Monday, October 5, 2015

Recovery: Life After A Marathon

I spent most of the week leading up to the marathon wishing for it to be over. I'm well aware that lots of people will have been rolling their eyes wondering why I can't just talk about something else aside running or food for a while, or putting me in the little category box that is 'dickish people who have one of those hobbies that just has to be so much tougher than anything else'. And it's sort of true- I have spent the last 17 weeks thinking about food and/or running for what feels like 80% of the time.

But now I'm recovering, here's a few things you should know...

It's not a hobby and I didn't do it for fun. 
When I signed up for the marathon I couldn't run one full kilometre, let alone a mile or more. This challenge was supposed to be exactly that, a challenge that I felt comfortable asking people to dig into their pockets and piggy banks to support. I have no intention of running more marathons.

It's a commitment
The reason people who train for and run these distances talk about it so much is because the requirements the training and preparation put on you and your lifestyle are vast, far reaching and personally, left little room for much else. I haven't been able to ride my bike as much, I haven't been able to eat some of the things I love, I have had to put food (as a fuel) right near the top of my priority list, and by the time I've eaten enough for a 3-4 hour run, done the run, showered and eaten enough to recover from the run, there isn't much weekend left. But see point one- there's a reason.

However much people told me so, I've never once felt I was doing something incredible
There have been times I enjoyed the training, times I enjoyed some of the races. I love that I'm now fit enough to run further than just the bus stop, but I've also cried, I've resented the training, the eating, the need to not have the glass of wine on a Saturday night, and I've been miserable whilst I try and manage my battered ankles and knees. I did something that thousands of people do every year, and the only reason it was such a deal for me is because I went from zero to marathon to keep the people I love alive. I don't feel a sense of achievement, I don't think I'm superhuman and I don't think that there are now no limits to my own achievements. I'm just glad I now have time to ride my bike, I can have cheese and several glasses of wine on Saturday nights and I can make weekend plans without worrying about where I'll find time to run for hours on end.


I had it easy
Having read people's stories and training woes and heard other people talk about what they do to train for a marathon and beyond, I realised that despite my problematic joints, I didn't have it that hard. I didn't have many runs where the added mileage felt like more than I could handle, and my aches and pains post-run have been limited (aside injury) to one day.

Carb loading and eating more calories for training doesn't mean you can eat whatever you want
Quite the opposite, I've wasted spent so much time trying to balance the nutritional value of what I've eaten in a day, that I could probably have worked a second job. I'm bored of sweet potatoes, bagels and brown rice, and not being able to eat as much fresh fruit/veg as you would normally or you would like to is not fun, I too would love a glass of wine and a plate of nachos, and I too would love to enjoy that piece of cake.


You must be losing weight with all this training you're doing...
No, actually I'm not especially. And FYI, that's quite offensive and relies on the assumption that so many great campaigns are trying to dispel- not all women exercise just to lose weight.

On Sunday 4th October I completed the Race For Life Marathon as part of a personal challenge to run 100km in 2015 raising money for Cancer Research UK. You can read more about the other races and my reasons for running by clicking HERE for my JustGiving Page.

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