Now that the Boston Marathon is behind me, I have to admit, I feel a huge sense of relief.
Ready: breathe and exhale. It’s over. The week prior to Boston, in what should have been the easiest week, my taper week, I felt like marathon training just collapsed on top of me. So I’m looking forward to less mileage for a little while at least. Sitting here in my brightest of bright orange & blue, Boston Marathon jacket, I still can’t believe it’s over. What am I going to talk about now to my dentist, doctors, the UPS guy, my husband, my kids, my friends, that homeless guy I gave a sandwich to??? It’s going to be hard to top the ever lasting phrase: “I’m training for Boston.” I’m a little regretful that I didn’t marvel in the day a little bit more but you know, when you think you are going to throw up on yourself for 26.2 miles, it’s hard to be cheery. But I will say this, I have never felt so honored, so powerful, so blessed, to run down Boylston St. MAN! What a feeling. Looking back today, feeling better, it was just as monumental as everyone said it was going to be. I can’t BELIEVE I have, in my possession a 118th Boston Marathon medal. I am so grateful.
So what’s next?
I will say this: I need to find the pleasure in running again because currently I feel like I am melting under the pressure I place on myself. Every finish line lately comes with some sort of self imposed guilt trip and I need to learn to be happy in all capacities, even if my time was wretched, at least I was running, at least I am running. So ultimately, that’s the goal: find my happy place in running once again.
My next half marathon is on Memorial Day weekend and although my goal was to make this my big break out race, I think I am going to just go with the flow and see what happens. My long term goal is to get faster but I don’t think that is going to come 4 weeks after running the Boston Marathon, even if I did slow to a halt the last 6.2 miles. Last year I ran Boston’s Run to Remember and just enjoyed myself. I just marveled in the process. The police officers, the spectators, the beautiful city before me, I want to do that again. I want to just cherish the moment. It can’t always be about beating yourself up, sometimes it just has to be about the process. I’ve lost some of the joy in the journey, trying to just sprint right to the destination. I will run long once a week for the next four weeks but I won’t hold myself to any time. I won’t restrict myself by setting goals. I’m just going to relax. Maybe throw in some spinning. Get back to yoga. Let my body take a moment to recover. I don’t have much on the books for summer, which I think is good. But I do have a very packed fall. Summer will be all about getting my nutrition in check, spending time with friends and family, core work and strength training with running being a smidge secondary.
The marathon training changed me, yes, it did. I’m not sure in all capacities for the good. Running became something I obsessed constantly over. It might have thrown a small wrench into my marriage, might have caused a few meltdowns by my kids. The next few weeks will be a search for balance and peace. It’s hard to request the support of your family when you may or may not be supporting them in the fashion they so desire. My training for the Boston Marathon became, in my household, all encompassing, it went way beyond the running even. Dinners weren’t the same. I was tired all the time. I wasn’t the best wife I could be. I didn’t hold up my end of the bargain. And maybe some women can indeed do it all, but the biggest take-a-way from this training is that I CAN’T do it all and that’s fine. It’s ok to admit that out loud, in fact, I am relieved to say it. I dropped a few of my balls. Now it’s time to pick them back up and do better. Next training cycle will be a practice in humility, making sure not only do I have what I need but those around me as well. That’s how you stay, a happy runner.