Reflections after running my recent marathon:
- it is ALL worth it. The early morning, the tiredness, the stress of working your life round your schedule, the fear of failure .. it is all worth it when you're out there and your body is doing what it's trained to do and it's doing it well and it's surprising and amazing you with what it can do.
- there is no such thing as "just" a marathon. Just because this one was closer than Chicago and New York, and because I wasn't attaching a holiday to it didn't make it "just a marathon". It was hard and exciting and fun and painful and unmissable. Every single mile of it.
- there is a certain feeling I have when running a marathon that I never felt any other time - all my doubts and worries are pushed back in a way I find difficult at other times and I feel confident and strong and able, regardless of whether I'm actually doing well or not. If I'm struggling then I am fine with that and I don't judge myself harshly. If I'm doing well I'm fine with myself too. I am just, for a while, totally fine with myself. An incredible feeling. Perhaps worth finding outside of a marathon?
- you HAVE to put your name on your shirt. It really really helps.
- family is amazing.
- bin bags are amazing. Check this out LizzieLee!
- running mates are amazing. Look at Sal! Not at all self-conscious at being bin-bagged with me..
Now for the resolutions - with this marathon behind me it is very tempting to think about my next year of racing. An autumn marathon has now become a tradition and so has the traditional time off from running just after it. It's not that I'm not running, but I'm not training. I'm just running for the pleasure and the fun of it. In my experience, it is really important to have some time off a schedule so you can give some thought to what's next. My impulsive and overly ambitious nature means my natural instinct is to jump straight into a new plan but I'm holding off, just reviewing my options while I'm out there on these lovely autumn runs. So what are my running resolutions for the rest of 2007 / 2008?
- to follow a more rounded plan. The Hal Higdon intermediate plans have served me well but offer no speedwork or interval work. I think I've now probably done as well as I ever will on them and so I need to ramp it up a bit and shake it up a bit if I want to improve any further. The bad thing about blogging is that your previous unmet resolutions are out there - I wrote about following a Pfitzinger Advanced Marathoning plan earlier this year but then chickened out. I think I will go either for a Pfitz plan (it's working for Jen, after all) or follow a Hansen's plan like Steve Runner is doing.
- to run either a full or 2 halves in the spring. I've entered the lottery for London fully expecting not to get in (only 1 in 5 get in) but I'm doing it because after 5 unsuccesful entries you get in so one day my day will come.. If I don't get in I might find another UK full to train for or alternatively try to work hard on my half-times for a bit - might be a good strategy for trying out full marathon plans?
- to use my gym membership. I.e - some upper level work with weights etc. as well as swimming.
- to run an autumn marathon OR the relay if we can get a team together - I will be hassling you all after Christmas to see who's prepared to take part. If we can't get a team together I might run Chicago again or do Berlin..
Finally - the muffin top. You know you've overdone the post-marathon reward eating when you get jeans-induced indigestion and you've got a muffin top..
I'll spare y'all the image of my ... self spilling out of the top of my jeans but you can imagine. So I'm with the lovely and amazing Maddy and joining P.O.M's Holiday Weightsloss Challenge.
So off I go - on a beautiful Autumn run.