Week 11: Recovery Mode

A couple of things I’ve learned as I look back upon the last 11 weeks or so, is to expect the unexpected, and to take advantage of each and every opportunity that presents itself. It has been yet another incredible week of revelations.

Last Sunday I ran my first marathon- an all-encompassing experience of which I will write about in detail very soon. For the purposes, I will just briefly mention that the morning of was just like any other morning, in that I fuelled just as I had from the onset- with a fat dominant breakfast. It was also unlike any other morning, as I was greeted at the door by a surprise visitor, but more on that mild heart attack later.

Fionnj did say back when I signed up for race, that although my training period was going to be relatively short, in a fat adapted state, I would be able for it. As it turned out, he was on the money again.

The aftermath of such a gruelling physical undertaking, was as brutal and torturous as you could imagine. I woke up on Monday morning feeling as though I had been hit by a truck. It took every ounce of strength just to get myself out of bed and flick the kettle. That evening, I tentatively shuffled to the jimjilbang, where I was able to avail of the hot and cold baths, jacuzzi, and sauna. I was moving a little more freely afterwards, and dare I say it, starting to feel a bit better.

If on Monday I had felt like a newborn giraffe walking to school, Tuesday morning I took the form of a bit of cooked spaghetti. It was so ridiculous, that it was actually kind of comical. I was laughing to myself, as old ladies were overtaking me in their Zimmer frames on the walk to school. The trip to the jimjilbang the day before appeared to have spread the stiffness from my legs, to the rest of my body. I gripped onto every railing, staircase and handle for dear life. I simply couldn’t see an end to the torture.

Cue, the unexpected.

I woke up on Wednesday with a burning desire to train; I was feeling significantly better. I excitedly packed my gear bag before work, and was in the gym that evening. A 20 minute cycle as prescribed by ‘The Guru’, and a thorough stretch later, and I was back under the bar. Just 3 days previously I had run 42 km across the city of Seoul, and only 48 hours earlier I was almost completely immobile, but I was back and as productive as ever.

By Thursday, I was feeling 100%- back on the tarmac preparing for the new season with some sharp, intense running. I rose with excitement on Friday, contemplating my next move. The brutal rigidness of Monday morning, a distant memory.

My recovery was nothing short of immense.

11 weeks ago I wouldn’t have believed it possible, nor would I have imagined myself in this situation, but that was before I started along this high-fat path.

I find myself constantly looking to the next target, contemplating ways in which I can continue to improve, develop, and push my boundaries. Armed with a heightened sense of awareness, a sharper cognitive function, and a more positive outlook, I understand that absolutely anything is possible.

And with that, I fully understand that for me to consume an infant-sized Toblerone in one sitting, is entirely within the realms of possibility.

Patience, Pidj.

Fionn McSwiney is a PhD researcher and lecturer at Waterford IT; a specialist in the field of Exercise Science and Nutrition. You can follow him on Facebook and Instagram– seek out the experts. 

Artwork courtesy of my brother, Tiny. Check him out.