Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Recovery from 60 miles

One question that I get a lot after the 3-day for the Cure is what recovery is like. I've walked 60 miles in 3 days seven times (well, 6 times. I only walked 54 miles when I was pregnant.) I feel prepared to answer this question.

The first thing that is important about recovery is how well I've trained. The years that I've been very well trained, walking 30-40 miles a week regularly leading up to the event and walking 10+ miles a day at least two days in a row, recovery is much easier than years where I don't. This year I didn't train like I have in years past, but I'm still doing alright.

I like to view the 3-day as 5 days instead. The event starts with Day Zero. I watch what I eat - trying to eat healthy and filling foods while also drinking a great deal of water. I also try to relax in the evening of day zero in hopes of getting deep sleep. I know I won't get that much sleep, but I know deep sleep is important.

Days 1-3 are hard. I drink lots of water, try to sleep, and take care of myself as much as I can. Sunscreen is important, as well as getting enough salty snacks to maintain hydration. I eat good food, drink lots of water, and stretch. All of this helps with recovery.

Day 4 is hard. Because of this, I always try take the Monday after the 3-day off from work. I do my best to stay home all day. I get as much sleep as possible (which isn't as easy with a toddler!) and try to rest all day long. Here are a few important things to consider on day 4:

  • Move! - Every 30-45 minutes or so I get off the couch and get moving. I clean the house, do laundry, and walk around. 
  • Drink lots of water. - Dehydration is a big deal. Drinking water can help reduce muscle soreness and help with recovery. 
  • Eat healthy food. - It's hard to have healthy options available after being gone for the weekend, but try to have some healthy, high protein food options available. I'm typically hungry all day long and try to eat healthy snacks throughout the day. 
  • Take your time - I find that the hardest part of day 4 is acclimating to life again. After an intense and emotionally involved weekend, getting back into life is really hard. For 3 full days people have been cheering for me and suddenly no one cares that I walked 60 miles. Thankfully, I have a remarkable husband who understands why I walk. He makes dinner for me, takes care of me, and takes his job as supporter very seriously! 
One of the biggest things that I forget each year is how hard it is to think again. For 3 days I've put all of my energy on putting one foot in front of the other. I don't need to worry about cooking, cleaning, or caring for my family. I don't need to keep track of anything, drive anywhere, or do much of anything other than walk. This makes it hard to focus on life on day 4. 

On day 4 in 2013 I forgot an address. This address is one that I know by heart. I just completely forgot it. I felt like an idiot, but I just could not get my brain to work properly. It's best to limit deep thinking on day 4. And potentially days 5, 6, and 7... :-)

This has just been my experience on recovery after the 3-day. What are your experiences recovering from an incredibly physically or emotionally trying event?
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