Saturday, 8. May 2010
Running a marathon is a lot like getting married. I never thought of it that way until I was taking a shower post-race, enjoying the fact that for the first time in a LONG time, I didn’t have to think about the marathon. I wasn’t wondering how I’d squeeze in a lunch time run or what I’d miss out on by having to do a 20-mile training run on Saturday.
It was done.
I did it.
Four months of training for 5 hours.
I don’t remember exactly why I decided to run a marathon. I felt accomplished by running a few half marathons. I guess it was something to do. Running has become something that I can be proud of. It’s something that – whether I commit to a 3-miler on a Saturday or a 12-miler – has a positive end result. If I set a goal, I can usually accomplish it.
The marathon became my hobby. My life revolved around it. It kept me occupied while Laef was gone for days on end with UCLA basketball. I felt like I was following through, being healthy, and was proud to be in the best shape of my entire life.
I’ve been dreading putting up the “Marathon Blog”. Because, truthfully, it isn’t what I thought it would be. I wrote this blog a thousand times over in my head. On every long run I wrote this blog. I envisioned what it would feel like when I crossed the finish line in Hayward Field. I marveled at my ability to stick with the training for four long months.
Over the past four months, I have never been more proud of myself.
And then it was over.
I ran for 5 hours. I never had to walk for sustained periods of time. I never felt like I couldn’t push on. I had trained for this, and on race day, I was ready. I didn’t run in a spectacular time, but I ran consistently until the end. I pushed through it all to finish what I had started. I ran by many of my old Eugene stomping grounds, reminiscing about different phases of my life (dude, seriously, you will think about anything to kill 5 minutes when you are running for that long).
There were friends along the way to give smiles, high fives and awesome signs. I will always be grateful for the support and acknowledgment. Considering that a tiny percent of the population have actually run 26.2 miles, I don’t expect people to relate to what I’m saying or sympathize. But, if you google “Post Marathon Depression” you will have a better understanding of what I’m feeling.
Despite the fact that I’m feeling a bit blah this week and have lost a sense of purpose, I am in awe of what happened. I am so proud to have been able to prove to myself that I can accomplish anything. I would like to do another one so that my pre-race fears and anxieties will be gone and I can have more fun with it. I’m not gonna lie, I wasn’t sure if I’d break a knee or collapse in pain, so I was a bit afraid in the days leading up to the race.
But, I did the training and so the actual run on race day wasn’t so bad (except for the 4 miles where I was in downtown Springfield at 8 a.m.). I honestly felt fine through 16 miles. After that it was all about “game management”. I broke the remaining 10 miles down into increments that were manageable. Taking stretch/mental breaks at miles 19, 22, and 24. If you train properly, it’s no joke that the marathon is a mental game by the last 6 miles. Because, let’s be honest, when you think you are on the home stretch – only 6 miles to go – you will quickly realize that what that means is one hour left of running. ONE HOUR after running for 4 hours. You will stab yourself if you think of it in bulk.
So not only am I physically exhausted after the race, I’m mentally burned out. I spent all of my time preparing for this race because I wanted to succeed. I was determined to cross the finish line.
Now that I’ve crossed it, I wonder: Now what?