Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Well.....NOW what?

It’s been a little over two weeks since marathon day.

I’ve gone for a run only once since then, and have not worked out otherwise either. The one run I did do – last Friday – was not fun. At all. In fact it was quite painful. I’d mistakenly thought I’d have at least a vague sense of “freshness”, but in reality I still felt trashed. I did three miserable miles of running, and three-quarters of a mile walking and hated every single second. The foot wasn’t flaring up too badly, but it seemed every other area of my body had something to say, and none of it was very nice.

The logical part of me knows I seriously need to get on the ball – even if I’m not going to do a lot of running for now, I need to at least get on the stationary bike or the elliptical. Between the forced lull over the past six weeks of marathon training (because of the foot) and the pronounced lack of any physical activity since the race, my fitness is slipping – which I’m pretty certain is the biggest reason my run last week was so agonizingly crappy. I’m also fairly certain I’ve gained a few pounds, although I can’t confirm since the battery in my scale died (really, it did!) If nothing else, my pants are feeling a bit more snug than they were several weeks ago, so that is definitely the cue to get my act in gear once again, on every front.

Regardless of what I must do to get back on track, one thing is crystal clear: marathon day came, I finished, and now it’s over. Post-marathon let-down, anyone…? It’s not that I’m depressed, but now there’s a void where there used to be a goal. There are always other 26.2 mile races to think about, in fact, literally hundreds I could potentially enter – but “running a marathon” is no longer a goal in and of itself, since I have now officially done one.

The next logical step up, assuming I continue to set goals that are increasingly difficult, would be a cautious journey into the world of ultra-marathons or perhaps triathlons. There is little doubt in my mind that both would be worthy events to look into. Choosing between the two seems relatively easy, however, since I hate riding bikes and don’t particularly enjoy non-recreational swimming (splashing around with my kids at a water park or the local community pool is more or less the only thing that gets me into a bathing suit these days, other than the very occasional hot tub.)

The idea of doing an ultra-marathon is intriguing. I’m not too sure I would ever be compelled to do anything as extreme as the 100-mile distance, especially a race as arduous as Western States, but a 50K, or even a 50-miler seems like a good goal to reach for. Like the marathon, there is specific training that’s called for with such a distance, but I am not anywhere near in the kind of physical shape needed to begin such training. Given the recent decline in my overall fitness, the ongoing problem with my foot and perhaps even just the singular fact that my first marathon performance was far from stellar, it would truly be the ultimate culmination of stupidity to take on that kind of physical challenge at this point.

So I suspect my next goal is simple: take the next couple or three years to lose some weight, hone my skills, work on endurance and speed in all distances, and target a marathon to run every 5 months or so. I would love for my next one to be sub-6 hour. Quite doable, I think.

In the meantime, there’s a 10K this coming Saturday that is the last race of the ORRC 10K Series for this year, so I’m already signed up. I’m probably going to regret it, but I’m going. I’m also completely confident I won’t be seeing any PRs, but it’s a start and hopefully, it will give me enough of a mental something to get back out there and do what I know beyond a shadow of a doubt is what I absolutely love to do.

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