from mile to marathon

The journey of a thousand leagues begins from beneath your feet.
Lao-Tzu

Monday, May 21, 2007

too hard on myself

In the last two weeks I learned to believe in my marathon, to be proud of it, and to forget it again.

But at the finish line, I did not feel much. I was relieved to had gotten there in one piece, but not elated or moved. Mostly I felt puzzled – where had I lost the euphoria of the first miles, that feeling of magical readiness? Had I run too slow or too fast? Could I have done something differently? Or better? Looking through he wind-blown gray of noon I even felt, right on the spot where I had completed my first marathon, that the finish was anti-climactic.

I agonized over this for the rest of the day and beyond, as if I had just scored a failure, not an accomplishment. On the drive back to Farmington through opaque rain, I turned to my boyfriend at the wheel and speculated whether this meant we had to move on to bigger and better things.

He rolled his eyes. In the weeks since, a couple of times, he asked aloud a question addressed to no one in particular: “what is she going to pick up next?”

I don’t know.

In the meantime, I will run a couple of more marathons, as I said I would. Perhaps there is something I can do in a better way. Or differently.

19 Comments:

At 12:33 PM, Blogger E-Speed said...

after my first marathon I felt very similar to this. I had just made a huge accomplishment but I wasn't even excited or happy about it until weeks later.

Post marathon I think our hormones or something get out of whack!

 
At 3:51 PM, Blogger Randy said...

Well I had tried to leave a comment but somehow I had logged myself out of blogger so I lost it.

Basically I said that though I haven't run a full yet...I had similar thoughts for a short while after my half. I've gotten over them and am now excited about running a full sometime this fall, just have to decide where and when, I have several local choices.

Have you considered or looked at the Marathon Maniac website...that is certainly a challenge. I'm pondering the 50 state challenge, which will take a number of years to achieve but it would be a good long term goal for me.

Just don't give up on yourself or what you have achieved.

 
At 5:03 PM, Blogger Bre said...

My former babysitter medaled in the Olympic Modern Women's Pentathalon. The first time I saw her afterwards I said something like "You must be SO thrilled!!" and she said "I haven't gotten to that part yet... but I will"


So will you

 
At 5:17 PM, Blogger robtherunner said...

I find it easiest to sign up for another one and find out what I can do better, or different. I second guessed myself many times after my first marathon, but kept my focus on the accomplishment of the task that was completed.

 
At 7:57 PM, Blogger RunBubbaRun said...

I think that is what drives us to do more. The finish is sometimes more of a relief, even sometimes a let down.

But, I always say your first marathon is the one you will remember the most.

Sometimes it is really about the journey than just crossing the finish line..

 
At 9:36 PM, Blogger Journey to a Centum said...

Lia,

It's not unusual to experience a bit of post-marathon depression. It's a big accomplishment and takes some time to recover and set new goals. I like Rob's suggestion to look ahead to the next goal. For him it was another marathon. For you, only you know, perhaps getting published?

Cheers!
Eric

 
At 8:52 AM, Blogger Steve said...

I think we've all experienced this to some degree. Don't stress over it.

Do the Portland marathon with me in October....just for fun!

 
At 9:15 AM, Blogger Joe said...

Lia,

I think your boyfriend's reaction is natural and understandable. He stood by your side during your training and now that the race is over, I think he is seeking a bit of closure.

I think you need to find more meaning in what you just accomplished. IT WAS AMAZING! You set a goal, you worked hard towards it and you acheived it to the best of your ability. Allow yourself to be satisfied with that!

Instead of moving on to bigger and better, try moving on to "different". Try a different marathon just for the unique experience. Don't compare it to the one you just did. Leave each marathon fully self contained.

Well, I'm just babbling, I guess. But I do understand your boyfriend's reaction.

 
At 11:19 AM, Blogger Gotta Run said...

Try trail marathons or better yet do an Ultra like me. I signed up for a 50k in June then 50 mile in November. The trails have brought excitement back into my running. I am in love once again.

 
At 12:35 PM, Blogger LeiselB said...

ok so i'm up to two miles and thinking i'm "gettin' there".....and then I read about your skill...sigh...

 
At 3:31 PM, Blogger Lisa - Slow & Steady said...

Having never run a marathon, I can't really relate, but I did feel weird after my first triathlon until I established new goals to work toward. This was a big goal for you and you completed it. What's next? is a reasonable question. When you figure it out, I hope you are able to bask in your accomplishment, because what you did was HUGE.

 
At 4:34 PM, Blogger maniac hippo said...

I'll join the crowd of people here that are telling you that the way you're feeling is pretty common.

One easy antidote is to always have another (specific) goal in mind even during the last few miles of a marathon, and definitely during the days after.

There are no guarantees but my experience has been that as I've run more of them, my emotions have changed from something like what you're feeling to a wonderful pre/during/post marathon exhuberance. (Do you wonder why I'm an addict?)

 
At 9:21 PM, Blogger Pure Virtual Function said...

Hang in there Lia. You have the itch in you now... you can't stop running. =) I am still struggling with recovering from Eugene marathon and it was a week before you! It takes a bit for the batteries to recharge, and it is a cruel thing that marathoner's hardly have energy to crack a smile after a race. You have that accomplishment for life now. Savor it.

 
At 5:42 AM, Blogger R2B said...

Perhaps the journey has been forgotten at the destination?

 
At 8:36 PM, Blogger e.b. said...

Is it that all the preps and planning that made this seem anti-climatic in the moment? But later it will sink in more...

 
At 5:44 AM, Blogger Ryan said...

Once you accomplish a long term goal like running a marathon, the next step is always hard! You have so many options, give it some time and in the meantime enjoy the plateau you’ve reached you worked hard! Cheers to new goals and aspirations!

 
At 9:19 AM, Blogger Backofpack said...

I've never experienced post-marthon depression. Maybe it is because I've always had another in the wings - giving myself the challenge of more and more. I have been elated at the finish of each - sometimes it's because I finally get to stop, sometimes it's for the sheer accomplishment of so many miles, sometimes it's the hitting of a time goal. We'll see what CDA brings on Sunday.

Now that you've acoomplished this big goal, I think you have to turn inward. Ask yourself if it's something you want to continue - do you really like it and all that surrounds it? Are you doing it for yourself? Are you doing it for others - so you can say "I did this" or "I do this" and experience their reaction? I think reflection will give you the answer about whether to continue.

 
At 11:24 AM, Blogger Thomas said...

Speaking as someone who has never run a marathon, I think it's a huge accomplishment.

 
At 6:48 AM, Anonymous Ela said...

"I will run a couple of more marathons, as I said I would". - Yes, just do it, untill the identity of the materializer, of the "I can do anything" settles down in you.
Other: things that are behind us bring often depression, things that lay in front of us bring enthusiasm.

 

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