After my marathon, the plan was to stop running entirely until January 7th. All the literature and advice I see says to take at least two weeks off after. I even read something saying it takes your heart a week to recover from a marathon!
So yesterday, Christmas Eve, the day after my marathon distance, my son Russell calls me and asks “Hey Dad, whatcha doing for Christmas?”
I was touched. Christmas is always difficult since my divorce, all the kids grown up and with partners and anywhere up to four different family groups for them to attend gatherings for, not counting their own families of spouse and kids. I try to get in early, take a time slot that hopefully doesn’t interfere with anyone else’s plans, and give them the freedom to enjoy Christmas without feeling overly committed or having too many demands placed on them.
In all honesty, I had no plans at all for Christmas. The couple I live with were away visiting family and I was cat sitting for them with every intention of doing filing or something exciting once I’d made my calls back to the USA.
So, like I said, I was touched. “I’m free, Russell. What would you like to do?”
“How about we go for a run on the beach at 6am?”
A run… I had to laugh. I was feeling in pretty good shape from my marathon, all things considered, however a run was the last thing on my mind! But it was Christmas. And it was my boy that was asking. “I’d love to Russell. I’ll pick you up at 6am.”
So I was there bright and early Christmas morning and we drove out to Coogee beach. Russell runs here almost every week with his mate but I’d never been. According to Russell, they normally ran about 8.5km (they’d driven along nearby roads to measure).
I had given Russell a Garmin ForeRunner 610 for Christmas, just like mine, so we both strapped our watches on and off we went barefoot through the sand at the waters edge. It was good to let Russell see me really run, as opposed to the painful shuffle he accompanied me on for the last 14.2km of the marathon. I had warned him in advance my plan was to take it easy, a simple recovery run.
To be honest, it felt great to be running, to stretch out my legs feeling tense and tight from the marathon. We started off at an easy 6:12/km pace and did almost consecutive negative splits. Russell kept up a constant stream of chatter, as he does, until just after the 5km mark where I decided to see how much I had in me. I took it up slowly to a 4:40/km pace. Russell suddenly asks “Have you sped up?” “Yep.” “Hmm, I’m gonna have to stop talking now!” *lol* But it was too much too soon and I couldn’t keep it up.
Russell’s 8.5km wound up being 6.5km by the Garmins, but we stretched it out to a 7km run due to a very low tide letting us go further than he normally does. The final kilometer was at a 5:35/km pace. Overall the times were 6:12. 6:11, 5:54, 5:47, 6:02, 5:41 and 5:35/km.
We had a few stretches then went back to Russell’s place, where he made me breakfast and we talked and laughed and had a good time.
It was a great Christmas morning. One of the best I’ve had in years. I love my kids.