It may not be an authentic, documented mental condition, but I can attest to its validity.
When a big race is on the agenda, you train for it. When it's a REALLY BIG race that's been at the top of your bucket list forever, you train even harder. You look forward to the big day and do everything in your power to ensure you're ready, physically and emotionally.
There's all kinds of early morning runs. There's shoe rotation. There's the fueling strategy. There's frequent weather-stalking. And there's plenty of race day stress, due to the aforementioned weather stalking.
But what happens after the finish line?
Many runners experience a taste of the post-marathon blues (also with races of shorter distances). A time of feeling lost and (maybe) distraught that the race is over. Regardless of what kind of finish time you clocked, it's a time of unease as you acclimate back to what your "normal" fitness routine was before the big race (and its demands) took over your existence.
Personally, I think I did an adequate job of keeping things in balance with my running and my life outside of the running shoes. Granted, I had to do some schedule juggling to squeeze in the long runs, but I didn't let it dictate my every thought or action.
But, my big race, the Marine Corps Marathon, has come and gone. It's been almost two weeks, and I'm feeling (dare I say?) fully recovered physically...but things are still feeling a little "off" emotionally.
So much free time, especially on the weekends.
Finishing that last race means there's no longer a need for long runs every weekend, or multiple shorter runs during the week. Mind you, I'll still be running (during the week and on the weekends), just not for hours at a time. The "short" 5-6 mile runs I've done, since the marathon, feel like I'm slacking off in comparison to all the double-digit runs logged over the course of the past 14 weeks. I don't feel guilty; after all, a recovery period is crucial after a busy training cycle, but I cannot deny that I do feel restless.
After SO much weather stalking, I can gladly take a break. Honestly, weather stalking is kind of an exercise in futility. It invokes a lot of stress and worry...none of which will change what Momma N decides to throw at you come race day. Now, with the big race (as well as all the other races that played a big part in my training) over and done, I don't have to obsess over the weather (much). Since there's no specific time table I have to follow for the next few months, there's no need to make up any miles I may miss due to inclement weather. Living in Iowa, that's pretty liberating this time of year!
|This was the forecast for MCM race day!|
I love pinning on a race bib and lining up at the start line with fellow runners. The camaraderie along the race course, with not only the racers but also the spectators, is intoxicating. All told, I ran seven races during my MCM training cycle. All were run under varying conditions (weather, terrain, and distance), and they all fit nicely into my training mileage. One such race, the Hillybilly Hike Half Marathon, was run six days after MCM, and rewarded me with my fastest 13.1 since May 2016...confirming my training had been solid. I wish I could say that about every marathon (or race) I've run!
Quad Cities Bix 7 (July 27) - course PR (previous PR was from 2014)
NewBo Half Marathon (September 1) - course PR; fastest 13.1 since May 2016
Kickoff to Kinnick 5K (September 21) - ran virtual after race canceled due to storms
Run for the Roses 10K (October 13) - 10K PR; 1st place age group
IMT Des Moines Half Marathon (October 20) - last "long run" prior to MCM
Marine Corps Marathon (October 27) - several hours of rain made for a challenging race
Hillbilly Hike Half Marathon (November 2) - strong race; course PR; beat my NewBo time
This is the first training cycle where I have not had any ongoing injuries or lingering aches or pains. I was diligent about stretching, foam rolling and dynamic warm-ups prior to most of my runs and races. That said, there still was a little anxiety in the final weeks as to whether any phantom aches or pains would make an appearance prior to the MCM start line. I rotated through two 'broken in" pairs of shoes and one new pair (all of them Brooks Adrenaline GTS-18's). As the miles accumulated, especially in the final weeks prior to Taper, I kept hoping the "new" pair would hold out long enough to get me through MCM...and they did. Now, since the major racing for 2019 is finished, I can take my time securing a new pair of shoes for 2020.
|the hydration pack and shoes have served me well...|
Well, as with any successful training cycle, there needs to be a rest/recovery period. Although I'm feeling fully recovered, I know my body still needs some down time. I've had almost two solid weeks of low mileage (via running), and I've done a lot of stretching and foam rolling. I've been on the treadmill for walking and have utilized the elliptical for low-impact cardio. I'll be bringing back some HIIT and full-body strength-training soon, but all in moderation.
Only time will tell if things continue on the upswing. If so, I'll be most grateful and continue to not take anything for granted. If things plateau, I'll still be thankful for all the great 2019 memories. Either way, it will be a win-win. Onward!
How about you? Have you ever gone through a brief stage of post-race uneasiness? Were you relieved the big race was over, or did you struggle with resuming your "normal" routine? Did you immediately sign up for another race, or did you ride the recovery for awhile?
I'm linking this with Meranda and Lacey for the Friday with Fairytales and Fitness link-up.
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