It has been 8 weeks since running my 2:29:38 marathon in Rotterdam, which gave me the standard for the 2016 Olympic Games. And I think I can finally say I have recovered. Normally it wouldn’t take nearly this long to recover from a marathon. After all, it was my eleventh marathon so I guess I should know. Physically, recovery wasn’t too bad. I had a minor pull in my right hip, which hindered my training for the Canadian 10 km championship in Ottawa so it ended up being just a fun season finale. But emotionally, I needed much more time to recover.
As more time passed and the further removed I became from my Rotterdam performance, the more I realized its significance. I was incredibly grateful and needed time to fully appreciate everything that happened. Achieving the Olympic standard on my first attempt, only 11.5 months after fracturing my femur, while being fully mentally prepared for three attempts, was something I would not take lightly. I wanted and needed to smell the roses – figuratively, and literally – the ones from my coach, husband and children.
The time was well-deserved and necessary, to let it soak in. And I certainly was not going to jump into too much training or racing, too soon. I have clearly proven that I am the type of athlete who does well, starting from scratch. From nothing. After three babies and a broken leg, I knew what my body and mind needed. After racing the 10 km, while waiting to provide my sample for doping control with Linsday Carson, she suggested that we do a cool down together. On any other occasion, I would have taken her up on the offer. But I was done. Done. Done. So I politely declined her offer. Instead, I enjoyed a quiet walk alone back to the hotel, had some dinner with speedsters, Lanni Marchant and Natasha Wodak, enjoyed a hot shower, got into my pyjamas, and savoured a scrumptious chocolate bar while visiting with my roommate, Catrin Jones, who would be running the marathon the next morning. I too was going to have an early start because I was a part of the marathon broadcast.
After Ottawa, life was busy at home. The day after my return, Jonathan left for a week of work. Then I left for Calgary, the day after he got home. I thoroughly enjoyed my weekend in Calgary, providing the national half marathon broadcast for athleticscanada.tv at the Calgary Marathon, and spending time with Jonathan’s family and our seven year old old son who went with me, not to mention that the trip also included a gorgeous afternoon in Banff.
In the last 8 weeks I have averaged a mere 60 km a week of running and 10 hours a week of training (running, pool, bike) with my usual weight-training and preventative maintenance routine. Then, I’ve also had a speaking engagement or media commitment every day since my return from Calgary and attempted to keep up with the usual housework and busyness that comes with a dog and a trio of active kids. Of course, I have certainly included a wide variety of sweets back into my diet, something I enjoy after every marathon. From warm chocolate brownies with vanilla ice cream to carrot cake and pecan squares from Brantford’s SWEET Bakery, I have almost had my fill. Not sure I will get one of my Aunt’s butter tarts this time but I will, no doubt, end with another peanut buster parfait, before commencing another marathon build.
It was a difficult decision, but I have decided to forego running for Canada at the Pan Am Games in Toronto and World Championships in Beijing. But attempting to train and compete so soon would risk injury and jeopardize competing my best at the 2016 Olympic Games. Most marathoners run two quality marathons per year and I am definitely one of them. So, I continue to recover and enjoy my off-season while slowly building my mileage and balancing other areas in my life, before going back at it again.