Shelf Life

What is the shelf life of a post-marathon glow? I’m guessing it’s pretty long. And for the purpose of this blog…I’m allowing at least of week of hardcore attention. After that, I’ll try to limit it two no more than a few comments per post…

One reason I’m letting my marathon high stick around for at least another week in bloggerville is because I can already feel the notorious PMD setting in. Post marathon depression.

That doesn’t surprise me one bit.

I’ve always been the kind of person who enjoys the buildup far more than the event itself, due to the excitement that comes with it. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday–99% of the reasoning behind that stems from my entire family is squished into my parents house for at least four straight days of hilarity and fun, but the remaining 1% is because Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season. Once Santa comes to town in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, there’s still a full month of cheery, sappy, happy holiday goodness ahead.

I like Christmas Eve better than Christmas Day. Christmas Eve has a magical appeal to it for kids, what with Santa coming and what not, but even as an adult, a hint of that still lingers. Sure, Christmas day is fun and special and what not, but when it’s over…it’s all over.

I guess that’s why I enjoyed marathon training so much. I loved the build-up and the escalation and the feeling of getting closer and closer to a goal.

And on race day, I was like a kid on Christmas morning. I woke up a bundle of nerves because I had a vague idea that I’d be getting something I wanted. But there was still a question of it was the exact thing I wanted.

Turns out, a sub-4 first marathon is like Santa bypassing your request for a new outfit for Barbie and showing up with the Barbie dreamhouse–complete with a wardrobe full of clothes for her unrealistic non-runner body–and a shiny pink Barbie corvette waiting in the fake Barbie driveway…with a brand new Ken doll in the driver’s seat.

I got everything I wanted…and more. And so much of it, was completely unexpected.

I did not expect to go out too fast. I know that I’ve gone out too fast in many a race in my day. But prior to Race Day, I hadn’t done any timed runs in a prettty long time (I think Grete’s Great Gallop was the last). And I certainly hadn’t felt like I was running any fast. For my last 18 and 21.5 mile runs of training I have no digital proof, but I ran slow. I took my time and just focused on covering the miles Hal ordered up.

I did not expect to share more than 10 miles with friends Larry and Tracy.I’m still hoping they wake up one morning and say to their lovely spouses (whom I screamed hello to each time we ran by) “Hey, remember that newbie I was running with? Do you remember what was written on the back of her shirt? I feel like she mentioned a blog or something and maybe I could look it up and see how she did or something…” And then they would stumble over to and see my many comments about them. And know that they made my first marathon the experience it was and how much I appreciate them pacing me for so long, and at a speed I did not know I was capable of.

I did not expect to love the course and crowds as much as I did. Sure, Richmond is my hometown, and its known as America’s Friendliest Race. But after reading so many race recaps on NY and the wall of support on First Ave, I tried not to get my hopes up about street crowds down south. But they proved me wrong. And now know what my fellow marathoners (whoa, weird, cause I am one now) mean when they say that the crowds are what carry you through the pain and through the tough parts. The crowd support in Richmond was amazing. There was a band around every corner, and on longer stretches where cheers were scattered, there was beautiful, beautiful scenery. Riverside Drive might be one of my new favorite roads.

I did not expect to see my friends and family so much along the course. Turns out, they know how to plan. And I managed to grab hugs and kisses at 16, pick up a friend at 20 (who picked me up every time I wanted to fall down for the last 10k) and get a little kick in the toosh via the encouraging screams at mile 21(ish?). Best of all, there were cowbells and jumps of joy from everyone in the finishers chute. Seeing my friends and fam and knowing they had all made it back to watch me cross the finish line is probably what gave me the last little burst of energy I needed to scoot in before the clock turned 4.

*Brightroom managed to capture this moment in a video. I’d share it with you, but its attached to all of my other brightroom photos from Race Day. All of which are scary. Legitimately. And none of which are stills of me crossing the finish line with the fist pumps I’d practiced so hard. What is UP with that, brightroom??

I did not expect to feel so good afterwards. Physically, that is (I knew I’d be on Cloud9 mentally speaking). Don’t get me wrong…I couldn’t eat solid food for a good long while after running. One car ride back to the south side after the race turned my legs to jello. Even now, anytime I try to sit or bend down a little bit I feel like I’m rudely imitating a 98-year-old woman. But overall, I don’t want to hole up on the couch and say “see ya” to running for a few weeks (even though maybe I should?). The opposite is true. In fact, this morning I finally returned to the reservoir for some very easy running. It was weird, not having any mileage goal I had to hit, but nice too. And I’ll enjoy that for the next month or so I think.

I did not ever, ever, ever for even a fraction of a second, expect I’d have any chance in the world of a sub-4. But I did. And I have Larry and Tracy and the course and the crowds and my family and friends to thank for it. And I feel REALLY good.

soooo happy

But there are two sides to that sub-4. Now I know I can run a marathon and in a relatively speedy time (pro). This confidence will motivate me to sign up for the 2012 NYC marathon with a little less fear and a little more excitement. Now I also know that I will subconsciously by fighting with myself to beat that time. And that invokes a lot of fear and a little more excitement.


So where was I going with this? Oh yes. These unexpected awesome things are my dreamhouse and Ken. And I know that just like seasonal depression kicks in after Christmas, my PMD is sure to set in soon. So bear with me while I ride this out a little longer 🙂


5 Responses to “Shelf Life”

  1. 1 thethinksicanthink November 16, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    I really like the analogy of Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. At least you always knows Santa will come again next year, just like there is always another race!

  2. 3 Kristen S November 16, 2011 at 9:26 pm

    I like this. I feel this way often, only it is usually not things as noble as running a marathon. 🙂

  3. 4 runningismagical November 17, 2011 at 1:10 am

    I think you’re definitely allowed to milk the ‘marathon high’ for as long as you want!

  1. 1 Now What? « Marathon Winer Trackback on November 22, 2011 at 12:04 pm

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