I am not going to recap too much of my experience at the Trans-Pecos Ultra. A lot of that has been covered in my Q&A posted on the Smashfest Diaries here. A bunch of post-race interviews are also being posted, you can find them here as they come out.
One thing I didn’t cover too much with my race inside is about my recovery from this event (at the time of writing, it was too soon to reflect on how the recovery went!). It’s now been just over 2 weeks since I finished running so I have had a little bit of time to compare this to other races.
Overall, I have been super happy about how recovery has been. On the physical side I had a lot of the standard experiences post-ultra: cankles galore, swollen toes, sore muscles, etc. That said, I didn’t feel like it was ever as intense as it is post-100 miler, or even post-50 miler, despite the last day of running being well over 50 miles. I think that’s because the overall pace of running here was slower, especially that last day, compared to how I’ve been able to race ultras in the past. I don’t think I dug quite as deep into the muscle breakdown as when I have raced ultras before. That gives me something to think about in terms of what I could do in future stage races — could I race myself physically to that level? And, how to push myself to that point?
That said, it’s clear that the overall effort still took a big toll on my body. While the initial physical side of things wasn’t as acute in terms of pain or soreness, the more intangibles and overall body fatigue was easily the same, if not more, than a 100 miler. After the Long Trail, I always get nervous that my sleep status will be affected from these efforts. And knowing that sleep is the best way to recover, it’s nerve-racking wondering if I will even be able to sleep to take advantage of that. Good news folks: this was not an issue! In the first week after the event, I was sleeping 10-12+ hours a night without issue. I’ve never been more grateful for a flexible lifestyle to allow me to take advantage of this. I am positive that being able to sleep for a week straight when my body was asking for it will help me recover faster and move along to my next training block without issue (when that time comes, not there yet don’t worry!).
I have also been eating like a champ. Whatever 6 days of self-supported racing does to your metabolism is the REAL deal. I’m talking like even 10 days after the event I picked up a leaf off my carpet and put it in my mouth because I thought I dropped a pretzel chip and was hungry enough to eat off my carpet apparently. I had some of my bffs from high school come to visit in the week after as well — that meant minimal physical activity, a lot of wine, and plenty of food and snacks. Typically after that kind of weekend I am craving clean eating and movement. This time around? Not so much! My body still wanted unlimited food and wasn’t too keen on getting moving yet. So, I’m listening to it!
I have been swimming masters through my days of having a break from structure as well. Some people like to take time totally off, and I am giving my body a good few weeks off of running with plenty of total rest days. But I still like to hike to stay sane, and to be honest if I didn’t go to masters I might go days without social interaction! So masters is good for my mind and body in this time 🙂
Also on the list for this time? Major cleaning of my apartment, Christmas decorations are coming out, and other various housekeeping items for getting ready for my next training block….small things like getting new goggles and also big things like a bike fit! This was particularly exciting as I went back to Joe at VeloConcepts just up the road in Culpeper, and it was my first time with him and the new fit system he has. I absolutely recommend anyone heading to him to take advantage of this system. It’s really cool to be able to dial in your original position on the fit bike, slowly make some changes, and then be able to bounce between old-new seamlessly to compare the fits and keep dialing it in. I’ve also never used a pressure mapping system before to assess my saddle. I have always sat more on the left side of the saddle, and I just assumed that was how it would be based on my anatomy! Working with Joe this week we made some adjustments, and I’ll be swapping to the ISM PS 1.0 saddle going forward, which allows me to sit evenly on the saddle. Super cool to be able to see that technology up close.
More updates to come as I work through offseason and begin to plan what is ahead. Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving!