Such are the consequences each time I run a marathon, or in this case a 50k.
Stats from my race show that I was stationary for nearly 7 minutes. I consumed a whopping 4,049 calories, the equivalent of about 3 days' food. In hindsight, my condition improved over the final 18k, gently easing myself to the finish. I was much better at the line, and the gradual recovery has continued since then.
A marathon or ultra is done for the challenge. It certainly lifts the spirits when lots of praise comes your way.
The main drawback is not being able to get right back into running straight away (lacing up after even a half can be done within as little as 2 days if taken gently).
The first steps of the day open the eyes.
It seemed like I couldn't extend my leg forward. Bending at the waist to shift weight forward starts a gradual falling motion, which could perhaps be called "walking". That first set of stairs has you wishing for the ability to walk on your hands.
On tuesday, I did my tried and tested first post-race workout. 20 minutes on the exercise bike and a 10 minute walk. Without bringing on fatigue, it engages the body's recovery mechanisms and flushes the muscles of broken fibres and lactic acid. 2 hours later, stairs no longer brought on a grimace even if not completely comfortable without using the rail.
A gentle weights routine the next day and stretching, and a repeat of tuesday's workout on thursday and friday. I went back to my full core/ weights workout on saturday, only feeling a mild burn in the quads.
Sunday, a return to running. It felt odd at first, mainly because it's odd to not run for 7 days. "10k, try to keep it quicker than 5:00/k."
Settling in after 10 minutes, a little devil on my shoulder whispers "faster, you know you want to..." Another 5 or so minutes and despite the heat it got easier and quicker. Eating up a steep hill, accelerating at the top, it was a quietly thrilling return to action.