Wednesday, September 27, 2006

And for my next trick...

This is one thing that I worried about. I worried about most things in the run up to Berlin, to be fair, but this was one of them. I've read lots of messages from people on running websites saying about how down they felt after completing a marathon. Because everything had been building up to the one event for so long, then it's gone, and where do you go from here? I didn't want that to happen to me.

I'm surprised at how "normal" I feel today now I'm back in work. There is an emotional comedown, and I'm feeling it. I didn't expect banners and balloons and flowers on my triumphant return from conquering Germany or anything like that, but now I'm back at my desk it's just the same old work for the same old clients who don't know, and probably don't care, about what I did over the weekend. Some of my colleagues too, those who knew asked the usual polite questions, but some people didn't know (and, to be honest, I know very little about what they get up to at the weekend, so I'm not criticising them for that). I've got my medal in my bag, but I'm not going to look like an idiot and wander round work wearing it (although I'll happily show it off if I'm asked).

Even inside, I maybe don't feel the same sense of elation that I expected. My mind seems to be downgrading the achievement. Even though it's something I dreamed of for years, and worked towards for months, my own mind is actually asking "so, what's the big deal?". It sounds stupid, but part of me is thinking "well, it can't be so hard if you can manage it". Rationally I know that's a load of rubbish, but still, I've realised that however big a milestone this is to me, I can't spend the rest of my life dwelling on the fact that I once ran a marathon. I need to carry on doing stuff, rather than focussing on something in the past that was challenging but hardly unique.

So, where do I go from here?

Firstly, I still have plenty of running things to look forward to. I've got the Amsterdam half in less than three weeks. I probably won't be ready for a PB attempt (although you never know, particularly as it should be a bit cooler than my last half in June - but even that was cooler than Berlin!), but it should be an enjoyable run and weekend away with friends. I know that I can run a half, and I will aim to just run it to enjoy myself. Maybe I'll push the pace up a notch after 8 or 9 miles if I feel up to it.

After that the Abbey Dash. Given my new years resolution to run all the races I did last year and to improve my time in them, this will be the only race I've actually managed to repeat. However, I don't call that a failure, given that my reason for missing the Cancer Research 10k at Harewood House, for example, was that I had a marathon the next week. I hadn't taken that into account when writing my original plan... I should beat last year's time of 59:19, I'm less sure that I'll beat my PB of 47 something, but we'll see how I feel. I quite fancy doing some speed work now - cutting the mileage to let my legs recover a bit, but doing some good quality speed sessions. But the main aim for this race is to reflect on how far I've come in the year since I did it for the first time.

And then after that the Brass Monkey. That's a very highly rated half marathon up in York in January which filled up within two days. Application forms were available on Saturday so the first ones would have arrived at the club on Monday, it was apparently full on Tuesday. I posted my form on Monday and had an anxious couple of days waiting to see whether my cheque would clear or whether I'd missed the boat. That's the one I'll target to improve my half marathon PB, and I'll be aiming to get under 1:50 I think. I've got plenty of time to get some good training in, and it will be cool (blessed relief after Sunday!).

So, I'm hardly lacking in running motivation. One fun race, one milestone race, and one "race" race to aim for. But that's all "medium term" stuff. I want another long term goal, and I think I could go one of two ways for the next one. Marathon or tri.

A couple of people asked me this morning whether I'd do another marathon, and my answer was an immediate, unequivocal, yes. I want to prove that I can run faster than I did on Sunday and, yes, I actually quite enjoyed it. I'm not sure whether I'd enjoy it quite so much in a smaller race, without the constant crowds and constant stream of other runners, but I'd definitely do another.

Which is why I posted my London application on the way into work this morning.

But realistically I won't get in, so I've been looking round for a backup plan, and I have two, which I need to decide between. It seems that all roads lead to Stratford, as my choice is essentially between the Stratford Marathon and the Stratford Tri. They're within two weeks of each other so there's no way I'm doing both. I really really want to go back to Stratford to do something impressively sporty. Not just because it's a nice part of the world to spend a weekend, but because I grew up down there and I want to go back and prove that I can become the athlete my teachers never thought I'd be. The only issue is deciding between them (and to be honest, I won't do either if I get into FLM, but I know how unlikely that is so I'm making other plans).

There's no post marathon lack of motivation here! But equally, I want to do more stuff that's not running related. Like swinging round dangling from ropes in trees and jumping out of planes. Cycling more (maybe even in and out of work), and generally doing fun fit things. Now that I don't have to plan my weekends round stupidly long runs I want to be a bit more creative with how I work out.

"You just have so much energy", my trainee said, in awe, when I mentioned some of my plans now I've done Berlin. It's fun, I am becoming the resident scary fit person. It's not the role I ever imagined for myself when I started here, but I kind of feel like I'm growing into it.


Blogger einalem said...

Gulp! I've just entered Abbey Dash. Last time I did it in 2004 I managed 89 minutes (appalling - I walked the last 2 miles veeery slowly) so no doubt you'll be whizzing past - maybe I'll spot you on your way in as I'm going out. I give you a wave!

6:23 PM  

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