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Post-Race Recovery Takes Days, Starts Immediately

|Photo by Seth Staskey| Jordan Hosey of Wheeling finished 10th overall in Saturday's Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic. Hosey wasted no time beginning his recovery routine — in fact, he cracked open a beer before he even crossed the finish line – celebrating his accomplishment in style.

WHEELING — Even for the most experienced half marathon runners, pushing your body to the limit for 13.1 miles takes a considerable toll, and the road to recovery begins around the time they cross the finish line.

Each runner has a different routine, but those who are serious about staying in marathon-worthy shape don’t waste much time getting back on a regular running schedule. Many of the participants in Saturday’s Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic launched into their own recovery ritual immediately after crossing the finish line — with rehydration being a top priority. Yet despite a yearning for a couple of days’ worth of rest, all vowed to get back on the horse with at least a reasonable amount of strenuous exercise by mid-week.

“I definitely try to get some carbohydrates right away,” said Wheeling resident and St. Clairsville native Matt Riffle, who ran his first Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic on Saturday – finishing fourth. Riffle had participated in the Ogden Wellness Weekend presented by WVU Medicine before, running the 5K race, and has plenty of marathon experience — including a recent appearance in the Boston Marathon, turning in a respectable 525th place finish.

“It’s good to cool down and replace your carbs and sugars,” Riffle said. “I’m probably heading over to Taqueria 304. It’s probably a smart move to take the next couple of days off, too.”

After finishing the half marathon, Bryan Mularcik of Bethlehem was engaging in a ritual that many, many runners seemed to enjoy — sipping on a cold beer.

“I’ve probably got the worst recovery plan,” Mularcik said, noting that he ran in the Toledo Marathon a few weeks ago and was still recovering from that race. “You should take a few days off. Some people who do marathons do the ice bath afterwards or the foam rollers. I don’t do all of that. I do a lot of stretching. The longer the distance, the more important the recovery is, for sure.”

Mularcik planned to push his body to the limit by not only running the half marathon, but also by coming back Sunday to take part in the Tough as Nails Urban Challenge presented by The Health Plan.

“That’s probably not advisable,” he said about his active duty in an Ogden Newspapers Wellness Weekend double-header. “But still, active recovery is key. You do want to stay active.”

After some needed rest, slowly easing back into an exercise routine is crucial, Mularcik said. But immediately after the race, there are few things that taste better than a cold pilsner.

“Usually, directly after a race, I drink a beer,” he said. “You have to celebrate. Plus, it’s got carbohydrates and water in it, I’m told.”

One runner — Jordan Hosey of Wheeling — somehow was able to crack open a celebratory beer as he was crossing the finish line of the Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic, making for a memorable, guzzling photo finish for 10th place overall.

While a beer was in order for many runners after crossing the finish line, another go-to recovery consumable that was popular among many athletes was a potassium-, electrolyte- and magnesium-packed fruit — a banana.

“Potassium is a big thing – it really helps reduce inflammation,” said Steve Browning of Mineral Wells, W.Va., who logged his 36th official finish of the Ogden half marathon classic on Saturday in Wheeling. “Tomorrow, I’ll go for a walk after church. After that, I’ll get back into it with a short bike ride or a jog. But I’m going to be feeling it for a couple of days. Walking upstairs is not so bad after a race like this. Walking downstairs is the problem!”

Candace Kesselring of Moundsville finished her third Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic on Saturday, and she agreed that one or two days off would be in order, but a regular exercise routine would be back in place soon afterward.

“My first thing is — I have to get out of my running shoes,” Kesselring said, sporting comfortable sandals after finishing the race. “It just feels good.”

While sometimes she doesn’t really feel too hungry after completing a half marathon, any cravings she experiences aren’t necessarily aimed at hydration or nutritional value.

“I don’t feel like eating anything healthy afterwards for some reason,” she said, heading for the beer stand and contemplating a nice slice of pizza.


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