Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Baby, I've got the post-marathon blues

classes up the car - dontcha think?
This has happened after my first half but I'm especially feeling it now after the marathon...

The build up, anxiety, ups & downs, excitement and anticipation for the "big day" seems to be an addictive thing for me. The race comes and goes and then I'm left feeling a little lost. A little blah.

It's over.

Long runs on ice in January, cross-training thru injuries in February, playing catch up in April and May, dreading all those scary long runs…



I think that's why so many of us run out and immediately sign up for the next race. I'm thinking about what my next move is. I'm itching to take the plunge into another full (like a drug addict looking for his next fix) but don't know if that's the post-race depression speaking so I'm taking my time on that. I know another half is in my future for sure.

And I think what's making this round of blues even worse is (and now I know what Lesley meant after her first race recap) I don't really feel like a marathoner.

If you haven't read my race recap check it out for the full enchilada but in a nutshell, I had a tough race tummy-wise. My stomach revolted and I feel like I spent more time in port-o-potty's than I did on the road! I was forced to really slow my roll and spent a lot of the time walking

My finish time was an unenviable 6+ hours and my legs were so "under-spent" that by the next day I barely felt like I had even done a long run.

I never hit the wall, I never really cramped, I barely limped. The next day I headed up to Los Angeles nearly pain free. Huh? I just "ran" a marathon and feel this 'good'? And I don't say that with pride. I say that with a sense of disappointment.  Sick - huh?

Which ironically might be part of the problem. I think if it took me 6+ hours to finish and I felt that I 'left it all out there' and had the war wounds and pain to wear as a badge of honor I might feel differently.

Which is absolutely insane. I know. Most people are going to think I'm an idiot for even talking about being rueful over this.

I've always been afraid of pain, convinced the wall would stop me in my tracks. We train so we can do this and not die… I don't know. You think I would be content with crossing the finish line and with making it in spite of the stomach issues trying to stop me…

Believe me, I know that this is nuts. If it were a friend saying this to me, I'd enthuse, "you ran an f'in marathon - doesn't matter if it took you six DAYS - I would tell them that the tummy thing was God's way of sparing you leg pain" and that "many people never even run a cumulative 26 miles in their lifetimes… never mind all in a row!"  I've been trying to say these things to myself but it's still not taking away my feeling of feeling a bit like a marathoning fraud.

I am proud of getting thru in the face of tummy issues. I am proud that I had the courage to "go for it" and the commitment to get there. There are many, many positive things I have gained from the experience, so I'm not entirely gloomy about the whole thing.

Even if I'm a little apprehensive about it, I still call myself a marathoner and I did put my 26.2 sticker on my car but I think I'll leave the tattoo for after the next one - because the tattoo shouldn't hurt more than the race.



Courtney @ I CAN DO THIS said...

Well you are definitely a marathoner. You did it! But I can totally identify with the tattoo thing - lol. I had always planned to get one after my first marathon (even before I signed up for one), and after it came and went, I didn't get it.
Once you do it, it doesn't seem like as big a feat as before, right?

Also, I'm in the post-marathon blues right now too. I'm actually having a beer right now. :)

Lesley @ racingitoff.com said...

We've had this discussion... you know I understand and totally identify. I want you here for #2... come to White Rock. You can stay at my place, I'll even feed you... come!

Jason said...

You can't come to White Rock as Karen and I will be in Vegas....ahh the timing gods would suck on that.

Truly though this is why I put together a race schedule so there is always something next. I don't care if its a 5k or 10k or whatever to get me to the next race b/c I don't want that feeling.

I had a tad of that after Cali and going through recovery week but quickly realized that CapTexTri was coming up and it was time to suck it up Buttercup.

Now I am looking at 70.3 Longhorn in October but I know I have an Oly in July and at least another in early October with other races in between.

Those competitive juices need to keep flowing. Find a local 5k and race it as hard as you can and leave it all out there.

I also believe that the first marathon is just a test. You find that you like it and you go for more with #2 being the real test of your ability.

Jen said...

Thanks peeps -- I'll make it thru. ;) I do have a 5K this weekend - hopefully it'll bring back that loving feeling - lol.

Sara said...

I. Know. Exactly. What. You. Mean. I would not tell you that you are crazy for thinking these things because I feel the EXACT same way! It also took me 6+ hours to finish and I did a lot of walking - I do not feel like I "ran" a marathon at all!

I also put a sticker on my car, but I am way more proud of the 13.1 ones.

It is so weird that I feel exactly the same way you do!!!! And I keep saying (especially when people tell me I have a lot to be proud of) that 'no one understands.' You do, my friend! We need to run a race together someday!!!!!

S.K. of Skårt Shop said...

I don't know what you are talking about! Can't relate at all. You know why?!!! The idea of going 26.2 miles consecutively at any speed is still insane to me :)

Even more insane is a 18 or 20mile training run. Insane, but also beyond impressive. So even though it was one day, and one slightly disappointing day, think of all the other things you've conquered along the way to get to that point, and don't let that go to waste. Keep running, keep smiling and keep signing up for smaller events.

You don't have to do another marathon right away or even in the next few years. But keep it in your back pocket for the future, because now you know you CAN and that's half the battle (one that I will probably never try!)