Tuesday, October 21, 2008

January in October

The marathon is over, my birthday is over, I need to go on a diet and I've spent my piggy bank - yup it feels like January in October...

I knew it would come but it never fails to sock me round the head - the post-marathon dip. I won't bore you with the detail of my self-pity - you may stop reading this blog altogether - but suffice it to say I've been moping. I turned 37 on Sunday and celebrated with a big party on Saturday night. For the past couple of years my marathons have always been on or just after my birthday so I've never really partied - this year, for the first time, I could let my hair down. Or out. I borrowed a karaoke machine, got a couple of boxes of wine and beer (Janey Wine-box - that's me!) and invited 20 great friens. Fun was had by all, I even coped with my actual birthday without feeling too horrible but Monday morning - oh what a surprise! - came the smackdown. I'm still in it I think. I feel tired, bored, unmotivated and generally whingey. If you met me for a coffee, I'd whine at you. And why am I whining?

I guess that after the race and the travel and a late party I am tired. But that's not the full reason I feel that somebody has just switched on the strip lighting and I am seeing myself and my life for what I truly am - I think the real reason is that I don't have a plan!

Marathon training structures my life. I always have what I've run and what I've got to run in the back of my mind. I use it to plan my life around it and though I don't always follow it to the letter, it is very rare that I don't know at least what I should be doing. There's a plan - and there's a goal. Without it I am clearly a slightly podgy, grumpy undisciplined person. Or so it feels now anyway.

Obvious answer - make a new plan. And I will. But I'm still in that bit of the whinge where I haven't pulled myself together, kicked myself up my behind and sorted myself out. I went out for my first run this morning - 3M in the dark with my little headlight on - and that felt a bit better. I started weightwatchers online yesterday morning and although I am still struggling to stay within my daily allocated 20 points I can see that I've fallen into some bad habits recently and I'm feeling quite positive about readjusting things.

Running-wise I'm a bit in 2 minds. I am feeling really good physically and there is a little part of my brain which is wondering whether maybe I can just squeeze in another marathon before Christmas? I've been googling "7 weeks between marathons" and while neither Uncle Hal nor the Pfitz think this is the most sensible option known to man, they don't think it is totally crazy either, provided you listen to your body. Race options are few - the only real contender is Luton which is basically a dump, but they are hosting a marathon and it might just shake the whingeing out of me.. Ideas? Views? Is it mad? ShirleyPerly - what's your take?

As I write an e-mail from a friend pops into my in-box saying that she thinks I must be on a low after the race and the party and to "take it very easy" for a while... Hmmm. I can see where she would vote on the above brainwave..

Longish-term I have been given my place in the London Marathon for 2009 and I intend to start training for that over Christmas - so even if I ran Luton I could then take 3 weeks off completely before starting again...

You can probably tell I'm not quite sure about anything right now. I'll wait and see - get my eating on track, do some running and see how I feel over the weekend. In the meantime, I've cheered up just by sharing my misery with you all. Forgive me! And thanks for listening.

Oh and before I forget - big shoutouts to amazing Maritza and incredible Greg for their feats over the weekend in their marathon and ultramarathon, respectively. Well done!

15 comments:

ShirleyPerly said...

It sounds to me that training and racing have a profound effect on structuring your life, as it does me, so perhaps a year long or multi-year long training plan would be better for you rather than just going from race to race. There you could build in several different training cycles to keep things interesting and avoid burning out or getting bummed out. I actually learned to do this in martial arts, which is also very much a lifestyle rather than just a sport, like running and tris are for many. Sub-goals can be achieved in less than a year but big goals will take longer and keep you moving forward and feeling like you have always have a plan, even when things may go out of control in other aspects of your life.

So, while it's certainly doable to run another marathon in 7 weeks, particularly since you ran Chicago at a pretty easy pace given the hot day, I'd suggest just doing some recovery and maintenance type of workouts and taking the time now to come up with a longer term plan so that you won't find yourself in this same situation 8, 10, 16, 20 weeks from now. Include within it all things you'd like to do too besides running, say, swimming, cycling, losing weight, traveling, etc. And also give some thought to back up plans, i.e., if an injury or something happens, what will you do then?

That's my 2 cents.

ShirleyPerly said...

PS - Happy Be-lated Birthday!!!

Susan said...

I think you could do another marathon... but I must agree with SP and say to enjoy the downtime. You have recently accomplished a lot! Perhaps you could train for a shorter distance? And swim?

Of course, at this moment I am envious of anyone who can marathon train... oh I am jealous!

*aron* said...

happy belated birthday and a belated CONGRATS on chicago also!!!

i feel you on the training plans... i love being on one so i can see how it would be tough after the marathon not to be on one. after my first one i signed up for #2 so i had something to start training for once i recovered... we will see what happens after #2 is over :)

good luck figuring it all out! sounds like training for london will start again soon anyways so maybe just take this time to rest, regroup and refocus on everything.

P.O.M. said...

Yep, I was trying to slip it by everyone without much of an explanation. hee hee. Maybe soon.

I am with you on needing a goal/plan. What about some half marathons in between. They are fun and still require a little planning. You can work on speed or other running goals, too.

akshaye said...

Petra.. wishing you a very happy brithday! Glad you could do something fun this year!

I'm almost the opposite of you.. I get all depressed if I have a plan. I prefer just setting a rough weekly mileage goal and having fun with my workouts if I am not training for anything specific. But I do agree that the structure itself is a huge plus. Get out of the funk and enjoy however you decide to train!

DatingSurvival said...

Philadelphia Marathon is full, but possibly you can find spots through a charity if you have the itch to run another before the holidays. It's flat and on Nov 23. Email or comment with questions, that's what our latest post is about.

lizzie lee said...

Dear, I love this week report. I understand you clearly because I also need a plan. I am so structured that I feel so lost without a plan. After my marathon in Seattle I went to Thailand for a month, and everything was daughter, hubby, beach and adventures. But when I arrived home I felt lost.

I saw last week a 8-week apart Marathon plan. I'll try to find it again I will send to you. I will support you in doing another one. Why not? Go for it!!!!

sincere-lee
lizzie lee

AND I AM GLAD YOU HAD A GREAT B'day PARTY!!!!

IrishBlue said...

Gosh, reading this felt like looking in the mirror. I feel the same way. I'm trying to figure it all out. What next? Bill was pushing me to run another marathon in January. I don't know. Part of me thinks I need to take off 10 pounds and be in much, much better shape first. Then, part of me says the best way to lose weight and stay in shape is to just keep running marathon after marathon and train year-round, no "off" season.

I don't know. I'm suddenly a whimpy dunderhead who can't make a simple decision. HELP!!

I think you have done enough running and marathons to pull off whatever you decide Petra.

WW online? You're a bitty thing. But I know, skinny and runner skinny are two different things. I keep thinking weight loss would really boost my preformance.

IrishBlue said...

Whoops - HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

CewTwo said...

Whinge is a brit term! I had to look it up on the wiki!
A lot of us know that feeling! I am out in running heaven again. I do agree that a training schedule gives you focus to more than just a future event!

jen said...

Happy belated Birthday Petra!! You are so beautiful and fit, you make 37 the age to be. :)

I can really relate to your post-marathon blues. Add a birthday on top of that and I can imagine it's a bit rough. I tend to feel really down and aimless after any big event- a marathon, a big vacation, a holiday. The best way is to enjoy a little break from all the excitement and then get right back into it.

I personally wouldn't do another marathon right away- after your knee injury problems I think you should be careful so you can do London for sure! But pick a shorter race maybe? Or plan a trip, plan for the holidays, something non-running-related. Keep positive though, you have a great life and a great year ahead of you. :) :)

Drusy said...

Hey Petra, don't be down! Here's my view - post race is the best time, planning ahead, researching training schedules and races without the hard reality a gruesome long run facing you today. Enjoy a break in the miles and re-focus on the diet. You'll get to the starting line in the FLM 2009 this year if you recharge batteries now. Happy belated BD!

Jade Lady said...

I agree with you - goals such a marathon really helps bring structure....the plan...all that's left is for one to execute the plan!

I think that for many people, it's quite normal to feel the way you feel after you've completed your marathon! Don't wait 2 months like I did, before I got myself together. I'm still struggling to get it together - 'cause I still got no plan

But, at least, I'm back in blogland...:-)

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