“…like breaking the tape but forgetting the run…”
There is so much pressure on running a good marathon, I know, because I put a lot on myself for Chicago and I’ve seen so many others do the same, having such terrible breakdowns if they fail to run the race how they imagined. This is completely understandable considering just how much time and effort goes into preparing for that one race on that one day. You can’t take it back, no matter the outcome. What’s run is run.
I was fortunate enough to have a really great race for my expectations, so that post-marathon disappointment fell elsewhere and I’m only left with a temporary satisfaction and a flood of memories. However, now that all is said and done and that cycle of preparation is over, I’m still left with an uneasy feeling, which I’m understanding is what they call the “marathon blues”, the post-xmas like period where that intense sense of purpose is played out and we’re thrown out of a routine we carried out for months up to the race. Granted, I’m still running every day I can and enjoying the effort, but there are other elements of my old routine that have been put aside until the next marathon (well, road marathon anyways).
There is that structure of speedwork and recovery. There is the internal dialogue and visioning. There is the apprehension of a race gone bad…or good. There is an overall drive and mental state that embodied our days. Then there is the lack of camaraderie. Gone are my Tuesday Night Terror runs with some of Indy’s best runners and motivators and that’s the part I miss the most. Where leading up to Chicago I was an entirely solitary runner, but I grew accustomed to meeting up on Tuesday nights to beat it out on the rail trail with a group of other runners faster than me. Now we’re all scattered in various states of rest, recovery and training. This is just how things go.
These are all the sorts of things that make the marathon such a great experience, which pointedly struck me as I ran the Monon trail by my lonesome last week and I realized how relatively anti-climactic the marathon itself can actually be. Sure, the race was the piled-high icing on the cake and it tasted great…..REALLY great, but beneath all that sugary fluff was the foundation of the race itself, all that time built into the experience. Ultimately, whether I ran 2:22, 2:25, 2:30, or 3:00, I had already achieved a massive victory by starting, carrying through and finishing the days upon days of preparation that led to Chicago. All the base building, hillwork, speedwork, long runs, and everything between. It wasn’t the marathon that was the supreme accomplishment, it was the preparation itself. Now, if you short changed yourself, or quit, or half-assed everything, than you have reason to be greatly disappointed, but if you came through every day of preparation knowing you put in a full effort of work, than the marathon is only of partial significance. The real victory was in your months of preparation.
Then again, if you had a great race on top of all that, then that pile of icing just got a lot higher and a lot sweeter.
10 miles – grey, chilly and rainy. Felt decent despite eating too much. Picked up the pace periodically through the run.
Breakfast – Oatmeal (w/ peanut butter, flax seed, agave nectar, raisins, almonds), coffee
Lunch – Soup w/ Pasta, tofu and loaded with veggies and spices
Dinner – Same as lunch (Michelle made A LOT!)
Snacks – Apple, coffee, Emergen-C, Toast w/ peanut butter, raisins and agave nectar, Bananas w/ peanut butter and agave nectar, tea
Justin Timberlake – Justified (Hey! I went to the library and picked this up for Michelle…a not so guilty pleasure of hers)