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Food, bathroom, shower were three thoughts that crossed my mind a mile before the finish line of the Kansas City Half Marathon. This past weekend, I triumphed my fourth race with my fastest time yet and Steve ran his first full marathon, a feat in itself. Together, we hobbled around with blistered toes, sore muscles and a wavering appetite.

To finish is one of the most elating feelings I've ever experienced that is followed by a series of strange sensations and behaviors. Four days after the race, I've eaten an ungodly number of peanut butter spoonfuls, found chafing in unexpected places and had the urge to pound the pavement again even with throbbing knees.

So it's your first race. You trained for months, you received more advice than you'll ever need and in a few hours, it's over. Here are five truths about race recovery nobody told me beforehand:

Hit up that line of porta potties unashamed. For the rest of the day, your body is going to go through some weird things, which may include a sickly stomach, frequent trips to the bathroom and a flu-like temperature.

Rehydrate ASAP. I made the mistake of wandering around hoping to find friends and forgot to drink electrolytes. Even though it was cold out, I had sweat out every cup of liquid given to me at aid stations — evident by the salt accumulated on my forehead. Not long after, I experienced a headache and steady thirst.

Don't neglect stretching and movement. Every twitch might feel like death, but keep those muscles from turning to stone by treating your body to a foam roller (I use a wine bottle because I'm cheap), ice and maybe even Ibuprofen.

You may not have an appetite right away, but give it a day or two. Then you will justify everything you consume with the fact that you burned more calories than you normally eat in a day before most people wake up. You deserve to indulge in some sugar and/or beer, but also restore your nutrients with healthy food.

Be proud. You did something only a fraction of the human population even considers.  Flaunt that stink and wear that medal with a goofy smile on your face.

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