What do you do once you've accomplished a big goal? Do you take time to celebrate it? Do you immediately move to the next goal or even set your next goal BEFORE you've finished your first one?
I think I have something called the post-race blues. It's funny because I thought I'd invented that phrase but it turns out to be a real thing!
Side note: I thought the sign in the background of this sweet picture of The Dude hugging me after the finish said "Go Fatty!" I thought gee that's a funny way of encouraging a runner hahahaha! Matty, whoever you are, I hope you had a great race!
Back to the topic of the day: Post-race blues. It's the same feeling you get after you finish a big project or accomplish something you've worked toward for a lengthy amount of time. I feel a little aimless right now, especially because I'm not exercising this week while my muscles recover. I wrapped up our annual plan at work at the exact same time that the race happened, so it's like I went from 85 miles an hour to a casual walk.
For six months, I've made training such a big part of life (including here on the blog!) that taking a step back to just 'be' feels sort of weird. I feel like I need to wrap it up somehow in my head so I can move on to the next thing! At work we do a "retro" meeting after a big body of work so we can learn from it and document what went well, what didn't, and what was just okay. It's helpful to think through it and crystallize what you learned (or didn't) from the whole thing.
"Every athlete is at risk for the post-race blues, and these multiple layers of loss can impact every athlete. College athletes can deal with these feelings when their season comes to a close. First time marathoners and veteran cyclists alike can experience sadness upon completion of their events. And while the post-race blues are certainly not to the level of someone who is clinically depressed, all the same, they can feel brutal after experiencing such euphoria post-race." -- Daily Burn
You often hear that running a marathon is as much a mental game as a physical one, but the recovery is also just as much mental as it is physical. We need to take care of our bodies as well as our brains, and accept that it's okay to shift our mental emphasis from running to other things in life. Now is the time for me to think about where I've neglected to take care of myself in the training process. Do I need to re-set my diet? Is something in my career needing more attention? Give yourself permission to let running inspire you on its own.
After the race, I fell victim to two things I really, really, really try not to do which are 1.) comparing myself to other people, and 2.) downplaying my own accomplishments. It's that whole Imposter Syndrome thing creeping it's way into my brain again.
An old colleague of mine posted a photo on social media of him at the finish line of CIM with a note about how it was his first time running a marathon and he finished in 3:30ish. I should have felt happiness for him for accomplishing such an impressive time on his first attempt, but what I ended up doing was scolding myself for not running the race faster like him, or for not putting in even more training. I was embarrassed over my pace even though I was never training for a specific time and I was downplaying the very accomplishment I set out to achieve and DID achieve! Jeez, Noob. Stop it already. :)
My instinct is to immediately sign up for another marathon and redeem my time, but I've decided to put a pin in that for now. I want to set my next goal in a thoughtful way not a reactive way. So I'm officially giving myself this week and next week to think about and set my next running goal. I want to revisit and remember the parts of the sport that I love the best. What makes running better than any other sport (to me)? Then I'll work backwards to set a goal that's in line with those positive associations.
For now, I'm just going to enjoy having even more snuggle time with the little monsters, and the freedom to run wherever I want whenever I want or take a class or hike or just lay on the beach one weekend morning instead of running at all! But I already miss it a lot and I can't wait to have a new purpose ahead.
Tomorrow I will present to you the new and improved hair cut that I know you've all eagerly been awaiting! I love the conversation my husband and I routinely have on this topic:
Me: Oh by the way I'm getting my hair cut this weekend.
Him: Just a cut?
Me: Highlights too.
Him: Well well well. Must be nice.
I love it. I do the same thing when he goes out to a fancy ass dinner with his friends. It's like we pretend we don't share a bank account hahaha!! Remind me to tell you about the time I volunteered to be a "glamorous" hair model when I first moved to San Francisco and was so broke I would do anything for a free cut. Let's just say it did not end well for my hair. The senior stylist looked at what MY stylist had done and said, "you can at least put some product in it so she doesn't have to leave with it looking like that." It was such a terrible horrible no good very bad cut.
Do you have fun weekend plans?
Have you ever felt the post-race blues? Tell me how you got through it. Any tips?
(Almost) daily blogger. Sober runner. Mental sh*t stirrer. Pro gender equality in tech. Family first.