The Post-Race Brain Dump

Blog, Sue Cloutier

I’m sure I could have come up with a nicer title for this post, but it seemed accurate.

Just a few weeks ago I was really looking forward to my post-marathon break from running. I decided it would be best to take at least two full weeks off from running, but preferably more, during which I could cross train to retain some fitness. I had been starting to get burned out on running so much during peak marathon training, and thought it would be a welcome reprieve to take some time off.

It’s been three days since the race, and I’m starting to get antsy about running again. What can I say? I feel great! I have had almost no muscle soreness since the marathon, which I didn’t think was possible. I even spent 24 hours sitting on busses to get home from Ohio, and yet I seem reasonably fine. There was a tiny bit of soreness in my hip flexors, but that’s about it. So, why do I need to rest again?

Looking back on my race I gotta say that I’m insanely proud of how well I trained and how well I ran. I didn’t train as much as I wanted in the first half of the training period since I kept getting sick, but I did manage to run consistently and get all of my workouts in. Once I was healthy enough to ramp up the mileage, I felt stronger than ever. I did get sick of running so much towards the end, but I still got out there and did it, and it clearly paid off.

I didn’t expect to run a 4:26. I didn’t expect to even break 4:30 in Cincinnati, although I was hopeful. I thought the best that I could probably do was between 4:30 and 4:37 to earn a personal record, but even that I thought could be a stretch because of the hills that I was not prepared for. Fortunately, I had done some hilly long runs in the past few weeks, and I had those amazing pacers that kept me from running them too hard.

Doubts are a weird thing. Everyone has them, and it’s perfectly normal. Of course I had doubts during the race. I think that the thing that I was able to do successfully in this race is that when those doubts arose, I just refused to listen to them. It wasn’t that I was using any kind of positive affirmation, I just didn’t let myself think about it. “Don’t think, just run” was my mantra. And it worked.

So now that I accomplished my 4:30 time goal, I’m reevaluating my fall marathon goal time, which was originally going to be 4:20. I am sure I can cut it down to 4:15, which would be a 9:45 pace, one that I think is definitely doable for me. The main goal is to eventually qualify for Boston in the next few years, so I want to keep chipping away at each major goal time (4:30, 4:15, 4:00, 3:45, 3:30). I know I probably won’t hit each one with each successive marathon, but I have to try.

Even knowing that I have this big goal of BQing, and my fall goal of a 4:15 marathon, I still entertain thoughts of all the things I’m really excited to do right now that don’t involve resting. Like running a half marathon this weekend. How close can I get to sub-2 hours? Or running an ultramarathon in three weeks? Let’s capitalize on the marathon fitness and run an easy 50K! Or running a 10×10 – 10 days of back-to-back 10 mile runs. Wouldn’t that give me a huge aerobic boost going into fall marathon training?

My pre-marathon running burnout has turned into post-marathon fitness excitement to run all the races, run all the miles, achieve all the goals! I’m on a high. Damn this running addiction.

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