Runner's World, as far as I can tell, has a special canned write-up that they can publish every six months or so, and it covers how a runner responds to being finished with their marathon goal after spending so much time working towards it, and how do they move on? From what they seem to gather, people hit a major funk when they finally cross that finish line for the first time, because that is written as the endgame in their mind. The obvious question for them becomes, "Now What?". What happens after the thing you've worked for months, a year, or even longer, is no longer dangling in front of you like a carrot on a string? Like I said, it sounds like most people don't know exactly what to do. Run another marathon? Well, that's probably a large mental hurdle to gear back up for, because running the first one was put on such a pedestal that you probably never considered that you'd do it again. Stop running all together? A little on the extreme side, but if you've gotten in a groove, physically, where you can find something else to take the place of running, you might not want to get back to the pavement. But what about relief? What about knowing that you can get back to the type of exercise and running that you prefer, rather than the kind you signed yourself up for?
I would fall into that last category. That marathon training was a bear. Lots of time, lots of running in the cold. Lots of icing my legs, ankles, knees, etc. That's hard. How people can do that every year is beyond me. Maybe running a race that doesn't fall in January would be easier, with more warm days and more long night hours to fit it all in. Not sure that I'll ever find out, but I'm guessing that I'll want to see if I can improve my time, using Nike shoes, eating more on the course, trying to figure out the right pace, and so forth. As it stands, I'm pretty comfortable with being able to do speed work once a week, put in an average run of 4-5 miles, and just run as a tool for keeping weight off. But the last thing I've been feeling has been some sort of emptiness. Relief is more like it. Now, I'm excited to get back to lifting weights more, and working to hit some more pace goals for the upcoming summer. Until next time...later.