On muscle soreness

Post-marathon delayed-onset muscle soreness, or DOMS as some runners call it, is weird.  I did D-1 NCAA athletics in college for 2 years and have never experienced this kind of muscle soreness.  Yes, I’ve hit equal levels of ‘exhausted’ and ‘sore’ before, but this soreness is just… well…. weird. It’s been 48 hours since my first half marathon and my muscles can’t agree on anything. My soreness is coming in waves of different muscle groups. I suppose this is better than everything hurting at once, but hobbling around is not something I want to do for too long. I will sum it all up for you:

Race day, immediately post-race: Primarily, the soles of my feet, especially around my lateral (outside) metatarsals,  were painful.  I think this indicates I need better arch support. I’ll ask the spectacular folks at my favorite specialty running store in Birmingham, the Trak Shak. All of my muscles were generally tired but not painful at this point, as anyone would expect them to be.

These all take abuse during a run. Anyone wishing to massage them for me is welcome to.

Race day, afternoon: Again, the soles of my feet were killing me so much that I didn’t want to stand anymore. The act of standing on my toes was incredibly painful through the arch of my feet. I took a nap after the race and when I woke up, my glutes and tensor fascia latae were so tight that my IT bands and knees hurt.  But the most ridiculous pain was in my hip flexors.  Using these almost drove me to tears.

Day 2, morning: Yeah, this morning didn’t really exist to me. I slept until 11am.

Day 2, afternoon: Hip flexors were no longer painful whatsoever.  Now, my quads and calves were incredibly sore.  The combination of the tension and soreness in these two groups of muscles made me hobble around the office.  When I got to the office around lunch time, one of my office mates commented on my soreness by saying “why are you so sore? I thought you trained for this?”.  I surprisingly found this quite offensive and insulting.  Didn’t he understand that I just ran my first half marathon in 2:28:29?! That’s a spectacular time for a first half marathon! Despite all of my explaining that even the best trained marathoners and half marathoners experience this type of practically-immobile soreness, he still was looking at me with some level of disdain or disbelief. Thankfully, another office mate (who’s father is a regular Boston-qualifying marathoner) came in a bit later and was able to defend my level of soreness as a normal thing. The guy still didn’t understand and decided to tell us stories about how sore he gets when he climbs at the gym. I promptly gave up trying to explain running to him and went to discussing things with the gal who understands. Also thankfully, I brought my Tiger Tail to the office and rolled out my muscles every hour or so.

Tiger Tail

Every human person who runs should have this. This fact cannot be understated. In fact, buy two - one for your office and one for home... and maybe you should buy one to keep in your car too.

Day 3, morning: I decided that a short and easy run was due this morning. Mostly because the weather is too beautiful to not run on days like these. I planned on doing a very easy 3 miles. I succeeded in making it to the bathroom to wash my face and brush my teeth. My poor quads deserve another full 24 hours of rest, stretching and carbs. I’ll try again tomorrow.

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