Saturday, November 23, 2013

Post-Marathon Thoughts

I have been thinking a lot about what running a marathon means to me...and I cannot find many words. The experience was a lot less grueling than I expected. From the training all the way up to recovery, I was careful in respecting the distance, but gave those 26.2 miles more space than was warranted. I now have four half marathons under my belt along with four triathlons, so I did not feel like a stranger to endurance events. What's another two or three hours once you've already done several two hour-long events? Anyways, I realize that I could easily turn this into a rambling post with many paragraphs so I'm gonna stick to bullets.

First Race Ever: September, 2009


*Respect your Body: I got really sick after my 18 mile run and was never able to fit in my 20 mile run before the race. Sure, I covered less distance than I planned, but I was extra rested and just barely healthy come race day.

*Course Selection: I love running on hilly terrain, but in the end, I'm glad I choose a fast & flat course for my first marathon. The monotony has the potential to weigh you down.....but I'd rather be bored than mess up my knees.

*Podcasts: Do it! I learned interesting information and listened to inspiring stories about perseverance which kept my brain in the right place for 5 hours.

*Tell the World: Accountability keeps you going on those training days where you question what you got yourself into.

*Yoga: I went to class once or twice a week and I credit yoga with keeping me healthy. This time allows you to assess how your body is functioning, what may feel out of place, and stretching and strengthening in a safe environment are always beneficial. Bonus points on the class atmosphere!


*Cross Training: With life getting in the way, I dropped my biking & swimming. I continued these sports for about half of training....but feel my runners knee would be better if I had stayed with them.

*Shoes: I planned poorly with the timing of my purchase and my race. By the end of 26.2 my beloved Brooks Adrenalines were completely worn through on the R shoe, to the point where the foam middle was completely exposed. Those fancy shoes only work well when you use them correctly!

*Fuel: Compared to others I talked to, I thought I was eating enough. As it turned out I ended up burning 5,000 calories during the marathon and maybe replaced 500 of them while running. I was a bottomless pit for 3 days afterward, I would wake up in the middle of the night and eat raw tempeh out of the fridge. It was incredible how long it took to become satiated and I plan on proper fueling next time I tackle the marathon.

*Mental Preparation: I am not really sure how to change this yet, but the marathon was a huge weight that I did not know I was carrying. I was so busy that I had no time to acknowledge the anxiety I had about my largest physical commitment to date. The days leading up the race I started getting night sweats which I attributed to illness at the time. On race day I had butterflies like never before and could hardly keep my breakfast down. I will definitely acknowledge any fears I have next time and embrace them as a part of the process.

The marathon is a really incredible event, and I am looking forward to my next race. I truly expected everything to change when I crossed the finish line. That's what Hollywood says is supposed to happen. As it turned out, the transformation came gradually during my training, through the race, and continues through my recovery. More than anything I took those 26.2 miles to meditate and enjoyed putting one foot in front of another, with no other cares in the world. It was a great time where I had space to be selfish and take care of only myself. I truly loved every minute of the run and think the timing could not have been better. The fall of 2013 was a huge season for my personal growth and I am so thankful that Tim, my Mom, and Stephen were able to share in my day. Also - I cannot forget to thank my running partner who conquered the marathon in 2012 - Kimmy and I have learned what distance running is all about by sticking together and pushing one another. It's difficult to find such a well-matched and dedicated workout buddy, and I'm glad to have her around!

Our first 13.1 in June, 2010

PS. Signage is super important in keeping up morale! Here are a few of my favorites from the day...

"What happens on the course, stays on the course"

"I have met my hero and she is me"


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