Thoughts from an ambivalent half-marathon finisher

August 15, 2011

For running the Rock n’ Roll half-marathon, I received a swag bag with some samples of granola bars, a shirt, a medal, a really good brunch, and some welts on my chest, shoulders and arm from my running clothes and accoutrement. The welts look gross.

Every time I’ve run a race or hit a running goal, I’ve thought “I did it! What next?” Not this time, though. After I passed the finish line yesterday I thought “Thank god that’s over,” and before the finish line I thought “It’s almost over" and around mile 3 I thought "God I can't believe I have ten miles to go before this is over." I can’t think of anything else in my whole life thus far that I was glad to have behind me. I didn’t realize the extent of this until I was back home, getting ready to shower. I took my heartrate monitor band off, threw it on the floor and thought “F-- that.”

I’m not sure if that’s the right attitude.  Or is that normal? I feel like I’m supposed to be inspired and want to run a full marathon now, but to quote myself: F-- that. I’m proud that I did finished the race and ran the whole time, but I was tired of getting ready for this half marathon (and I’m sure people I know were sick of me talking about it.)  I was tired of getting up in the mornings and eating the same breakfast and going to the bathroom and putting on the watch and heartrate monitor and stretching and waiting for my GPS watch to get the satellite and then running and turning around and going home and having a latte (good for recovery) and stretching and icing and showering. And tired of freaking out because with just about every week I was going to go farther than I had the week before and in the heat, no less. I’m tired of bananas, too.

I learned a few lessons yesterday that I could use for a better future half-marathon, which is something I haven’t ruled out. Such as: better to get to the site super early, go to the bathroom and stand around stretching for a while meditating on the race than to get there in time to wait in the longest line in history, have a panic attack, hurriedly use the Port-o-John and frantically get in a moving corral for the start line. And: don’t do ANYTHING you’ve never done on a run before, or else your new headphones (even though you may have thought you tried them out just by walking around with them in, you really didn’t) might be falling out the entire time and you spend the whole race pushing them back in. I had a few good and fun and emotional moments during the race, but I just wish I had enjoyed the overall experience more as opposed to just wanting for it to be over.

A friend of mine said it was just not my year. I had fallen out of love with running thanks in part to an injury and from then on out it was just out of whack in general. I felt like I really enjoyed a lot less runs this year than I did last year and that was my biggest bummer. I want to sign up for a smaller race this fall, just so that I don’t have the excuse of giving it up entirely, but I’m really looking forward to not running for a while, and I don’t know if that means I’m really a runner or just an impostor.