Post Marathon Musings

Of course I’ve been reflecting on my first marathon and what I’ve learned. It’s true what they say in that it is a life changing experience. I’m sure as time passes more things will come to mind, but here are few post marathon musings:

1. Training for a marathon is not only getting you ready to run the distance but to train your mind to know you can run the distance.

I feel like I let my mind take over the last 6 miles when the marathon really starts. I felt like I couldn’t give any more and I don’t know, maybe I could have. It’s easy to say that now that it’s over because at the time, you really feel like you can’t. I think this where my mental toughness weakened. Every one hurts. Every one is struggling. The last part of the race is the really challenge–more mental than physical–and I think this is where I need to tell the negative thoughts in my head to take a walk somewhere else.

2. There will be good runs/races and there will be bad runs. Don’t compare them.

When I ran my 20 mile training run I felt great. I even said that I wished the marathon would’ve been that day because of how good I felt. But, it wasn’t and I need to forget about that training run. Sometimes, when I start to get upset about how I didn’t make my 4:30, I think about that 20 miler and how smooth it was. But then I snap to reality. Twenty miles is not 26.2 and like I said before, those last 6.2 is the real race.

3. A goal is good but not the end all, be all of life.

If you haven’t noticed, I’m super competitive. Not so much with other people, but more so with myself. For some reason, I don’t get upset or jealous when other people get better times than me. I actually get super stoked for them. Heck, my best running buddy is Salt and she’s super hardcore. I do however, get upset when I feel I could have done better. My husband has been getting on my case about how when people ask how I did on my marathon, I preface my response with, “Well, I didn’t meet my goal but…” Why do I do that? People don’t need to know my goal or that I didn’t make it. It doesn’t lessen the awesomeness that was my time. This is something I want to work on. Focus more on the positive and not get so down on myself when I don’t reach a goal–and in this case, it’s even more silly because I did reach my goal. I finished a freaking marathon!!

4. People who have run a marathon know what they’re talking about.

I love hearing about people’s marathon experiences. I learn so much getting different perspectives. I filter the information I want to keep of course πŸ™‚ But one of the most common pieces of advice I got was to not start out fast. Time and time again, this always came up.

I felt like at the time I wasn’t starting out too fast but in retrospect, I definitely think I did.

I originally had a plan of starting with a 10:10 pace and taking that for the majority of the race. But at the start, I hooked up with the 4:25 pacer and the first 4 miles were more of the 9:45-50 pace. I was reminded about the inexperienced idea of wanting to “bank time” by my pal piratebobcat–it doesn’t work and don’t do it. I think this is something I’ll for sure take with me to my next marathon and what I would share to new marathoners.

5. Running is addicting.

It was not even an hour post marathon that I was already thinking about the next one.

I’m not kidding when I said I was in super pain when I finished. I couldn’t even walk at the end. But there I was, thinking of when the most realistic time to run another marathon would be. Runners are a unique bunch. That’s all I really got to say about that.

6. Rest. Rest. and Rest.

I think I was still on the adrenaline of having finished a marathon that two days later I ran. And then I ran again. And then I ran again.

I felt okay and made sure I wasn’t go out too fast but I seemed to have forgotten that I had just ran a marathon!

I went to bed last night after a 5 mile run and told my husband, “I’m tired. Like really tired.” Saying those words out loud seemed to light up something in my head. Helly, you need to rest!! So, my running this week will be postponed. I’m resting these legs. I know they’re tired and I can feel them telling me they want a Spring Break.

7. Being a marathoner is pretty awesome.

Yes, I’m one of those who bragged and showed off my medal any chance I could the week following the race. I wore my medal to sleep that first night and wore to the Wal-mart the next day. I wore it to the park. I wore it running errands. It didn’t come off at all that Sunday post-race πŸ™‚

I love the look on people’s faces when you tell them you’ve run a marathon. I love that they think I’m crazy. I love that I’m in this unique club of people who enjoy doing things that are crazy.

You bet I will! :)

You bet I will! πŸ™‚

Or I’ll probably just drop it in a conversation nonchalantly like it’s no big deal πŸ˜‰

–What advice would you give a first-time marathoner?

–If you haven’t ran a marathon, would you? Why or why not?

–What are some things you’ve learned from a race (of any distance)?

9 responses

  1. Running IS addictive!!! I feel like I am constantly looking and planning for my next run and next race!
    I’ve never ran a FULL marathon so I don’t have any advice but it is on my to-do-list…maybe next year!?!?!?
    Learnings: having FUN and enjoy it…you’ve worked hard for that day!

  2. Aw thanks for the shout out, friend. πŸ™‚
    This is just the sort of thing I need to read. (Even though some days I’m questioning whether or not I’ll be able to run my marathon in May…short distances aren’t so bad but I don’t know how I’m going to build up my long runs. I’m still so sore sometimes.) Running is so addictive and it is so hard to sit down. I’m glad you are listening to your legs and taking a little rest. You’ve been going nonstop!

  3. That’s awesome! I’m sorry you learned the “bank” lesson the hard way, but I think everyone does! You’ll only be smarter/stronger in the future! BTW, I couldn’t walk after my first marathon either. Literally, I could not move. But over the years I’ve learned and learned and after the Dopey Challenge I’m glad to say that even though I was sore and stiff, I could still walk around EPCOT!

  4. Agreed on all of these! When you let your mind run your race, it can be dangerous, because you’ll never know what you’re capable of, you’ll hold yourself back. My best races were when I wasn’t thinking about my plan when the going got tough. I just kept my legs moving πŸ™‚
    I also think with marathons, the second one might be mentally easier because you’ve already done 26.2 once so you KNOW you can do it. On your first marathon, typically the longest training run is 20-22 miles so the doubt of making it the full 26.2 is still there.

  5. I love this! This makes me want to go run a marathon right now! I love #3, that was something I’ve always struggled with but somehow I did okay with that after Disney Princess. People would ask me “How did you do?” and I wouldn’t even mention my time – I would just say “I did great! I felt so good after it was done and recovered quickly”. With every other race I’m usually like “Well…” but I’ve learned that people don’t really care how fast you ran it, they’re just amazed you ran that far! And I’m so proud of you and amazed that you were able to run that far and not die! That means you trained well and you’re awesome! Yay!

  6. I think it’s weird how so many people have no idea of how long a marathon is. For instance, I went for a massage right after mine, and the masseuse asked me how far a marathon was. And she has done some running herself.

    Remembering that banking time isn’t a real thing is important. Trying to usually makes the opposite of the desired result happen.