The marathon turned out to be a real hard work. I think I was fine after the flu, but my muscles took a major hit because of the viros. My legs have started feeling really sore at 10km mark, and after the 25th km drinking station I have had a major crisis, from which I have never fully recovered. Just after 10km mark I started to feel serious pain in my quads – something I have never ever felt before, even during more intense training sessions. Then, after 25th km and a major collapse of the muscles, I had to slow down. I could run all the way, and the problem was not my body. It was simply the muscles in the legs. They just gave up. I could feel like running faster but every time I tried I was reaching the point of getting cramps in my legs. So, the final 15km or so was pretty much just hard work, and waiting for the finish line. Towards the end of the race, on the two small hills, I had to walk, because my muscles were too weak to run up hill. I have finished the race as 78th runner, with time 3:43.
The first two days of recovery were pretty bad – my muscles were real stiff, and I was unable to carry my own weight on even slightly bend leg. The knees were sore too of course. The hot baths and sauna helped lots, and by Wednesday I could almost walk normally. 2 more days and my knees were almost good, and muscles allowed me to carry myself up and down the stairs. After the first week, on Wednesday, I took part in a soccer game, and felt pretty good. Then Thursday I have had a first short run. The knees felt a bit sore afterwards.
Today I have run the first longer run (The Shorter Maia run, 10km) and felt great, although I could feel my knees a bit. Muscles seem to be fine now too.
Ula asked me why did I run, even though I knew it is going to be hard work, and I am not going to be able to beat my best time. Well, I did beat my last year time by 15min! And I did not run it for time, but rather for the experience. I am now 1 marathon older, and I know my body better. I have learned where the cramp point is, and how to continue running without getting cramps. I also learned how to “rest” one leg a little bit. And of course, the last 15km were a real test of my arm-based running – how to help carrying your legs with arms. None of that I would possibly learn without actually running. Of course it was hard, but the fun of running and the sense of achievement is irrespective of the time you make. It is always an extremely elevating feeling. I was great, especially the weather, the sight of the finish line, and the family waiting there for me. It was the first time that I have not actually cried at the end, too. I guess because of the leg muscles giving up so early, I was not able to push my body to the limits this time.