Thursday, November 7, 2013

Ironman Florida Recovery

by Meghann on November 7, 2013

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

I’m not sure I can say thank you enough. Thank you for all the well wishes, thank you for all the congrats, and thank you for always believing in my siblings and I. You guys are freaking amazing!

Also, a big thanks to Amber, Jess, Mary, Steph, my mom, and everyone else who contributed to the #IRONSIBLINGS Twitter/Instagram feed on race day. It was so much fun to read through the entire feed on the way home from Panama City Beach. You guys made me laugh.

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(p.s. Had NO idea our smooch was airing live on the live stream! Whoops.)

Now let’s talk Ironman recovery. I thought moving for 13 hours straight would leave me wanting nothing but my bed on Saturday night, but I was so full of adrenaline that I still couldn’t sit still! After Kelly crossed the finish line, I went to the massage tent to get a free 10 minutes massage. I dropped a paper on the floor as I was waiting my turn and wasn’t able to bend to pick it up. I kind of stared at the paper for a second, before politely asking one of the volunteers if they could help me. I believe the words “I can’t bend” came out of my mouth.

When they went through the pre-massage Q&A they asked if my legs were what was bothering me. Oddly, at that point my legs felt great. They weren’t cramping and didn’t really at all. It was my lower back that was the issue. I wasn’t in a lot of pain, but my lower back was definitely telling me that it was not happy with me at that moment.

I was taken to a bed immediately and had an amazing massage. If you ever complete an Ironman – head straight to the massage tents. Trust me. It’s worth it. It was also nice to just lay down and relax for a few minutes to let everything sink in.

After my massage, I went to the hotel room and reheated the leftover Mellow Mushroom (I couldn’t get enough food in), then proceeded to shower. I wasn’t even close to being ready for bed, so my friend Amber and I headed back to finish line to watch the final 30 minutes of finishers finish.

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It was such a cool experience to be there as the final finishers came in. I recognized a lot of faces from when I was out on the course and their faces were full of so much joy and accomplishment, that it was hard not to be inspired by them. I think the crowd cheered the loudest for the final three finishers, who made the cut-off by mere seconds! Unfortunately there was one finisher we cheered for that didn’t make it. The announcer still said his name, but no mention of “You are an IRONMAN” followed. Can you imagine completing 140.6 miles and not making the cut-off by 20 seconds?! I know it happens at every race, but it broke my heart watching it in person.

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I slept awful Saturday night. The mix of adrenaline and daylight savings time had me wide awake at 4:00am. I just kept repeating “13:05, 13:05, 13:05” to myself. I think I was afraid that if I did fall in a deep sleep that I would wake up and realize that Saturday had all been a dream. That’s I’d never actually done the race and still had to complete 140.6 miles the next day. Eeekkk

Luckily it wasn’t a dream. My brother called me at 6:30 to let me know the rest of the family was awake and they were heading to the finisher’s tent to buy gear. Since Finisher’s merchandise is limited, there’s always a huge line the morning after the race. We arrived at 6:45ish and ended up waiting close to two hours to buy our jackets. I still can’t believe we waited that long.

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Of course, it was nice to rock our finisher shirts and hats while in line. I’m usually not a fan of running hats, but I was wearing mine proudly on Sunday.

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While in line, I also got my 140.6 sticker from another booth.

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Yep, I did a full Ironman just so I could put the 140.6 sticker on the back of my car. No judging.

After what felt like forever, I spent way too much money on my new favorite jacket.

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Finisher, baby!!

Then I took advantage of the athlete breakfast buffet. I couldn’t shove enough free food on my plate – I was starving!

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My legs didn’t feel that bad on Sunday. The worst part was going from a seated position to walking, but once I started moving, my legs felt normal again. Stairs were a challenge, but doable. Honestly, I’ve felt worse after marathons, which is strange because I technically did a marathon.

That’s not to say I wasn’t moving slow – trust me – I was definitely moving slow. I just wasn’t in as much pain as I was expecting.

However, my neck did burn. Despite generously applying Body Glide, the wetsuit still caused my neck to chafe. This one hurt.

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Derek and I headed home after breakfast. We made a pit stop in Tallahassee for more food (Publix subs!) and picked up Burger21 once we made it back to Tampa.

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The car ride sucked (it made getting up extra painful) and – surprisingly – I stayed awake for most of it. I think I was still riding high from my race because I didn’t go to bed until late that night either. As soon as we got home, I immediately started reviewing race data and checking in on how everyone else did on race day.

I think my peak amount of pain came on Monday, that’s also when the lack of sleep caught up to me. I was a zombie at work, a proud zombie, but definitely a zombie.

My co-workers were amazing and had doughnuts waiting and a big “Congrats!” goodie basket full of chocolate on my dek. A huge box of cookies from a former co-worker arrived the next day. I thanked them for helping me make up my calorie deficient (and then some!).

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I scheduled a massage for Monday and it was amazing. Painful, but amazing. It was definitely what I needed and I felt so much better afterwards. After that my recovery process sped up. Tuesday was better than Monday and by Wednesday I was even wearing heels and taking the stairs like a pro again. I also started getting the itch to run.

I registered to run Disney’s Wine and Dine Half Marathon MONTHS ago, knowing perfectly well that it was the weekend after my full. Everyone said I was crazy, and I feel no need to correct them – it is crazy. But I feel fine and I plan to run this for fun. No pressure, I just really, really want to earn my coast-to-coast medal and this is my last chance to get it!

So I’m planning to run (or slowly jog) and just enjoy the race. After that, who knows what my next adventure will be!

I plan to do a full Q&A post on the Ironman, so please leave any questions you have below!!

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