Once you cross the finish line...
Beware! If this is a chip timed race, someone may quickly approach you with sharp objects-- it's ok-- they just want to remove your timing chip (some races charge a fee for unreturned chips, so be sure you return it).
Accept your medal, smile and thank the volunteers. Actually, be sure that all along the course, you are thanking the volunteers. Look for water and other refreshment that might be offered at the finish line-- some races provide bananas, coconut water, or even a free beer. (If you choose to drink, have a designated driver!)
After catching your breath and your swag, find the clean off station. Ideally, either check a bag or leave one with your spectator (pack a towel, flip flops, a clean change of clothes-- sweats if it's cold, a garbage bad for muddy gear, and I always bring a water and snack-- just in case). I rinse everything as thoroughly as possible, but don't spend hours-- this isn't the spa nor the laundromat.
I know you are tired but keep moving. Do some stretching (I'm the weirdo who is using the hose off station to both get the mud off and the knots out) and then some foam rolling when you get home.
|At the finish line of my son's first OCR.|
Immediately after an OCR is NOT the time to go out for a celebration meal. Chances are, you've been crawling/swimming through all kinds of stuff, and you've probably collected some bumps, scrapes and bruises. You need to get home, take a real shower with real soap (using dish soap can remove any oils that might be left behind by poison ivy or oak), and then treat any cuts and scrapes with some antibiotic ointment. THEN meet up with your friends for a celebration meal.
The next day...
Wear your race shirt to the gym (if you didn't put it on after the race)! Some people wear the medal, I'm just not a fan. I said gym-- but consider taking a day off. Do not pick the day of or the day after to be a total slug. This will only cause your muscles to stiffen up. Walk, bike, swim, jog, etc. Get the blood flowing and do some stretching.
Get back on your clean eating plan. You ran one race. Yesterday was the celebration meal. Unless you did The World's Toughest Mudder, the Spartan Death Race or UltraBeast, or an Ironman, you aren't allowed to continue using the race as an excuse to indulge. (Preaching to myself here.)
Many races will publish results and photos online. Be patient. You weren't the only racer, the photos will be there soon. If there aren't official photographers, watch the race's social media pages for amateur photographers who might post race photos.
Part 1 of this series.
Part 2 of this series.