You know the Super Bowl commercial that asks football players, “you’ve just won the Super Bowl, what are you going to do now?!” (and they say “I’m going to Disney World!”)? Well, replace “won the Super Bowl” with “finished the NYC Marathon” and that’s been the question of my week. Although I could technically drive to Disney, that hasn’t been my response.
Truthfully I have no idea what I’m going to do next, but I’m learning that I don’t need to know. As someone who is the typical Type-A planning, goal-oriented person, I hate the unknown. I loved following a training plan because, even though it was just for running, it kept my whole life in a routine. I’ve talked about my struggle with too much routine, and I was expecting to be a wreck this week after “breaking” my routine, but I wasn’t. I was also prepared for the post-marathon blues like I had after my first marathon, but I haven’t had any bouts of sadness.
I actually consider this a huge success because I was admittedly very distraught after my marathon in January. For one, I was injured and couldn’t run for about a month which made me sad enough. But on top of that, I felt like I had nothing to look forward to. Dramatic, as usual, but I was really not ready for a severe emotional crash. It’s like when little kids
and sometimes me build up to Christmas morning and then have a breakdown when it’s over. Even though I wasn’t gunning for a certain time, I was expecting the magnitude of the event to cause some sadness. Yet I’ve felt just the opposite.
I think this calmness has to do with my extremely relaxed training plan (compared to 90% of other marathoners) and my mindset going into the race. Because this was my second full I knew that I could a) finish the race and b) that there would be others in my future. While I do have some fun, family half-marathons on the horizon (early 2015) they won’t require as extensive training as NYC and won’t take up my time or focus as much. Yes, I will do another marathon eventually. Maybe in 2015, maybe not. Until then, exercise-wise, I’m just going to do what I want. If that’s running, great! Yoga, great! Nothing, great! Let’s be real, I’m not going to stop running or give up setting goals. Instead, I’m going to take a “normal” approach to running and exercise and just do what feels good that day. You can’t be constantly “training” for something, which I feel like many bloggers/people do. This is life, not a countdown to the next race. Plus your body just needs a break!
I have so many things to look forward to that aren’t even “things.” Spending the holidays with my family, visiting friends from home, and just working on aspects of my personal and professional life. The marathon was an incredible personal victory and I hope to maintain that spirit and sense of fulfillment for as long as I can.
How do you respond to “what’s next?”
Have you cried after Christmas morning? Yes, many times.