Tuesday, December 12, 2006

And so it's done, and I'm a finisher

I didn't know I'd feel so many different feelings today. Things are running the gamut of emotions. I never want to run again, I want to run again tomorrow. I miss my running friends already, I'll see some of them soon. I want to eat a house, nothing sounds good. I want to take a nap, I can't sit still. I want to get busy at work, I can't concentrate. It's all very strange.

The pre-race feelings, I could describe. I could chalk them up to nerves, excitement and anticipation. This? Is just a little different.

The race, it was fantastic. I did not have an expectation of time, really, but I was happy with my result. It wasn't my "dream" time but it wasn't "worst case", either. I suppose I would have been even happier had I not ended up with a sprained foot, but such is the unpredictability of running and racing. The knee problem that won't go away came back to haunt me a little, too, but nothing horrible. As of today, the doctor told me to stay off it completely for two weeks. No running, cycling, elliptical or weights [on the legs] at all. Then, we'll see what it does. As of now, it's got some fluid/swelling going on but not significant enough to drain (I know, gross). So, I will wait. All I'm allowed to do is Yoga or Pilates and upper body weights. I can handle that, though in my head I just picture my cardiac fitness going straight out the window. Ugh, the thought of rebuilding makes me nauseous.

So, the race. Like I said, it was great. It was so much fun, everything from meeting up with my friends early on to the pasta dinner, the race itself and the celebrating afterward. No matter how many people continue to participate in marathons, I'm reminded that it is a BIG DEAL. There are only something like one in a thousand people that could actually complete the distance of a marathon and thankfully, I am one of them. I'd venture to say, though, that I wouldn't be without all the wonderful people I've encountered along the way (in racing, training, discussions and beyond).

This race, in particular, was powered by the strength I've found in the running community. For those that aren't in it, I'm not sure I know what to compare it to. It's a remarkable thing, really. With the exception of the occasional snooty runner, everyone is really just as welcoming as you'd expect a best friend to be. Michelle over at Back of the Pack recently posted about this phenomenon and I could not agree more. It is a very unique experience and privilege to be a part of this community.

In the group I met at my race, we had every speed and ability of runner possible and I am not lying when I say that each and every one of these people embraced one another. From those who finished in 3:18 (completely unfathomable to me) to those that brought up the tail at six hours or more, everyone congratulated and celebrated together. It is an awesome feeling to know that I get to be part of something so special.

So, today as I sit here with all these different emotions, I am certain of this: I may not be terribly fast, my body not be made for running but I have definitely chosen the right place to be. With all the other unanswered questions floating around me, I am glad I am certain of at least this. Running has brought me a sense of peace and community that I otherwise would have never known. That is worth more than feeling great for 26 miles or any medal I've ever received- though receiving the medal was quite a good feeling!

Thanks for all the support and advice over the weeks of training, too. It's great to be able to relate my triumphs and woes of running to both runners and non-runners on this blog and get the insight of others.

I'm sure my feelings and emotions will be all over the place in the next week or so, as I come down off this ride and work on finding another challenge. For now, I'm just going to get my knee back to working, rest the sprained foot and enjoy the marathon story-telling I'll get to do around the holidays. I'm also joining Nicole over at Powered by Vegetables in her 3 in 3 "challenge." There are three weeks until the end of the year and I'd like to lose 3 pounds. Not because I feel I'm three pounds overweight or that my Winter sweaters will look that much different minus the three, but more so because I like the idea of the distraction and the challenge. It's going to be a little tough seen as I can't get much cardio in but I think I can do it now that I'm not eating like I was during training. Join us, if you'd like, because really, there are no consequences or prizes-it's just three pounds.


Josh said...

Terrific post and congratulations on completing your first marathon. It is a huge accomplishment and something you can always be proud of.

Rest, recover and good luck with the 3-in-3.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations superstar.

JACC ~Beta blog won't let me sign in.

Ginger Breadman said...

Great post on what running does for your life. A marathon and a community from running are big deals, and it's awesome to read how you recognize them. I think your 'funk' that your in is so completely normal after a marathon - everyone has one, and everyone's is different. Enjoy the time off to let your body recover and enjoy the season. Glad you had a wonderful 'life experience'!

Backofpack said...

It's great isn't it? I didn't experience the post-marathon-blues, probably because each time I've run, I've had another looming. I really don't think you'll lose that much fitness in two weeks - and if you do, you'll recover it quickly. Enjoy your rest, eat healthy, and keep blogging!

justrun said...

Josh- Thanks, to all.

JACC- Thanks, dude. Beta is a wicked, wicked thing, isn't it?

Ginger- Thanks for your support. :)

BoP- I think it's antsyness more than anything, but I have trouble describing it. I think it has to do with the season, as well.

Sizzle said...

welcome home and congratulations- i'm so proud of you!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on the the great run. Glad it was such a positive experience.

Runner Girl FL said...

YEA!! You did it!! I'm very proud of you!!

e.b. said...

Congrats! Sounds like the post-partum type let down generally followed by such a big event. Seems like you have the right attitude about finding new challenges. Again, congratulations. This was a big accomplishment.

adam said...

Congratulations! Based upon the post and the comments I gather that this marathon was your first?? May there be many more to come. Take a well-deserved rest and I am sure that next spring you will be itching to try another race in a different place.

I have to agree that the running community is awesome and extremely supportive. I have met some of the most inspiring and genuine people at ultra trail runs. Maybe you should check out an ultra sometime ?!?

DaniGirl said...

OK, let's see if this one will go through. I tried posting yesterday and have been having troubles but I wanted to say a mighty congratulations to you on your accomplishment. It's a great feeling to set a goal and see it through to it's fruition and it's normal to have PMD (post marathon depression) after, best thing to do is set a new goal (which you already have) and start looking ahead to new running goals and accomplishments. It is great to be part of such a wonderful community too.

Anonymous said...

Awesome! Congrats on being a marathoner - the first is always the best.

And, I'm glad you are joining me in my 3/3.