October 30, 2012

Post-Marathon Blues: They Are a Real Thing

Ever since crossing the finish line of my first marathon, I've been a little… well, off. Stressed out, sleeping poorly, sluggish, eating my feelings, and, as usually follows suit, gaining weight.

It's really frustrating to feel like there's a little cloud over me, and that I've been stumbling around in a relatively lost daze since we finished that beautiful drive home, past the changing trees and under that atomic-blue New England sky.

Life is so good and full, and I have every reason to be proud, content, and quiet of mind. I just accomplished this wonderful and satisfying and difficult thing I set out to do: Why so blue, then, Meister?

Like with any great feat or milestone event, there's a lot of build-up to the actual starting gun. We spend months planning and practicing and fantasizing about how the big day or the big reveal is going to go. And then it comes, and it lasts almost no time at all (as all big joyful moments in life are wont), and then it's gone.

That's it. Wipe off your hands, put your everyday clothes back on, and get back to Real Life™.

There's this part of you that wants everything after that moment to be immediately, noticeably, and irreversibly different somehow. You want to feel superhuman—or at least like you can still keep eating as much of whatever you want—from the moment you run through the tape until the moment you toe up for the next long run. You want people to keep congratulating you and telling you how impressed they are with your time, your poise, your posture, your commitment. You want to suddenly be carefree and have your weekends back, no longer a prisoner to the three-hour training run.

Of course it doesn't work that way. I know that and you know that, and I've got to snap out of it.

Starting right now, here's how I plan to get back on the proverbial life horse:

  • Set a New Long-Term Goal Looking forward to something is the best part. At least that seems to have been the case with my marathon. So I'm planning the next one already: New Jersey 2013!
  • Set a New Short-Term Goal Two races to go on the year for me in order to qualify for guaranteed entry in the ING NYC Marathon next year. If I can just make it through those two…
  • Relax In the weeks post-race, I've been letting myself take it a little easier than I normally would, and I feel like now, after a month, it's finally starting to sink in, and I'm finally starting to feel excited about running again. I had burnt myself out a little from training and anticipation: Now I can work on getting back to running for fun and fitness, rather than nonstop training.
  • Rewards A little present? For me?? From me?!? How nice; I shouldn't have. But I did, and I'm going to keep doing it: A new pair of socks, or a new flavor of hydration tablet. A morning running slow and long while listening to my favorite album. A pause to take a sunrise photograph. These are all the little rewards I can give myself for continuing to push and to live a healthy life. These are the little things I can do for myself to stay motivated, and to make sure that above all else I am enjoying my time on the road. 

Do you get the post-race blues? How do you fight 'em off?


  1. I would assume it's like that kind of sad feeling I got as a kid after Christmas (I was REALLY into Christmas), when all of the excitement was over so quickly. But after awhile you learn to enjoy the break of not having something so time consuming and exciting going on constantly. Enjoy your break, but don't you dare stop blogging! :)

    (Hi I'm Jessica and I'm a big fan of your blog! Keep it up! :) )

  2. I am so familiar with this feeling. All major events in my life are followed with that "ok... so what now?!" feeling. I'll have to re-read this after Saturday's competition! :)


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