After you take a test, you take that break that you needed. After you get off of a hard day of work, you go home for that break you give yourself. After running 50 miles... I took a break. Of course, I didn't exactly do it right away... had to drive from Atlanta to Knoxville and the ramp to the interstate was under construction so I had to go on a detour... with a couple hundred cars... which caused a traffic jam... which got me out of Atlanta an hour off schedule. So I was driving at night up north of Atlanta and lo and behold, there was another traffic jam... at 11:00 pm. I didn't understand how this was possible, but seeing fireworks go off at a little after 10:00, I just took it all in and just realized... it's a crazy place over here. I was still about an hour or so away from my house but I was so exhausted and that even talking to different people on the phone while driving wouldn't keep me awake so I decided that I would go to the next rest area and take a little nap. At approximately 1:00 am, I found a rest stop and proceeded to get out of the car, take a drink of water, eat all the pickles I had because I was starting to cramp, get my blanket and pillow and set my alarm for a 2:30 am wake up and went to sleep. Unfortunately, my alarm didn't wake me up and I woke up cold at 5:50 in the morning. I reluctantly got up and drove the rest of the way home, rested but still tired. I didn't have enough time to get back to sleep because I had to go to church, and so I just gutted through the rest of the day.
Yesterday was a different story. I was just sore. All day. Sore. I ate like none other, eating twice the amount I normally eat (which in itself is a big meal) and walked a little bit to make sure I still had my mobility, also making sure that my right knee wouldn't act up. It was still on the tender but a lot better than Sunday morning. Now that I've gotten another day over with, it's just eating and resting. It's important to take that break because after a brutal assault, your body does need its rest.
Now as I've taken two rest days in a row, I've become a little antsy, so I've started walking around a little bit. I know that I'm not prepared to go out and run a couple miles, but walking is as much as I'll do for now. I will make sure that by tomorrow, I'll be walking 3 miles and then maybe the next day, I'll jog a little bit, deciding whether or not to go further, depending on how my knee feels.
Especially after an intense race, it's important to watch and listen to yourself. This is the moment where a mistake can cost you a lot of wasted time, or injury (or both). Take a moment and judge where you're at and take steps towards a healthy comeback. Just because you finished something hard doesn't mean that you can go right back into the middle of things and attack it head on. Your body can't handle that. No matter what you do, you're going to need that break. That's why people take breaks after finishing projects. That's why we have summer vacation. That's why after a race, you slow down.
Take steps... and make sure they're the right ones.