Post-Marathon Update: My Legs Are Useless.

There are certain things that you will hear before you undertake a race of any significant magnitude. One of them being that, after you run a marathon, you might find it difficult to walk. Or move. Or generally do anything that involves being in one place and trying to transport yourself to another, unless you believe in just throwing yourself headlong at things and hoping for the best.

So, sure, I heard all of these things. And I’ve had sore muscles before. After my 20-miler, my legs were sore for about a week. But that was nothing – nothing – compared to the feeling that has taken over my body for the last couple of days; namely, that I must have blacked out during the marathon and gotten run over by that slow moving van that was trailing the back-of-the-pack on the course.

As soon as I crossed the finish line, I knew I had to keep walking. I stopped briefly to figure out the medal situation, but almost immediately my muscles started to tighten. So I kept on walking, grabbing post-race nutrients and drinking water. I stopped at Columbus and Jackson, because there was supposed to be a pedi-cab waiting to take me and other runners back to our running group’s hotel. Not seeing any immediately, and not really wanting to stand around, I walked north on Columbus, toward lower Randolph again … except this time, I saw them: The stairs. The two flights of stairs that would lead to the hotel so that I could get my stuff.

And so, very carefully, I got myself up those stairs. I grabbed my stuff, met my family outside, went to my parents’ house and took a shower. Walked a bit (but by that time I was hobbling) and finally resigned myself to a recliner, put my feet up and put ice packs under my legs.

Monday wasn’t as bad as Sunday. I was still limping a bit, kind of dragging my right leg behind me as if it were just some appendage I happened to have. As soon as I got to my apartment, I soaked my legs in epsom salt and walked around as much as I could, though I took couch-breaks frequently. I think the worst part occurred just going from a sitting-to-standing position.

And your brain wants to do anything but the thing you know you have to do. Your brain wants you to belly crawl if you have to, anything to prevent the two-legged-standing thing. Your brain wants you to go up and down stairs by sitting on them and moving that way, even if it means you bruise your ass in the process.  Your brain, essentially, wants you to act like you’re Lieutenant Dan from Forrest Gump… before he got legs.

Today, moving was a bit easier but there are still complications. Never before in my life have I wanted CTA platforms to be ground-level so badly; those stairs are the fucking devil. My right leg (surprisingly) is in the most pain, and though the massage I got today helped, I am still limping around as if I just got back from war.  I felt the need to (though I didn’t) tell everyone who was around or behind me, “Sorry, I just ran the marathon…” and maybe they would understand. Maybe for a second we would have solidarity. Maybe they would say that I JUST BROUGHT THIS ON MYSELF!

Tonight, I’m going to attempt a yoga class, but I’ll probably spend the majority of it in child’s pose. That is, if my body allows it…

Have a good night, everyone. Be kind to yourselves. And your sore muscles.

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