Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Final Marathon Thoughts

Oh man, I could just kiss myself for thinking ahead of time and taking 2 days off of work.  Yesterday was pretty rough, mainly due to that tendon in my right leg.  It's super painful and there is a ton of bruising (there is a picture below in the middle of the post), but I iced it and rested all day yesterday.  Today when I got up, the pain wasn't quite as bad, though the bruising is pretty gnarly.  I can do a kind of pained old man shuffle as opposed to hobbling, so I think by tomorrow I'll probably be at 80%.  Otherwise I am having a grand time watching trashy ass Lifetime Television movies (for the record, men will ruin your life according to the gods of Lifetime), laying on the couch and eating leftover pizza.

I wanted to post some final reflections on marathoning now that I've had a couple days to recover, and thought it would be fun to do it in a Q&A format!  So here we go:

Q.  Are you happy you did the marathon?
A.  100% yes.  It's one of the greatest things I've ever done in my life.

Q.  Is there anything you would change?
A.  My lack of training, by far.  I mean for the last couple of months, I've only done my long runs, so I ran once a week.  Yeeeeah.  I didn't train nearly enough, and it definitely hindered my success.  I also stopped doing yoga, which was a huge mistake.  I lost so much muscle tone and flexibility, both which would have helped me out on the course.  I also wish that I'd really been more serious about dropping weight before I started the process.  I'm not saying chubby people can't do marathons, but I certainly didn't do my joints/feet any favors by being heavy.  Between my weight and my lack of training, I am VERY lucky to not be injured worse than I am.

Q.  Could I do a marathon?
A.  I think anyone who has the drive and desire to CAN do a marathon.  It is not easy, but you CAN do it.  I saw people of all shapes, sizes and ages out on the course.  I saw people much heavier than me out there.  I saw people well into their 80's out there.  It's all about being willing to put in the conditioning, time, and to be able to propel yourself emotionally.  There will be times where it's really tough, and the only thing to keep you going will be your own determination.  Also, please don't follow my example, make sure that you train properly, and that you don't eat like a fool.

Q.  What tips do you have for training for a marathon?
A.  Prepare yourself ahead of time for the emotional ride, because there are times where the process is going to be the most awesome thing in your life, as well as one of the most horrible things in your life.  Work out ahead of time what you are going to say to yourself when things are tough and you want to quit.  Trust me, that time will come.  Tell a shit ton of people you are doing it, because there were times that the only thing that kept me going was thinking, "Oh crap, all of these people know I'm doing this, I gotta get out and do my long run today or I'll look like a loser."  Be patient with yourself, forgive yourself for the bad runs, and try to not put pressure on yourself.  If you are new to running, seek out as many running resources as possible.  Read books and blogs on running.  Get a running coach and/or make friends with runners.  You will have bizarre questions that only runners will understand (butt cheek chafing anyone?) Surround yourself with supportive people who don't mind you yapping about running all of the time, and who will pull you out of a dark place when the training gets tough.  If anyone says anything negative about you running a marathon or implies that you can't do it, they are a butthole who is probably jealous of you and would never attempt something so awesome themselves, so screw 'em.

Q.  Would you ever do a marathon again?
A.  My knee jerk reaction is no.  I know you should never say never, especially when it comes to running, but I know deep in my heart that it's not something I want to go through again.  In any race I've ever done, as soon as I cross the finish line I say to myself  "Hell yeah, I wanna sign up for another race!"  I did NOT do that after this race. I was so relieved to be done that I cried in public.  The training is a complete time suck, even the half assed amount of training that I did.  The whole process is very physically grueling and sometimes traumatizing emotionally.  It utterly sapped my joy for running to where I am adverse to it, and that makes me really sad.  I think I'll find that love again, but not right now!

Q.  Seriously?  Even after saying it was the greatest thing you've ever done?
A.  Yes seriously.  Probably.  I mean, would I love if I had a marathon record of faster than 7 hours?  Kind of.  Will I experience a major void in my life for not attempting another one to better my time?  Probably not.  The only way I'd ever consider it even is if I was like 70 pounds lighter and it was a spring marathon, so I wasn't training in the summer.  We all know how I feel about that.  But yeah, my gut says that I'm done with the 26.2.

Q.  What is the worst thing about doing a marathon?
A.  Definitely the emotional aspect.  At a certain point, your body only carries you so far, and you have to carry yourself the rest of the way.  If you're a self deprecating gomer with low self esteem like I am, finding that strength and fortitude is very, very difficult.  The physical trauma to the body isn't exactly a fun time party either.

Bruises?  Flesh Eating Bacteria?  Who knows?!

Q.  Jesus, is there anything good about doing a marathon?
A.  Yes, absolutely.  The reasons TO do a marathon are the same reasons that people climb Mt. Everest or why Diana Nyad was driven time and time again to try to complete that Cuba to Florida swim.  Sometimes you are compelled to take on a challenge, no matter how crazy it is, because you know that the end result will be good for your soul.  It's hard to explain, but between the tears, the pain in the ass training, and just plain old pain, there were a lot of beautiful things about the process.  It uncovers greatness in you that you didn't know existed.  The marathon proved to me that I am more than a chubby, scatterbrained Sagittarius who has a hard time finishing what she starts.  I overcame that, and overcame myself to do something that not everyone does.  It taught me that I can follow through, that I am capable of doing something big.  It's an experience I'd recommend simply because it will show you everything that you are capable of, and because sometimes you have to answer that nagging voice telling you to do something.  (As long as that nagging voice isn't some kind of Son of Sam shit).  And there are the pleasant surprises that pop up too.  A couple of people told me that I am inspirational, which automatically makes me say, "Shit, really?"  But it also feels good to hear that.  A couple of people have said they started running because of me, which feels good.

Q.  What's next for you?
A.  Next is the Nike Women's Half in San Francisco, and then running and I are going to have a trial separation for a bit.  Along the way of training for a marathon, I lost the joy I had for running, and I think taking a little break and some time to reflect would help me get that back.  What I'd like to do next is complete the full cycle of my Ultimate Yogi  DVDs, which is 180 days.  Yoga is amazing for the body and mind, and I could certainly use help in both departments!  I also want to get back to focusing on my nutrition, which has suffered big time in the last few months.  Eric and I are talking about doing a Turkey Trot together at Thanksgiving, so that would probably be my next running related adventure after the Nike Women's Half.

Q.  But if you're not running, does that mean you won't blog either?
A.  Heck no!  I love writing on the blog, so I'll still be writing.  It probably won't be running related for a bit, but you can expect to see the blog turn back to more food and nutrition related posts, as well as my return to yoga and derpy pictures of Molly.

The ever elegant greyhound...
So I guess that's it for today.  If you guys have any other questions, I'll be happy to answer them in the comments section.  I do want to say a huge thank you to those of you who read the blog.  Writing my posts was so cathartic to me, and knowing that you guys were reading, following me and rooting for me was a huge help to me when things got really dark.  I felt very supported and loved!  XOXO!!

3 comments:

  1. Love your q and a! And I look forward to following you on your journey! (Love the pic of Molly too!)

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  2. So nice to get an honest look at a marathon. Thanks for the insight! =)

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  3. great post :) cute doggie. i have the poor mans greyhound (whippet). she is just as crazy as your molly (her name is Kira).

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