What Happens after a Marathon?

 

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 road now behind you

 

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.

Marathon

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.

 

It hurts!

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.

Kate and Mum

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!

 

Again, again!

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

Marathon Blisters

Nothing deters me…

 

Mine

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.


Finisher's Medal

 

And the answer is…

Yesterday I asked if you could guess the double meaning.

Tattoo

Almost all of you got that a marathon is 42.2km, hence 42.

Only Mary and Tri-Girl remembered that 42 is the answer to the question of the universe in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

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 ;-)

 

Your Turn!

Have you ever felt down after a big event?
What makes you feel strong?
What is your next race?

 

29 comments

  1. jenna says:

    I love the double meaning of the tattoo!! I’m sorry you’re experiencing the blues right now, but I know you, and I know it’ll pass quickly!! Enjoy relishing in your glory and accomplishment!! You are a rockstar!!

  2. Amy Lauren says:

    I love the tattoo and it’s meaning :) . Glad you haven’t experienced the post marathon let down but I think finding other racing goals is a good way to combat that. I do hope your soreness ends soon, but you completed a marathon which is a pretty big deal for your body, so get some rest this week before you start training again. You really are a rockstar!
    Amy Lauren recently posted Race and Trip Recap: Georgetown Bridge 2 Bridge Half MarathonMy Profile

  3. Kierston says:

    Great post my friend! The tattoo is very delicate yet it holds such a strong meaning!

    I’ve definitely felt down after reaching a big goal…it’s like, what now? I think it’s normal :)

    Oh and in answer to your question yesterday re: the tattoo I almost got…It was going to be my Chinese name (the characters).

    Have a great day!
    Kierston recently posted Fitness Competition WIAW: A Touch of SweetnessMy Profile

    • Kate says:

      Thanks Kierston! You always seem to bounce back really well – and I love the Chinese characters idea – I’ve always worried that I’d get it wrong though :-O

  4. Woohoo Kate! I’m still so excited and proud of you! Love the double meaning of the tattoo! And I sooo remember that feeling of not being able to walk! It’s quite humorous when you are past it I promise! ;-)
    Mindy @Road Runner Girl recently posted Gulf Coast Half Marathon Mandeville Day 2!My Profile

  5. great tat! I always love ones that have a meaning behind them. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to run a marathon but I think most people think that before they actually do it! What a great accomplishment! (:

  6. Kat says:

    I love when races are over! I just have to gear up this fall as I have one a month so no lax time for me…boo…after a marathon, I will be sitting pretty for a while – YOU DESERVE IT!
    Kat recently posted Nominated for an award! Kind ofMy Profile

  7. Love the tat! How cool and love the double meaning. So good to hear you haven’t got the post race blues. But by the sounds of it you don’t have time to be blue!!! Planning your next race and next goal is such a good idea and keeps you on track. With a first marathon like that you are going to pull some amazing times. Can’t wait to read about the long and successful running life that awaits you.

    Hang in there while you are apart from the Mr Rake. It will suck but it will go quickly. How are you going to celebrate being DONE with uni for good??? That is going to be massive.

    Love the blisters shot. My hideous feet remind me I’m a runner… So beat up :p
    Jenelle @Mummy loves to run recently posted The stars finally alignedMy Profile

    • Kate says:

      Thanks Jenelle. I know you know all too well what it’s like not to have your significant other around – I feel like I do it much less than you!

      My parent are flying up to Canberra to be with me, and we’ll head out for dinner after. Very much looking forward to it!

  8. Paulette says:

    Super cool tattoo – and congrats on the finish! I’m similar to you in that I immediately go on to updating my goals for the next event, so I don’t tend to get super let down.
    Paulette recently posted NWM Half Marathon Race ReportMy Profile

  9. I definitely feel down after a big event! I have felt race depression after each relay that I have done and I felt it after my marathon (it was harder for me since I finished and my husband DNFed so I felt guilty). I’ve dealt with it by registering for other races! I registered us for a marathon after our first and then I just registered us for another after our first overnight relay. It helps me not feel as sad.
    Jamie @ couchtoironwoman recently posted Reach the Beach: New Jersey Race Recap Part 2My Profile

  10. Love the tat. I’ve been thinking about a running one on my foot for a while to symbolize my run struggles. “It isn’t easy. It is worth it!”
    I had a horrible first, swore the entire last 7 miles I’d never do it again. Cursed myself, hated it, crossed the finish line and instantly started planning #2.
    Abby @ BackAtSquareZero recently posted The Chase CommencesMy Profile

    • Kate says:

      Thanks Abby – I’m pretty in love with it. Great idea for your tatt – and you are soooo right about thinking no way, never again, and then suddenly being open to another.

  11. Congratulations Kate! What an awesome achievement. Isn’t it amazing what the body and mind can do when when commit to something.
    Best wishes for your next run!

  12. I looooooove the tattoo!! I can’t believe some idiot pointed out you were walking funny – duh!! I’m not sure how many times I’ve walked down the stairs backwards just to avoid the stress on my hamstrings… Loved this post, Kate – thanks for sharing!

  13. Yingying says:

    I am running my first marathon on sunday 2nd dec and my daughter has dance performance that evening, with rehearsal at 2pm… Tis post has helped me greatly understand what my likely condition (worse than this! As i’m not as fit) will be after the race… Thanks for sharing :) i’m from singapore by the way! Do come to singapore to run in the standard chartered marathon usually on e first sunday in december.

    • Kate says:

      I’m so excited for you! Definitely worth all of it. And you know what? I kind of want to do it again. So it can’t be that awful – right? I would love to come to Singapore! My father in law is over there and I’m trying to find an excuse to visit. It must be very hot and humid :-)

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