After spending the last two weekends in the greater Los Angeles area running both the Carlsbad and Surf City Marathons, I was looking forward to getting back home and sleeping in my own bed. One of the many questions I am asked when giving my speeches about my 52 Marathons in 2006 is "How did you recover each week?" To me this is an existential question akin to asking Michael Jordan how he could elevate his game at certain points or how Michael Phelps could swim better than everyone else this past summer. Without a doubt there is a training aspect to all of their success as their was to mine. but some people could train as hard as Jordan or Phelps and never be as good as they are. There is something simply to be said about having the right DNA.
That said, I do not think that my protoplasmic ooze is anything that scientists need to study right now. and when asked the question above, I usually answer in a way that I think the person asking me might be meaning, as in "What did you do to try and keep yourself from crashing every week?" Without a doubt, what work best for me was the run the day after the marathon. It was paramount to my success both mentally and physically. So even after my sub-3 hour marathon on Sunday I knew I would be going for a nice little jaunt on Monday.
This recovery run would be a little different, however. A few months ago while in LA, I had gone for a run with my friend Jimmy and some of his running buddies. One of the guys I ended up running with for the longest time was the proprietor of a women's running apparel store in Santa Monica called Splits 59.
Jonathan was his name and he was training for his first 50 mile run just a few weeks later. I gave him a few pointers from my ultra-running experiences and wished him well. And well he did running very respectably in a toughie of an ultra. I later looked up his store and found there message to be a refreshing one indeed:
"Each piece in our collection is designed to inspire you to get up in the morning, find your second wind, and keep moving forward. Because the reward of forward motion is feeling good about who you are now, and who you will become."
Without a doubt that is an auspicious goal! I became a fan of the stuff immediately although my need for a cute running skirt is pretty low. That said, when I was asked to help lead a run from the Splits 59 store on Monday and give a little pep talk to the runners who would be there, I was more than happy to do so.
Much shorter than my normal speech, and to a much smaller audience, I was nonetheless happy to help the women who were gathered before this run know that they were just as much a runner as anyone else who laced on their shoes. Whether they were training for a race or running for health purposes only it was enough that they were out there. That was what was important.
I led some of the ladies through the first loop of a potential three-loop run and then fell back to run with some of the less-fast ladies. Finally picking it up to run with Jimmy's wife (while Jimmy himself made sure the ladies made it safely back to the store) I got a great 5 miler in and was happy to make a few friends.
I left a few copies of See Dane Run with Jonathan at his store and bid my new running friends good night. My tired butt needed to go home. Nevertheless, I really think that the apparel and message of the store is a strong one and you should definitely check it out.