday this pain will be useful to you

‘Patience is a virtue’ someone once said…but seriously, in life, I have no patience.  I swear the person who came up with that phrase was not an athlete. The whole recovery post-ironman thing was physically and mentally challenging!  My mind wanted to exercise, but my body was saying woah, woah slow the heck down.  I made it a point to listen to my body and take things sloooow at first.  I knew that rushing back into things would set me up for injury and I did not want that.

I must say, it took longer than I thought it would getting back into training post Ironman race.  I knew I would have to give myself time to recover, but little did I realize how long it would take to feel ‘normal.’  It took about three plus weeks to feel like I could train like myself again.  Here is a little break down of how I recovered and got back into the swim/bike/run life.

The week following the Ironman:

DOMS and more DOMS. Light hiking, walking, easy spinning on the bike (5 days post race), VERY light running the weekend after the race.  This was a true recovery week!

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Second week post-IM:

Lots of biking, lots of swimming, a little bit of running. At this point, two weeks post race, I still had to pay attention to the fact that I was still RECOVERING and even though my mind wanted to run, I just had to take things easy.  I had no plan to follow, so I just went with what I felt like, at a conservative effort.  During my workouts that week, my heart rate wanted to be really high even though I was putting out minimal effort.  I heard this happening to other athletes post IM, and my coach said it was normal.  It was just really weird to have my heart rate be in a Zone 2, when I was working at a recovery pace.  The little running that I did felt VERY slow, slower than my normal recovery pace.  For me this was around a 9 minute mile.  My legs did not want to go fast, at all.  I listened to my body and went slow.  I kept having to convince myself that I just did an Ironman two weeks ago and it was ok to go slow! Plus my legs literally could not go faster.  Oh and I did make the mistake of going on a long hike at the end of the second week (11 miles of hiking to be specific). Not the best idea because the downhill totally crushed my quads.  I paid for that hike the whole entire week following… ouch.

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Third week post-IM:

Almost back to normal! I reintroduced more running during the third week post IM.  Again, just doing whatever I wanted for workouts, as long as it wasn’t anything too crazy.  I was biking more, swimming more and going on longer runs. It felt great to be getting in my running ‘groove’ again.   I also started to incorporate more CORE work, something I was slacking on as my IM got closer.  Running started to feel almost normal at this point, and my legs finally had more life in them!  My pace was finally where it was before my IM, yay! One thing that did pop up is my left patellar tendon started to get extra cranky.  I think I have some muscular imbalances that I need to work on… time to strength train again!

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Fourth week post-IM:

This was last week, and I must say I felt like myself again.  I did some extra-long runs, which was very therapeutic since my grandmother passed away suddenly. Running is definitely great therapy for when you’re feeling sad.  I ended up running a lot last week, and near the end of the week I was really starting to feel it… my coach said to back off a bit, so I did.  Over the weekend, I did a long bike ride (50 miles) and we did a short hike (4 miles) yesterday.  It’s been nice doing whatever workout I felt like.. i.e. not focusing on an exact heart rate, distance, etc.

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 What’s up next?

After coming off of the Ironman, I definitely had a case of the ‘Post IM Blues.’  It’s hard not to feel sad when the BIG event is over… and now you are home recovering and feeling sorry for yourself.  I had so much free time, but yet I couldn’t work out much.. I was going stir crazy!  It was also really hard not to want to sign up for another Ironman.  I gave myself a few weeks to think about my 2015 plan.  This past week, about a month since the IM, I signed up for Ironman Mont-Tremblant 2015 AND I submitted my qualifying time to the 2015 Boston Marathon!  I hope to hear any day now if I’ve been accepted (I plan on being accepted since I finished 11 mins ahead of the minimum qualifying time). Initally I thought about not running Boston this year, but it’s so easy to sign up when it’s right in my backyard.  Also, I figured third times a charm. This will be my third consecutive Boston.

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For the remainder of 2014, I have two races planned.  I will be racing the Scituate Duathlon on Oct 5th (my first one! 2 mile run, 10.2 mile bike, 2.3 mile run) and I will be running the Manchester NH Marathon on Nov 2nd. My training plan for both races started today!  It feels good and back on a plan:)

UP NEXT….

 

 

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18 Comments

  • Reply Megan @ Meg Go Run September 16, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    It’s refreshing to read about an athlete recovering so smartly from such a huge event. I don’t understand those that try to jump back into “normal” training right away. I’d be too afraid to get injured! Your Boston pic made me feel all warm inside! I ran it last year and it was an awesome experience. I hope to do it again in a few years. It’s a pretty big trip for me to make, and honestly, for me to qualify I need to be at my peak performance wise, so it’s quite a commitment for me to qualify for it.

    • Reply Kristin September 16, 2014 at 2:05 pm

      Thank you! Yes it’s SO important to ease back into things slowly, especially after something like an Ironman. It’s hard to not let your ego get the best of you:) Aww, love the Boston Marathon! I hope you get to run it again in a few years!

  • Reply Beth @ Running with the Sunrise September 16, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    I know my legs are sore and tired after just a marathon–I can’t imagine how you must have felt after the Ironman! It’s great that you listened to your body, which I’m sure helped your recovery a lot. And looks like you got to enjoy some beautiful spots to hike! Best of luck to you in training for the rest of your races this year–I’m looking forward to reading about them!

    • Reply Kristin September 16, 2014 at 7:11 pm

      Thanks for stopping by, Beth:) It’s funny, after the Ironman my legs did not feel any worse than they do after a stand alone Marathon.. I know that’s hard to believe! Yes, listening to your body is SO important after a big race. We hike in New Hampshire a lot and are very lucky to have mountains nearby. I Look forward to following your blog as well!

  • Reply Nicole September 16, 2014 at 11:55 pm

    It took me about 2 months to feel back to normal post ironman so definitely do not ever feel bad about running slow! The ironman does a lot to your body and it definitely ironman time to heal even if you don’t feel it sometimes.

    Sounds like you’re doing a good job of keeping things easy! Sounds like an exciting fall and next year is already falling into place!

    • Reply Kristin September 17, 2014 at 6:59 pm

      Good to know it took you a while too! Honestly, I wouldn’t say I feel 100%, but I’m getting there. You forget how BIG of a deal an Ironman is for your body.. it’s easy to get caught up in the hype of it all.

  • Reply Courtney@The TriGirl Chronicles September 17, 2014 at 12:34 am

    Glad you’re recovering well and bounced back quick enough. So exciting that you signed up for IMMT again, and yay to Boston!!

    • Reply Kristin September 17, 2014 at 6:57 pm

      Thank you!! I’m excited too!

  • Reply Sara @ lifebetweenthemiles September 17, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    You recovered the right way, your body needed a break! I am so excited for your upcoming races and have no doubt you will be back at Boston in 2015!

    • Reply Kristin September 17, 2014 at 6:56 pm

      Thanks Sara! I hope to be back in Boston… it’s been a week and I haven’t heard acceptance yet, taking longer than last year:)

  • Reply Kecia September 18, 2014 at 1:50 am

    I’m struggling with the post IM blues right now and am in the middle of my 2nd week of recovery. I’m really trying hard to convince Tim that we should do IM Boulder in 2015…I think he is starting to get more on board with it. I caught him watching youtube videos for IM Boulder this evening 😉

    • Reply Kristin September 18, 2014 at 8:42 pm

      DO IT DO IT!! Boulder would be amazing!! I would love to do that race one day.

  • Reply Leslie @ Triathlete Treats September 18, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    I am glad that you are recovering well! Sounds like you are doing everything right! I told you it is weird how you feel like you can work out and then you go to run and you feel off or “flat”!! But looks like you are back to things now!! 🙂
    Everyone is talking about the post IM blues: I guess I never had them because I knew I was doing NYC marathon. I wasn’t super concerned with starting to train right away but now that I am knee deep into training again it feels good. It also feels good just to focus on running and not having to focus on 3 sports!! 🙂

    • Reply Kristin September 18, 2014 at 8:32 pm

      Yes you WERE right Leslie! I felt so flat for those couple of weeks post IM! Excited for you that you get to run NYC! That must have totally taken your mind off of the post race blues:)

  • Reply Kristen @ Glitter and Dust September 19, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    I can’t imagine the toll a full Ironman has on the body. It takes me a while to recover from a marathon alone, so the thought of recovering from a swim, bike, and THEN marathon is crazy. I am seriously impressed by how much activity you were able to do in the weeks following your race. I think it is really interesting how your heart rate was high doing moderate activities – amazing how our bodies work and respond to racing and training. I love the photo of you and your friend hiking with the dogs. SO FUN! And I agree, when any big race or event comes to an end, it is really hard not to feel a little sad and depressed. I am exactly like you in that I have to get something on my schedule, even if it is far away in the future. Just knowing I have something to work toward helps tremendously. I am so excited that you are running Boston and will be doing another Ironman this year. Go Girl!!!

  • Reply Kristen @ Glitter and Dust September 19, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    I can’t imagine the toll a full Ironman has on the body. It takes me a while to recover from a marathon alone, so the thought of recovering from a swim, bike, and THEN marathon is crazy. I am seriously impressed by how much activity you were able to do in the weeks following your race. I think it is really interesting how your heart rate was high doing moderate activities – amazing how our bodies work and respond to racing and training. I love the photo of you and your friend hiking with the dogs. SO FUN! And I agree, when any big race or event comes to an end, it is really hard not to feel a little sad and depressed. I am exactly like you in that I have to get something on my schedule, even if it is far away in the future. Just knowing I have something to work toward helps tremendously. I am so excited that you are running Boston and will be doing another Ironman next year. Go Girl!!!

  • Reply erin September 28, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    Ah, the post IM blues. They’re so real, right?! I really struggled the first two weeks after Wisco. Been better this week thanks to some gorgeous weather and lots of time on my bike 🙂 Anyway, sounds like you’ve been recovering smart. I’m so excited that you signed up for IMMT again! And, Boston! Yay! Hope you’re having a lovely vacation and that training for your upcoming du and 26.2 is going well!

    • Reply Kristin October 3, 2014 at 11:26 pm

      SO REAL. It sucks. seriously. Glad to hear you’ve been getting out on your bike! I’m so excited we are both repeating our 2014 races in 2015, so awesome! I’m looking forward to Boston, even though training all winter in Mass is tough! It’s worth the struggle:)

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