I Got Those "Post Goal Race What do I do With Myself Now" Blues
By: Brad Deel
For the last several months, my running focus has been on one thing – running sub 3:10 at the Wrightsville Beach Marathon on March 18. My time was 3:08:31. Mission accomplished. The 3:09:59 was critical for me as that beats my Boston qualifying time by more than 20 minutes so I am now eligible to register for the 2013 Boston Marathon on the first day of registration. I was ecstatic when I finished and that excitement lasted all day. Of course, reality was rude enough to intrude.
Despite training better for this marathon than for my first marathon in November, 2010, I was at least as sore afterward if not worse. I could barely walk on Monday. Tuesday wasn’t much better. By Thursday I was still sore but I tried to run. I made it less than 100 yards before a stabbing pain in my left calf became unbearable and I walked back to the car. Mission failed. I finally managed a very uncomfortable four mile slog on Tuesday, March 27. Wednesday and Thursday were slightly better so I am obviously recovering even though recovery is taking longer than I’d like. Unfortunately, I am now in “what next” mode.
I have a half marathon in which I plan on racing all out on May 5 but the reality is that marathon recovery and the short time between now and then preclude much focused training. I am planning to run 50 miles on my 50th birthday but that’s in October and I have never been able to focus my running that far into the future. I’ll be running Boston next year but that’s even farther away and I plan to run that race as something of a “victory lap.” I'm going to jog it, take lots of pictures, soak in the scene, run a personal worst, and finish with a big ol' grin on my face rather than my normal grimace.
To a large degree, I feel like a Couch to 5K graduate who wonders what to do after he actually manages to run 3.1 miles. For me, it becomes a question of my training. Should I focus on base building? Should I focus on developing the speed that I neglected during marathon training? Should I just run however the hell I feel like running for a while? None of these are intractable problems but they do make it easier to skip a run if life interferes a bit or to excuse a low mileage week.
I’ve been through this post goal race let down before and I imagine I’ll experience it again. The solution, of course, is to be disciplined and get out the door even when I’d rather not. So, that is precisely what I am getting ready to do. I’m not exactly sure how I will train over the next few months. Heck, I’m not exactly sure how far I’m going to run today but I will go run. I can at least do that.
See ya out there.