What's beyond the mountain? Now that I'm on this side of the mountain, past the marathon finish line, what's here?
I expected to meet some depression, some down time. After all, I had set my sights on the marathon for quite a long time, had worked diligently and prepared the best I could have, and the moment has come and gone. I think I've fully recovered from it, so the only thing left are the pictures, my medal and the memories.
I was worried that the after-marathon would be similar to January and the post-Christmas letdown that comes along with it, for me anyway. Christmas is usually a fun time, and then New Year's comes, but then after that it's like, what now? I expected something similar after Surf City.
So far, no depression. Yeah, it is strange not having a big race to prepare for. I signed up for a free 5K (on March 13) but I haven't yet signed up for the Run Through Redlands half marathon (April 18) even though I intend to run it. The Mud Run is still a bit far away and beyond that, well, that's really far off.
In many ways though, what I've done and what I will do after crossing the finish line is just as important as what I did before. It's not easy, necessarily, to train for a marathon, but it's easier to find motivation before one than after. Every run - at least every long run - before Feb. 7 was with the marathon in mind. Now, the marathon is simply a memory. And while it is a great accomplishment, it is just one of many more things I hope to accomplish.
Having completed two monumental tasks in the last four years - dropping 100-plus pounds and running a marathon - I can draw some parallels between the two. However, I've not been able to maintain my disciplined eating habits as well now as before. I know it's not the healthiest but many times I have a sense of entitlement over food, as in "I just ran 12 miles, I think I can get away with eating a bit more." That doesn't work and I try and shoo those thoughts away almost as quickly as the little devil in my shoulder brings them to light. Still, I know my eating habits can be better.
I had hoped to not have a similar drop in discipline after the marathon. I had hoped to not have the attitude of "Well, I don't need to do all these little midweek runs" or whatever, to not get too relaxed with my training.
So far, though, so good. I consider myself a runner and I feel that I have to live up to that label. Runners run, no matter what race they have coming up. I want to have the attitude that the most important race I have in my life is my next race, and now that's the 5K in two weeks' time. I also want to have the attitude that the most important run in my life is my next run. I mean, if I'm not taking runs seriously, than why bother going on them? Why bother getting dressed and taking time away from my family, my work, my household duties to run, just to half-ass it?
When I run, I focus and concentrate on the task at hand. I try and figure out what purpose the run is serving (distance, tempo, interval, whatever) and then try to figure out what is the best way to meet that objective.
I used to be a lot like that with food. How does what I'm about to put in my mouth fit into my meal plan? How will it affect everything else I eat that day? But again, I've lost a bit of that discipline but lately I've been trying to re-focus and have had some good success in the last week or so.
Having successfully met and conquered my first three weeks of post-marathon training, I feel confident that my upcoming runs will again help me meet my objectives and maintain my mileage and fitness levels.
Because now I'm a full-fledged runner and marathoner. And I need to act like it.