Thursday, October 21, 2010

A case of the blahs

I think I am experiencing a bit of the marathon blues.

It's only natural, I think. I felt similar after my 2006 marathon. I remember feeling kind of 'blah'. I remember finishing that marathon and thinking, "Was it a big deal that I ran a marathon?"

Now I ask myself, "Is it a big deal that I ran a 4:22:10 marathon and beat my time goal of 4:30? Was 4:30 an ambitious goal? Is 26.2 mile really that far??

I realize that questions like these sound down right delusional.

But marathon training kind of messes with your mind, in my opinion. You lose perspective of what a 'long run' is. You toss around phrases like, "I only have to run 12 miles this weekend."

I think I need time away from marathon training to gain respect for what I accomplished.

But then I see things like the text of this ad from Nike, which I saw on (Long) Road to Paradise.

You pretended the snooze button didn’t exist. You dragged your butt out of bed while others slept. While others ate their pancakes you had a feast of protein, glucose and electrolytes. You double-knotted. You left the porch light on and locked the door behind you.

"You ran 5Ks, 10Ks, 26.2 miles. Some days more, some days less. You rewarded a long run with a short run. And a short run with a long run. Rain tried to slow you. Sun tried to microwave you. Snow made you feel like a warrior.

You cramped. You bonked. You paid no mind to comfort. On weekends. On holidays. You made excuses to keep going. Questioned yourself. Played mind games. Put your heart before your knees. Listened to your breathing. Sweat sunscreen into your eyes. Worked on your farmer’s tan.

You hit the wall. You went through it. You decided to be man about it. You decided to be woman about it. Finished what you started. Proved what you were made of. Just kept putting mile after mile on your internal odometer... You ran. And we ran with you. How much farther will we go? As far as you will."

I read this ad and I remember that running a marathon IS an admirable goal.

I remember that I made quite a few sacrifices while training.

I remember how hard I pushed myself.

I know I shouldn't need to read a silly ad to feel this way, but I do. I am confident that this is just a little phase that I am going through; before long, that feeling of pride will catch up with me.

Have you ever worked towards a goal and then after achieving it, felt a little blah like I do? Also, I should emphasize that I am not fishing for compliments; I am just being honest about how I feel, post-marathon.


Charbelle said...

Oh honey that ad says it all. I think in life anytime we prepare for these huge events there is an after effect of feeling blah.
When my brother and SIL got married we were all so excited and joyful and the planning and fesitivities, oh my!! Then the week after I felt sad and out of sorts. Fortunately my parents went with my Godparents to the beach for the week so they had time to decompress after it all. I know that with all of lifes big events I have experienced this.
You are absolutely amazing!! Think about when you ran 4th of July weekend and Memorial Day and Labor Day... Yes you have accomplished something phenomenal, something many people never will. You will remember it after this week, and for many years to come!!
Plus there are more fun and exciting things in your future and you don't know what the future holds!!

Abby said...

First off, I LOVE this add!! I need to keep this one

Second, I completely understand that everyone goes through those marathon blues.

But, yes -- do remember the accomplishment! All that you went through! The weekends of training, the crazy long runs, the grueling rain you pushed 26.2 miles through.

You rock!!

Emily Jane said...

I think the best cure for post-goal blues is to set about making some new ones! And DO remember how much you've achieved - you've done something truly amazing :)

Amber said...

It's totally normal and as a lot of marathoners have told me, that's why so many first-time marathons sign up for ANOTHER marathon the first week after. It's half delusional and something I have TOTALLY considered doing. It's just the feeling of this HUGE goal that we worked so hard for for so long being over.

We'll both feel better soon, I'm sure of it :-)

Kyla Roma said...

Honestly after any big life events I tend to feel this way - I think of it as an emotional hangover. After I graduated from university, after we bought our first house (before possession), after we got married... for me every time there was a week of "Hm, this is novel and interesting!" and then after that something just felt off.

Kyla Roma said...

Oops! Hit enter too soon! :)

I think it's just part of acclimatising. You've been putting so much of yourself into one thing that you have to wait for it to feel normal to be putting that energy into other things. It'll come :)

Nora said...

As someone who had the joy of being your friend during training and heck, even "Training" with you those few days in August, I see how hard you worked, the amazing dedication and from someone who can't run 26.2 miles due to an injury? You're like my marathon idol. Seriously. I think you did an amazing thing.

However, as someone who also just finished training for a race and doesn't have her training plan plastered to her mirror either, I *totally* get this. I'm feeling a bit... lost! We'll find something new to fill our time and our gym time, I'm sure of it.

Marlys said...

Hang in there, Lisa! I agree with Charbelle about the aftermath of a big event! It will pass and you will feel great about it! And setting a new goal of somekind is an awesome idea! That was a great ad and you should frame it!

Becky said...

That ad is awesome! And you did an AMAZING thing! You've run TWO marathons! Let me put this in perspective for you - you ran almost as far as it is from my house to Washington, D.C.!

Gracie said...

Wow, I actually like that ad! I read Amber's post and I think she was right when she said that reading a lot of healthy living blogs and running articles has you downplaying a marathon. It seems like everyone is running one every weekend! That overexposure makes it seem more common, but marathons are still rather rare in the general population big scheme of things.
I love Becky's comment - although I try to avoid this kind of thinking when I'm training, lol! - but it's true. I complain about driving almost 20 miles to church and then I think "I'm going to run 9 more miles than this FOR FUN, am I nuts?" Haha.
Congrats on your achievement and think about signing up for a half-marathon. They're so much more fun!

Leigh said...

I think it's completely normal to feel that way. You trained and dreamt about the day of marathon for 18 weeks and then suddenly it's all over. Although I have never run a marathon, I can say I felt the same way after we got married. I worked so hard to plan and prepare for our wedding day for 1.5 years and suddenly it's over in the blink of an eye. It took awhile for that feeling to go away, but everything is good now.

Erin said...

Honey, running a marathon is a HUGE deal!!! There is always that post-goal period of time when you're sort of coming "down"...after a wedding you planned for months (or years), after the birth of a baby you planned for months (or years!), and even after kicking major ass in a marathon :)

Trust me. I just started my postpartum jogging and was SHOCKED to find I could only go HALF a mile!

Unknown said...

The people who wrote that ad very obviously knew their subject. Excellent description. Smart advertising.

You are a person of exceptional talents and qualities. You continue to amaze us with your accomplishments. Don't lose sight of that!!!

One would also observe you as a person who does not rest on one's laurels. And, right now, you are merely between goals.

The marathon was an exhilarating experience, even for those of us who were following your journey. Those ups always have a down side. Thus, the common comparisons to life as a series of hills and valleys. The entire experience will always be a wonderful time in your life you can rely on and relish.

Before you know it, something else will fill that void.

Right now, what do we have?
The finale of Project Runway! (OK. Maybe my slice of the world is very, very small.)

Grandpa McDougall would ALWAYS say to me, "Keep your chin up!" I repeat that phrase to myself SO often.

Lauren @ Sassy Molassy said...

That Nike ad is awesome! Yeah, I keep itching to sign up for a half or something. I'll probably sign up for one in late winter so I can have something to look forward and train for but not super intense.

J said...

I have felt blah after races put all your efforts and focus into that one day and then when its over, its hard to decide what to do next. You did amazing by training for and running a marathon!

Thanks for your comment today - I do have some PT exercises but would be willing to have more! Your knee pain is gone right?

abbi said...

I love the text from that ad you posted. I definitely felt this way afterwards. I had heard it was natural but seemed to be in denial that I would feel that way. It took me a little longer than I thought to feel back to normal, but this week finally feels normal again. I agree that some media seems to now be down-playing the marathon (ie - Subway ads for Jared running NYC), but it's still a big accomplishment and I have to remember that I read so many running blogs that not everyone is out there doing it!

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

I totally know how you feel! I have felt that way a lot in my life (especially when it comes to school). Take it from me ... running a marathon is a HUGE deal. I honestly feel like I could NEVER do it, and I am truly amazed by anyone who can!

Rachel @ MWF Seeking BFF said...

This is the arrival fallacy people are always talking about -- the idea that when we reach a goal, then we will be happy. But we're never as excited as we want to be or expect to be. It can be a downer. I find it frustrating because Im so hard on myself sometimes that I feel like whatever I do I wont be satisfied, and thats a rough way to feel. But I try to remember that any success is worth celebrating, and use my sense of "Now what?" to fuel me for the next challenge.

chris mcpeake said...

Got to hate those running blues. Dont worry they will be gone again before you know it.

Lisa-Marie said...

I think everyone has those times. My biggest one has been getting my degree. People may question this statement, but teacher training is really hard work, and I worked 24+ hours a week all the way through whilst studying and doing placement. even now, a year on, I still feel a bit blah about having gotten it.

the thing is, as our experiences add up, and we continually push ourselves more, what seems like a challenge will change. your goalposts move.

However, running a marathon is amazing, and improving on your time - even more so. :)

Oh said...

Dear L, So many things have to work together, to be in sync,to make a runner. And you have those things and you are a marathon runner. And congrats!!!!! Have you any idea what we bystanders think of your endurance, heart, courage and abilities? we're gobsmacked.

(btw, there's some good writing in that Nike ad!)

So you feel a little "off" following your race in which you bettered your own time? That's ok. You'll get your groove back.
You are your own toughest adversary/competitor and you were fabulous!

I'm gonna try a 3K and I'll likely walk it.

And I may dare to ask you for a few tips!