Friday, November 2, 2012

"Post-marathon blues"

I ran my first marathon less than a week ago.  It is hard to believe that 11 months worth of training culminated on one race.  Through this experience I know that I need to have a much bigger goal than just finishing this race or that race.  It must be bigger... more long term... more life changing than that.  At this point the long-term goal is for me to be able to run until I'm 100 years old.  As a 32 year old that task seems quite daunting.  Even while having that goal it doesn't really seem attainable so I need something more tangible.  Another goal of mine is to run until a cure for blood cancer is found.  Yet another intangible goal... at least it's very hard for me to wrap my brain around this one.

So how am I going to push though this "post-marathon blues" and move on with my life.  First off, I want to make sure that I give back more to my family.  I want Cindy to know how much I appreciate all the sacrifices that she's willing done to make sure that I accomplished this goal.  There were what seems like many hours on Saturdays that she had Emma while I was running.  Here's an interesting fact about my life in the last 6 plus months... I have not missed a single weekend of running either with TNT or running a race.  I ran a 10K race one weekend and the Harrisburg Half marathon the other weekend.  Those were the only times I didn't run with TNT since I joined back in May.  We even scheduled our vacation to North Carolina around my TNT runs.  We left right away after an 8 mile run at Messiah the day we left for NC and made sure we got back before the following Saturday for a TNT run and a wedding that day as well.  So I share all of that detail with you to let the world know how much I appreciate Cindy and all of her hard work with Emma and her support of my running.  I believe I'm a better husband as a result of running regularly.  I feel better about myself and I'm also coping with my stress better as well.

So after I make sure that I'm back in balance with things in regards to my family I'm also going to try to get back in touch with my friends outside of running to see if we can hang out for coffee or get together and chat.  I'm also going to make it a priority to make the TNT events during the winter.  They are only once a month which means that there is no reason why I can't make all of them and still enjoy the rest of the Saturdays with friends and family.

One thing I'm NOT going to do is give up running.  I truly want to run several times a week the rest of my life.  I hope that my passion for running has rubbed off onto people rather than make them sick of me talking about running.  It will be worth it to me if I can just get another person to at least get off the couch and start walking and maybe even put some running parts in as well.  I'm trying to encourage people to have the mindset that if Nate can run a marathon, maybe I can run a little bit too.  Yes, it's a lot of sacrifice, but it is so worth it.

Other strategies that have been suggested to me is to register for a shorter race soon.  I'm going to do this by registering for a 5 mile race put on by a fellow TNT alum called Blood, Sweat & Tears 5-Miler next Saturday.  The cool thing is that this is not a timed event (I'll just use my Garmin) so I have no pressure to go fast.  The best part about this run is that all the proceeds go toward funding research for blood cancer.  Moreover, it will be nice to be with my TNT friends again.  Next I have the Turkey Trot that is in New Cumberland.  This is a race that Cindy and I have done the previous 3 years together.  We walk it and we have a great time.  So I know having specific races/runs on the schedule will be helpful to get me out of this "post-marathon blues."  Also I have 3 runs (one per month) with TNT alumni which will be a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to that.

The biggest thing I've learned about myself this week is that if I want to have razor focus that I can and that is what I had for my training for the Marine Corps Marathon.  I figured there is only ever one first marathon so I wanted to make sure I did everything right (I of course didn't, but I tried).  I might have been too focused at times, but it still was an amazing experience that I'll never forget.

For my next post: 

Things that I'm thinking about and will post about in a different post.  These were suggested by my TNT friends.  First, it was suggested that I think about what I would do differently if/when I were to do it again.

Practicing relaxation breathing and prayers

Also suggested writing in my journal about what I have gained from this experience.

Thinking about ways that I can give time back to Cindy and to care for her and her stress (providing times that she does not need to take care of Emma).

Prepare for Christmas.

Start some core training.

It truly is a life changer and I believe that I'm a better person as a result.