The day after my first marathon, back in 2004, I felt like someone had snapped off my feet and I was walking around on the stumps of my ankles.
Fortunately, I feel a lot better than that today after marathon number five. Yesterday evening I soaked my legs in a warm bath. This morning I went to work as usual – an active day-after is a helpful way to recover from the race and avoid seizing up completely. And my office job means that I’m not on my feet all day. (Imagine how a marathon-running hospital nurse would be feeling at work the day after a race.) Speaking of which, my feet are fine, apart from just a little bruising on one toe. I’m flexing my feet happily as I write this.
Still, I can’t have you believing I’m completely impervious to the effects of yesterday’s 26-miler. The muscles in my upper legs are aching and quite stiff – not painful but enough to cause me some inconvenience. In particular, the left leg gives a strange little flex backwards at times when I walk on it.
The bane of my existence right now are steps and stairs. Thankfully my apartment building has a lift, and I was able to plot my way home with minimal climbing. But any rogue steps in my path were a considerable challenge. Bannisters (named after Roger Bannister, who invented them to help aching runners get upstairs to bed after tough sub-4 mile races – look it up on Wikipedia) provided a measure of physical and moral support, but couldn’t completely ease the discomfort.
Contrary to what I would have expected, going up steps was easier for me than going down them. Descending backwards, ladder-stylee, sounded like a good suggestion but didn’t make a great difference for me.
But, summoning up yesterday’s last-mile determination and some of what my English friends would recognise as Churchillian fight-’em-on-the-beaches spirit, I nailed those three steps! Yeah!
Consider this: there are probably some of yesterday’s Paris Marathon finishers who spent today touristing up and down the steps of the Eiffel Tower. So you think I’m mad for running marathons? I’m the one who passes for normal around here.