So here I am, alive to tell the tale.
I’ve posted a couple of times about the things that you might not be told before embarking on marathon training. I’ve given you the race in all its ugly glory. So what happens after? Everyone’s experience is different of course, but here are a few hints!
The post-marathon let-down
I have to be honest, I haven’t really experienced this one. It may because I’m a person constantly living in the future (I immediately updated the site to include my next race goals), or it may be because I already have 101 things on between commuting, thesis-writing and work. It may simply be that it hasn’t hit yet!
I feel tired (like, totally wiped out), I feel stiff, but I don’t feel ‘down’. In fact, I feel the opposite – strong, and more relaxed than I have been in a long time.
However, this isn’t the only response to the marathon, and Dorothy from Mile Posts has some very honest words about her post-marathon blues.
I knew it was going to hurt, but I didn’t realise what that feeling would be like. After long runs, I’ve felt stiff and sore. I’ve been injured and unable to climb stairs. But immediately after crossing that line, the stiffness set in, and Every. Single. Step. Was painful.
I told you that straight after the race I hobbled down a ramp, left the arena and sat down on the concrete. The act of moving my body into a sitting position was agony, but staying upright felt impossible. Even sitting hurt. My butt was on fire. I had no idea so many muscles were used during a run! All the obvious places hurt, but so did my back, my arms, my abs and my ribs (not a muscle, but whatever).
As I shuffled away from the line, a fellow competitor looked at me:
You’re walking funny
…no shit. Also you’re looking a bit sideways yourself.
The following day was worse, and Mr The Rake spent the day laughing at me attempting to get up, sit down and walk sideways down stairs. Sitting on the toilet has never been so difficult.
I’m sure I could have minimised this with stretching, massage and/or icing, but to be honest, that thought was too much to bear, and I had nothing I had to run to!
The queen of sleep
This one’s a misnomer; I haven’t been sleeping all that much, but I am wickedly tired. At first, I was completely chirpy. Exhausted, but not sleepy tired. It wasn’t until day two that the real exhaustion set in. On that second night I hit it hard, and it took all my mental strength to drive home from the city, where I was visiting friends.
Every little thing I received via email sounded like an attack; from a supervisor, from work, from uni, and I had to step back and remind myself I was just feeling the effects of wearing myself out – it was nothing personal!
Here’s something I didn’t expect! Within an hour or so of finishing, I was planning my next races and goals. Not necessarily a marathon (though once I was safely in the car I felt amenable to the idea – if I didn’t move), but other distances.
If I can do that, what else can I do? How fast can I get? What other races can I try? When is my next big race?
Oh – gross pic alert
The best is last! Nothing beats that feeling of having finished. Of being done. Of knowing that your body can do that. For me, it has made me respect my body more, and looking at that medal (and the new tatt!) reminds me that no matter what, I can get through.
That feeling? It’s yours for life.
And the answer is…
Yesterday I asked if you could guess the double meaning.
Almost all of you got that a marathon is 42.2km, hence 42.
For me, it symbolises that all things end, that anything is possible, that I am tough, that sometimes I will have the answer before the question, and that it’s ok for things not to make sense. Oh, and that I ran a marathon
Have you ever felt down after a big event?
What makes you feel strong?
What is your next race?