Help I’m New – After the Race
This is part two of the Help I’m New Series, the post-race. So you packed your bags, hydrated up before the race, you arrived on race day with hopefully a few less nerves after reading, Help I’m New. You toed the line, raced your heart out, and probably got a little muddy, and scraped up in the process. You earned your medal and probably wanted to sleep in it after the race.
It’s Monday morning, you are back at work. The scrapes are covered up and are feeling a bit of the Clarke Kent/Superman complex. The weekend you were alive, lived, were dirty, and may have had a life changing moment on the course. I know my first time unassisted over an eight foot wall was pretty special, as well as finally conquering the rope traverse. We find ourselves a bit changed but still our surroundings are the same.
You try to recount the stories to your co-workers from the weekend and are lucky to get more than a “you’re crazy” or “you did this for fun (raised eyebrow)”. I find the more enthusiastic I am about a story the more people think I am absolutely crazy. You just smile and nod sad as they didn’t experience the same exhilaration over the weekend as you did. They will never fully understand until they do it. Trust me this is all NORMAL!
You will probably find yourself searching out races in other locations and trying to work out family and life events around races, yes I have done this! As well you find yourself running to Facebook during the day to check out what your friends posted about the race. Did you see their bruises? Yes, I already claimed my results on athlinks.com. No the pictures are not all up on Monday morning from the race on Saturday. All these things often come into my head during that first day back at work.
So what about work? You probably aren’t going to want to be back in the grind right away. I have a few tips of advice from doing many races and the longer the race the more important these tips can be!
1. Ride the Post-Race High
It’s fun, tell the stories, wear the medal, rep those bruises. You accomplished a great task over the weekend own it! Expect to feel the runners high, you probably feel like a new person.
2. Prep for the Crash
The longer the race the harder the crash. You are amped up after the race but everything around you is the same. You want to yell to the rafters about this transcending experience you had but no one seems to understand. Racers understand, if you can talk with them when you start to feel the flat line. Don’t let the blues weigh you down. Some find a new race and sign up to help work towards a new goal.
After a twenty-four hour race I had a hard time adjusting back to normal life for a couple days, a friend and former adventure racer really helped me through with some supportive words. If you are feeling down seek out some racing friends they will help you through.
3. Ease Back into Work
8:00am you sit in front of your desk looking at a stack of emails or to-do’s. It all doesn’t seem to matter as much anymore. Take the day slowly. Take one email at a time and let yourself take the extra time, if you can. Otherwise try to resist the temptation to stare at race photos all day.
4. Take Care of Your Body
Clean your wounds this you should have done beforehand already but maybe you were just too sore or tired. Monday night in the shower really clean out all those scrapes and cuts. If you have a bath tub take a long Epson salt soak in the tub. Epson salt will help with the soreness and bruises. If you have blisters take care of them, I like to soak my feet in some iodine diluted water to kill any bacteria that may be in an open blister or such on my feet. Oh and if you run A LOT get ready to lose toenails.
Take care of your body, if this was your first race you will be sore in places you didn’t know existed! Take the day off and rest your body from any crazy exercise.
Keep a bottle of water with you all day and re-hydrate after the weekend. Chances are between the race and hanging out before and after you dehydrated your body. Take that office time to sit and sip some cool water all day long.
Don’t let your wet and muddy gear just sit in a bag because it’s too dirty to deal with. I have done this and the results haven’t been good! If you can dry out your clothing before putting it in the washer. Try to knock as much dried mud off the clothing and socks before sticking them in the wash. It will help from having a dirt ring at the bottom of the washer.
Lastly, just enjoy the day and the moment. You accomplished something great and the accomplishment was fully yours. Have fun enjoy the moment and see you at the next race!