For the final two miles of the half marathon, all I could think about was carbs. My body was craving carbs. I wanted a bagel and I wanted it now. As soon as I finished the race, I went to the bagel station and starting stuffing the thing in my mouth. I wouldn't recommend anyone forcefully stuffing food into their mouth after a long race like that, but sometimes you just can't help yourself.
Everything in moderation. For a post-race meal, you can't go wrong with a balance of carbs, healthy fats, and protein. I came home and made a green monster and some macaroni (whole wheat shells). The Annie's organic brand is what I used...none of that Velveeta fake cheese stuff (although it is pretty tasty). Because I pushed myself pretty hard, I had an upset stomach for most of the afternoon (it happens) and ended up buying a bottle of Pedialyte to help settle it. Pedialyte is one of those medicines that is quite handy, but you tend to forget about it after the age of 10. Pedialyte, for those of you who don't know, is a liquid that moms will give their babies and kids to help with upset stomach issues and prevent dehydration. You don't have to be a baby or a small child for it to work either. Note to self: drink some of this after Bikram classes!
As for RIGHT after the race, my advice is to keep moving. Don't collapse on the ground, just keep walking.
Another recovery method that i'll occasionally do is an ice bath. Fill up the tub with a few inches of cold water, add all the ice from your ice maker, put on a sweatshirt, and slowly ease yourself into the tub. It will probably be the most uncomfortable thing you do all day, but your muscles will thank you. The cold water helps with swelling. I wouldn't stay in the tub longer than 5-7 minutes otherwise you are probably hurting yourself more than you are helping yourself.
Finally, another thing I like to do is prop up my feet! After pounding your feet on the pavement for 2+ hours, they need a break. Another option is putting your legs up on the wall. During college summers in South Carolina I had a hostessing job which kept me on my feet for several hours at a time. After work I'd prop my legs on a wall and it felt great!!
Tonight I went to the gym and (painfully) ran 1 mile in an effort to break up the lactic acid in my legs. Tomorrow I'm going to Bikram. Even though Bikram is an intense workout for your legs, you also get great stretches all over and I hope that will make me feel a lot better. Goodnight.