After the Big Event

Running a race is kind of like getting married. There are months of preparation for the big day. You play out the day in your mind over and over. And then it’s here! And then it’s gone. And life goes back to what it was before you had this big upcoming event. Only it feels like something is missing now. No more research on wedding dresses or flowers. No more research on compression shorts or tempo runs. It’s just in the past. And that begs the question – now what?

Okay, maybe the now what question isn’t so applicable to marriage, but it is for racing. I just did my 7th half marathon. I finally, after five years of trying, beat my PR. Now what? I haven’t run since the race on Saturday although I feel totally fine. I did the elliptical yesterday instead to loosen up my legs. I’ll probably take this whole week off from running. My sister is visiting from North Carolina on Friday night and we’re going to be running a 5K on Saturday morning. That’s my running plan for the immediate, as in next 4 days future, but what about after that?

There are several options and I honestly don’t know which I want to do.

• focus more on other stuff for a while – weights, yoga, spinning. Do the GA half marathon in March.
• work on speed during the winter. Do a February 10K, hopefully faster than 58 minutes.
• sign up for a full marathon and begin to train for it.

The way I see it, those are the three directions that I could take. Each has plusses and minuses.

If I decide to let running take a back seat for a while and concentrate on other forms of excerise, I might actually lose weight, which I’d like. I have a sneaking suspicion that my body is pretty complacent with 5 mile runs and they’re not going to jolt it into weight loss mode. In the past, I’ve had very good results when I do cross training. Before my wedding, I did P90X for three months and lost 7 pounds. I only did the workout dvds, I did not follow the nutrition plan. But, on the flip side, if I don’t run, I’ll lose my endurance and I’ll spend all Spring trying to gain it back when I start to train for the GA half.

Working on getting faster for a Winter 10K is probably the most viable option. I don’t really see any negatives to that. A 10K is short enough that I’ll be able to do most of my runs on the treadmill when it gets cold. The Charles Harris 10K in February starts within walking distance of my house. It’s also a fast course with a net downhill. I could focus on PRing on that course.

I could sign up for a marathon. A part of me thinks that I’m already in decent shape, I’m already able to run 13 miles, why not continue on and show that marathon who’s boss this time? When I was first considering this as a viable option, I only thought about the GA marathon – the hilly sonofabitch that I did three years ago. It occurred to me recently though, that I don’t have do that race. I could find a flatter course. A lot of people have been tweeting about the National Marathon and that could be an option for me too. My entire family lives in the DC metro area so doing a race there might be fun.

I thought about signing up for a local marathon training group, but I didn’t. I even went as far as to email the director some questions about the group, but then I didn’t sign up. The reason why? Life just got in the way. My sister’s visiting, we’re going to Asheville, we’re going to DC, we’re going to SC. And that’s the thing that scares me most about training for a marathon. Training becomes your life. I don’t see Jason much as is because of his work schedule, I really would never see him if I was training for a marathon. But, at the same time, our lives are pretty uncomplicated right now and who knows what the next few years are going to bring. I might want to seize the opportunity while I have it.

I’m rather indecisive. I guess I’ll just focus on this week and then take it from there. I hope you remembered to vote today. I did.

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18 responses to “After the Big Event

  1. I’m kinda in the same boat and am thinking of going the 10k route as well. Focusing on speed training as well as more cross training. But, it would be amazing to complete a marathon wouldn’t it!

  2. Hmmm…it’s a conundrum. I think you’re right to just keep going and don’t force a decision on yourself, you’ll figure it out as you go.

  3. I think life is always a “what next” scenario. It’s strange, but true. Definitely seize the day while you can because you never get time back and things always get in the way.

  4. The Myrtle Beach Marathon/Half Marathon is in February. This course is flat, flat, flat! A great race to PR.

  5. The “what next” question is always an interesting one. Hopefully these next few days off will help give you some clarity on what you want to focus on. Best of luck with the decision!

  6. I definitely can understand your conundrum. I think that regardless of which way you go though, you’re doing a good job of thinking about your options. I’ll know you’ll make the right choice for you. 🙂

    I most definitely did vote!

    Have a great Wednesday, Lee.

  7. I go through that same thought process with a full marathon. If not now– when? Probably not when we have kids, which isn’t that far away. Now would definitely be the time to do it, but even as uncomplicated as our lives are right now…I still think of excuses not to do it, ha!

  8. I completely agree with the “now what” mentality after a race. I remember the first time I got on a treadmill after my first one, I was like wow how many miles do I run, I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO!

  9. Wow. I totally could’ve written this post!! I feel the exact same way and it’s been a month since my first half and I’m still antsy looking for the whole “what’s next”. You have some great ideas! I sense you’re veering towards marathon, though I could also see you focusing on speed and doing another round of P90x this winter too. But that’s just me. Any suggestions for me and my antsy pants, send ’em my way! I keep thinking…another half? Maybe??

  10. If you go with option 2 for now, then it’ll be easy to transition to option 1 in the spring. Holy hills, The GA Marathon course is tough. I only did the half last year, and I had no idea what I was in for. The full must have been brutal. Focusing on speed for awhile should really rev up your metabolism too.

  11. I know exactly what you mean. I would definitely take a week to relax and not worry about it – after all you just reached your goal of a new PR and should bask in that glory for a little bit!

  12. I feel the same way! I think you should sign up for the MCM 🙂

    Love the cute Georgia voting sticker. I didn’t get a sticker of any sort. Hmph.

  13. “Okay, maybe the now what question isn’t so applicable to marriage, but it is for racing.” hehe You’re so funny. I know what you mean – now what? I like that you have so many options for what to do next – looking forward to seeing which you choose. 🙂

  14. Stumbled on your blog clicking through others and decided to comment. I love your insight on post-race letdown! Post-marriage letdown… post-partum depression… it’s so true. Well, I can’t speak from experience on those last two, but post-race ennui is the real deal. Also, my first marathon ever was the GA marathon this past year in 2010. Apparently they’d changed the course a wee bit and people were calling it “hillier than ever!” If you did decide to run GA, I promise you that you will never look at the 12th street hill off of Piedmont Park the same way again after experiencing it at mile 22.5. YOOWWw! Congrats on the 1/2 PR and good luck figuring out a plan for what’s next. 🙂

  15. I’ve felt that same way. 10K’s are (in my opinion) the best distance – challenging, but not too taxing on the body, more elite than 5K’s…it’s a great distance 🙂 Great job!!!

  16. I voted too!

    I think marathons sound like they are physically and mental taxing on your body and a huge time commitment. What about mixing up your exercise but still getting some running in? Like 3 days of yoga/strength training and 2 days of running?

  17. After my marathon I asked my sister, “Do you think it’s weird that I feel depressed?”

    Her response: “Only if you think it’s weird that I bawled the day after my wedding because it was over.”

    Whatever you tackle I’m sure you’ll crush it! Thanks for your sweet comment today. Looking forward to following your new adventures.

  18. Totally interested in finding out what you decide! My second half is Sunday and I’m trying to decide if I should train for a full. I think my body would really like more strength training and other forms of cardio, but a marathon is bucket list material!