Thursday, October 19, 2023

That Post-Goal-Race Reality

Sometimes, reality bites. Other times, it feels just right.

Having just finished my seasonal goal race, the IMT Des Moines Half Marathon (recap HERE), I'm enjoying an engulfing tide of relief, along with a few remaining post-race endorphins. It's a rather euphoric ride, I must say.

But where do we go from here? 

First and foremost, I'm basking in all the perks of the post-finish line splendor. Yes, I'm celebrating (still, LOL) my coveted sub-2 pace (I can't enjoy an official sub-2 finish time, though, since I ran a little too far, ha!), but there are plenty of other joyous things that come with this current reality.

With the race over and done, I don't have to worry about the "unexpected" plaguing me on race day. Granted, there's always the possibility of injuries showing up, mishaps/accidents while training, or untimely sickness. Let's just say it's liberating to not have that start line looming up ahead, tempting fate.

There's no pressure to run excess miles, at least for the time being. Since this was a long-distance race, there were several long-distance runs logged prior to the taper. I'm not afraid of long runs, but they require significant planning in terms of route, fueling, and wardrobe. Let's not forget there's the added stress of "bearable" weather. Anyways, those long runs are outta the picture for the next few months, and I'm alright with that. 

Speaking of weather, it's a wonderful feeling (an emancipation of sorts) not having to stalk the weather forecast on the daily. No doubt, the weather can be a nasty wild card (heat, humidity, wind, heavy rain, etc.). Especially in the final weeks of training, with those remaining long runs to finish, things can get a little tense and stressful if Momma N isn't playing nice. Having all that weather-stalking nonsense behind me is wonderful.

Having the big race in the rearview mirror also allows for much more flexibility with cross-training. Although I cross-train year-round, I do scale-back some things to allow for more devoted time to running (and recovery between runs). Having the finish line behind me gives me the freedom to take on new challenges without the fear of it impacting a busy racing schedule.

And, in case you thought I was hanging up the running shoes, rest assured I still have some races on the roster. I have the Living History Farms Run (November 11th), a 5-mile cross-country endeavor (including some stream crossings) to look forward to. That's not all - just this week, I spontaneously registered for this weekend's Spooky Sprint (I'm doing the 10K). My fitness is in prime condition, and my legs have had a week of recovery, so why not sneak in another new-to-me adventure?

Although it's exciting to have a full schedule of races on the calendar, it's also nice to have a somewhat open slate. I'm ready for a little bit of low-intensity fitness as I ease into my off-season. Life is good! 

How do you feel, after finishing a goal race? Elated (to have it done), or empty (with nothing new on the horizon)? 

I'm linking this with MichelleReneeDarleneJenn and Zenaida for the Fit Five Friday Link-up.

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  1. I think both... happy that's its over but I always need a goal and make sure I have another race scheduled.

  2. Yes, I feel a combination of both. I definitely relate to your first point- leading up to a big race I have the constant, nagging fear that I'll get injured beforehand. It's a relief to get that worry out of my mind! I think what you're doing is perfect- relax a little, but also get some races on your calendar. The ones you chose sound really fun, and I especially can't wait to hear about the cross country one!

    1. I dread the "what-ifs" prior to race day, especially in the final six weeks or so.

  3. I'm definitely a bit of both - if the goal race went well then I'm riding a high and looking for my next adventure and if it didn't go well then I'm looking for redemption.

    1. We're in agreement ;-) I'm really thankful to "only" have shorter races on the roster for now. Much less stress!

  4. Getting ready for a goal race certainly sounds a bit stressful (although I imagine there’s also a lot of excitement and joy) and it sounds almost like how I feel in the weeks before an important holiday (like our trip to Italy) that I’ve been looking forward to - worrying about things that can come in the way! Your upcoming shorter races sound like a lot of fun, especially the spooky one.

  5. There's nothing better than basking in the glow of a good race. Enjoy every minute of it!

  6. I always like to have something on the calendar after I finish a goal. It's no fun to have nothing to look forward to! That being said, during the holidays, it's also nice to have some downtime to enjoy the celebrations without training for anything, too.

  7. I've been feeling elated since my goal race earlier this month and I've been enjoying the perks of not being in training.... the next race will be put on the calendar soon enough ;)