I remember the first marathon I ran. Hitting the wall was tough, but I pushed forward and finished with a fast time. I also remember how I felt after the marathon, I was so sore I could hardly walk for a week. It was a little like that for this 12 hour run. After finishing 62 miles, I was sore for a few days, but it went away fast because of the little bit of pedialyte that I drank every lap. Proper preparation prevented the muscles cramps, and I was able to recover quite well after the race.
When we do something that forces us to work hard, we need the time after it to relax and rest. Resting is important because it lets your body adapt to the amount of work you'll have to do again... later. During the run, I took care of my body and so I didn't need as much recovery time because of that. If in performance, you properly take care of yourself, your body won't need as much rest. Since I've been running pretty economically, I've been able to run further and without as much pain and cramps in the muscles.
Recovery may seem like a waste of time, but it's something everyone needs. Recovery is essential in our daily lives. There are times to race, times to train... but there are also times to rest and recover.