A month ago I was in peak (for me) form. I ran 26 miles at a sub 8:30 pace. I finished feeling strong.
Today was not a day for feats of strength. After two days off and a three hour airplane ride, I went out for a nice and easy six miler. Everything hurt. My right ankle and calf were stiff. My left hamstring and hip were angry. I had trouble maintaining 10 minute miles. When I stopped to stretch at the halfway point, I stretched my left calf and my hamstring went into spasm (along the sciatic nerve up into the hip). Luckily that one let go, but everything aches.
Where did the form go? The major things that hurt now were both present earlier in the Fall. I rolled my ankle (lightly) just before the Staten Island Half. My left leg/hip are a more curious production. Back in March after the NYC Half, my left patellar tendon and quad were sore. That problem has slowly worked its way from the front to the back of my leg as I've progressively worked out and adjusted to each iteration. Both were minor annoyances during marathon training. Now they scream at the beginning of each run, interfere with walking, and generally annoy the heck out of me.
Part of me thinks that this is just marathon recovery. I need to let stuff heal. Part of me thinks that letting stuff heal is what's causing everything to hurt so much. Most of me thinks it's all mental.
Whatever it is, it's not unusual. At Christmas, after a Fall marathon, I often feel old, slow and wiped out. It doesn't usually worry me too much because I don't usually start running hard again until, maybe, a half marathon in April, or a sprint tri in May. This year, with Rome looming in March, I'm a bit nervous. It has occurred to me that if I'm going to log my usual four twenty milers before March 1, the first has to be in early January. That's soon!!! Yikes!!