I’m nervous about writing this post. I thought about not typing this up or waiting until I felt differently. I even started a different post to reflect on Sydney Marathon and the weekend that just past, but this is how I have been thinking and feeling for the last couple of days.
I feel fat, unfit, injured and well…down. I can barely listen to any semi-emotional music in the car, have any sentimental conversations without wanting to cry or shout at someone. I just beeped the car horn at the builders in our street because they are taking up the whole street and all the parking spaces. That’s Kath’s territory, not mine. I’m telling you that someone is going to cop a random outpouring of emotion soon. Who will be the lucky winner?? This is the part of the 17 marathons challenge that really sucks. The downer. The post marathon blues. The supposed calm after the storm of the marathon a few days ago.
I knew this was going to be an issue for me this year and that I would have to work to 'protect my down side.’ This is something businesses do. It’s a bit like risk analysis and predicting the worst case scenarios, then trying to prepare and protect for that. Writing this post is part of protecting my own down side. Its an outlet for me and the idea is that I feel better after doing it, get it off my chest and can then move on and function again. Normally I take the time to sit with the laptop but all I have now is a couple of pieces of paper and a pen and I just need to get this out of me. I don’t really care how it comes out at the moment, as long as nobody in the cafe where I am sat reads it.
Sydney Marathon actually went well on the surface of things but dig a little deeper and there are a few issues that I need to deal with one of which is actually getting fit. The perception is that if you can run a 3:12 marathon three weeks after running a 3:14 marathon and that was only one week after a 3:22 marathon, that all is going well, and your fitness is fine, but this one I had to work hard for. This was the first one where I genuinely felt unfit and that the lack of ‘training’ in between marathons was catching up with me. At 25km I just wanted to go to sleep. That’s not me, that’s not normal. I have been managing a few lower leg injuries over the past couple of months which have really limited the amount of running that I can do. I still do pilates, a bit of gym work and the occasional swim but I’m finding it tricky to balance the differing needs of improving recovery / increasing fitness and working on my business (which involves more running) all at the same time whilst running a marathon every few weeks.
Generally speaking, I am usually just about ready to run again by the time each marathon comes round and this one was no different. I started this run tentatively and after 15km knew that I was going to have to be careful with my right achilles. Gradually everything tightened up in my right leg and I slowed down as I went round the hundreds of cones, barriers, switch backs, ran up steps, ramps, boardwalks, pavements, dodged tourists, screws and street furniture. My aim for this run was to simply stay ahead of the 3:15 pacers and for two thirds of the run, I had the feeling of being chased, but ended up pushing home in the final km to clock 3:12:15, which I am actually really pleased with. I can’t say that I overly enjoyed the twisty, turny nature of the course but finishing in Circular Quay at the Opera House was really really awesome and definitely iconic. The crowds at that point were great and I felt tired but pleased with a job well done. Now to deal with the mental and physical aftermath...
Ali, my physio said to me yesterday “do you think that you have actually realised the magnitude of what you are trying to do?” I kind of lay there in silence whilst she jabbed needles in my legs and answered “probably not.” You see, I live in Melbourne, the sporting capital of the world and in this amazing environment we are exposed to (and compare ourselves to) awesome athletes, amazing facilities, great races and more. The standard in my opinion is incredibly high. I have certainly never lived anywhere like it. In fact, as I sat having a beer with three friends last night, it occurred to me that between us we had done a significant number of the half marathons, marathons and ultra marathons in Australia. I have friends who are professional triathletes, exceptional sports coaches, and mates who are just downright amazing. When did all of this happen!? Couple that with the constant exposure to all the awesome, positive posts on social media with people achieving their lifelong dreams, personal bests and just being awesome, all this achievement can be pretty full on if you aren’t in the right head space to deal with it all.
Trust me, I really am happy for everyone who works hard and achieves what they are after. I find that inspirational, admire it and I get my kicks out of being witness to that journey, but sometimes I don’t want uber positive or happy-clappy. I’m from the North of England and ginger for Christ' sake, we are the best at being dour, sarcastic and occasionally grumpy, so give me some of that this morning. Let me be negative, whinge and get it off my chest. I will break out of it. I usually do by Thursday or Friday after each marathon. This is the 13th time I’ve done this in 2017, so I should know by now shouldn’t I?
So... I need to snap out of these blues. What am i going to do?
EAT, MOVE AND DO.
First stop: EAT. To the shops, to get some decent food in the house. I am an emotional eater and need to eat well to feel good. The salted caramel Lindt balls I am currently tucking in to are not going to cut it for much longer. The bag is nearly gone. Bugger.
Second stop: MOVE. I need to move but I can’t even walk the dog properly because this achilles is so swollen and tight. I think the plan has to be to get to the pool and the gym over the next couple of weeks and do what I can.
Third stop: DO. Just being productive is difficult in this type of head space, but working on my business and creating new opportunities, helping my runners and being useful helps me to feel better.
I don’t want to finish this post on a downer. In the time since I drafted this on paper earlier today, loads of good things have happened and I now feel completely different, but I know these emotions will come back after the next marathon, and the next one, and the next one and the next one, so its worth writing about and sharing I hope.
I feel better for writing this and as a bonus I can hear that the Council have just asked the builders to move their enormous truck from the middle of the street outside and that has pleased me no end. I also know that tomorrow is Thursday and in my experience, I go through this dip each time and that I come out of it by Thursday feeling way better. It’s just this time I have put it into a blog and shared it with you.
Sorry for being a bit random in this write up and thank you for listening to my s**t. I’m going to have one more Lindt ball then head to pilates.