It has been two days since I ran my second marathon. I have moved beyond the point of thinking that I will never do it again to maybe. I told everyone that I know (and even people that I don’t know) to talk me out of it if I ever decide to sign up for one again. Despite everything that I said, I still might. You see, in my mind I have conquered the 5k, 10k, and half marathon. Since I consistently land in the top 7% of my age group in these categories, the challenge is gone. I have not conquered the marathon yet and it calls to me.
I refuse to beat myself up over a bad time because I really had a good time. I think that I beat myself up enough just running it.
I am sorry if I scared anyone off from running a marathon from my post right after running a marathon. Emotions were running high. I want to share with you honestly everything that I am thinking and feeling here on my blog. It is important to me that I do that. And sometimes those thoughts and feeling aren’t always roses and trophies.
The recovery period after a marathon can be rather intense, especially if you are used to being active. You may have flu like symptoms like I did. Climbing up and down stairs is difficult the first couple of days. You worry over things like bloody toenails. You will get strong feelings from your body that you are sick or something is wrong. It was hard to get myself off of the couch to take a shower. I found that these feelings are a lot less frightening the second time around. Now I expected to feel twice my age.
It was very hot outside the weekend that I did the marathon. This happened after a cold spring after doing a lot of training runs on a treadmill. The weekend before the marathon, we had snow flurries. The week before the marathon, I had the stomach flu that lasted almost a week. Plus I injured my knee on my last long run. I wrapped my knee for this marathon and it really helped. So maybe it was a miracle that I was able to finish at all.
But lets get back to the heat for a moment. I always prided myself on not being a big sweater. I could always go out with the girls on a steamy hot night and not sweat much at all. My friends makeup would melt off of their faces. Sweat dripping off their hair. Mascara lines down their face. Foundation running down their necks. They have to bring purses with extra deodorant and perfume. Sometimes they even need to bring an extra pair of clothes while I remain dry. Not being able to sweat does me no good when I am running a marathon on a hot day. By the end of the race, the alert flag was at red signaling extreme running conditions. People were dropping out of the race like flies. I got through it without even breaking much of a sweat.
Today, I am happy. Halfway through the marathon, I found a running partner. We decided to finish the last half of the race together. Today he found me on Facebook. I found a running buddy during my first marathon too. I can’t even explain to you the bond that can develop with a stranger that is going through the same grueling experience. Emotionally, running a marathon is very intense.
My new friend’s name is Lewis. He was traveling with a running group. There was a women in his group that was celebrating checking her 50th state off of her 50 states of marathon running bucket list. Lewis’s friends were getting wasted. Almost every mile they stopped along the route asking people to bring them beer from their houses. Apparently a lot of people did. One of the guys was pretty drunk. Lewis apologized for his friends, but I found them to be rather entertaining. It took my mind off of my pain.
Along the route, there was an old couch someone threw out. It was a dirty disgusting ripped up 70’s vomit green fake leather kind of couch. The woman on her 50th state laid down on that couch for awhile with a drink in her hand. All the while, the group of drunk runners stayed pretty much at the same speed as Lewis and I. Sad, I had a couple of sips of beer that was given out at mile 9 but other than that I was completely sober. Lewis also said that they stopped for a cigarette break.
Marathons are strange if you think about it. There are thousands of strangers that pay a lot of money to torture themselves both physically and mentally. Each person bringing in their own strengths and weaknesses. But through this common struggle, sometimes a stranger becomes a friend. It is such an exhilarating event, such an achievement. It is the only struggle that I ever went through where I did not feel like I was alone. I don’t think I can adequately explain it.
You can’t get that kind of experience from a 10k.