One #FindYourStrong Marathon, Two Voices: The Aftermath



Heather and Marianne, two long-distance BRFs prepared for the Wineglass Marathon on October 4 using the AMR #FindYourStrong Marathon Challenge and shared their experiences--and miles--weekly. Today they are giving their just about one month since the marathon update. Find all their posts here.



I’ve been on the outside for a month now. It’s been tough at times – I really enjoyed having a training plan boss me around. Sometimes, having the added push of even just a sheet of paper yelling at you to get out the door is helpful. I’ve been missing that, big time.

Less time running means more time Halloween funning! (It's the best holiday, after all.)
Less time running means more time Halloween funning! (It's the best holiday, after all.)


The surprisingly good news is that I’ve kept running. After my first and only half marathon in 2012 I pretty much stopped. Like, for six months or something equally ridiculous. With that as my track record, I was a little concerned about how things would go post-marathon. I have a tendency to get REALLYREALLY into something (yoga, knitting, food preservation) for a year or so and then never touch it again. It’s an aspect of my personality that I hate, and I was worried the same thing would happen with running. It hasn’t.

I’ve started looking ahead, too. SBS’s Boston comment has been ringing around in my brain since the marathon. After my difficult, over-4:00 finish, I thought that my BQ dreams might be over; SBS’s faith in me made me think differently, and I started wondering if I should hire a coach next year. After all, I’m only getting older, which equals slower…right?

I'm already missing the shorts and tiny doors of summer.
I'm already missing the shorts and tiny doors of summer.


As with so many things, it was during a run that I sorted through all this. While discussing the issue with two friends, I realized that I didn’t really want to try to BQ next year. Could I do it? Maybe. But it would sure as hell take a lot of work, both mental and physical. And honestly? Right now I just want to run. The problem was that I was terrified that if I didn’t go for it now, any speed I had would leak out as I inched toward the big 4-0.

Objectively, I know this is ludicrous. All of you reading this are mentally cycling through the many women you know who have only gotten faster with age. But this is one of those things that falls into the irrational “that’s them, not me” category. Despite my fear, I’m reasonable enough to know that attempting a BQ is going to take everything I’ve got and if my heart isn’t in it, it ain’t gonna happen.

So I’m following my gut on this one and looking to 2016 with a goal that does make me feel a little giddy: a 50k. Now, if you had casually suggested, around mile 23 of Wineglass, that I tack on an extra six miles, I would have kicked you in the knees (just kidding – I wouldn’t have had the energy). But now that marathon amnesia has set in, it feels like just the right challenge for a new year. Plus – if I’m being honest – I want the car magnet.

There’s still plenty of time to change my mind, of course, but as the darkness of winter settles in, dreams of long summer runs in sweet-smelling woods might just be what get me through. (And, of course, there’s that excellent challenge starting up soon to help too.)


Post 6.8 mile MRTT run
With fellow AMR fan Jean (Right) and soon to be fan Kathleen (Left) after Sunday's MRTT meetup


On paper, I look to be recovering just fine. After taking a week off post marathon, I have done 12 runs over 22 days. A few of these have been pretty short but Sunday’s was quite close to 7 miles. I’ve gotten back for a handful of HIIT classes and yoga as I had hoped and even got in a swim one day. Most of my runs have felt slow and tough but I think a large part of that is the extra dark that’s been happening this time of year at 6am.


MRTT Run Spot


What’s less fine is the other stuff. The last month has passed in a whirlwind. I returned the Monday after the race for a long work dinner, then my father arrived that Wednesday other guests were in town the following Wednesday and my in laws arrived for a week starting on the 30th. (Caveat - they are fantastic. And Joyce adores them. But extra people is still extra people.)

Plus, work has been bananas the last few weeks. I have several promising first year grad students in the lab that keep getting the short end of my time because I am on far too many committees, all of which seem to have picked this semester to be too active. I wake up at 1am thinking about work and sometimes give up on sleep in favor of a few more hours of prep time. I have book club books left unopened. Friends have had babies and had their parents pass, and I only check in a fraction of the time I mean to. I have unmet deadlines. I have a preschool teacher asking to speak with me about my child’s sub-optimal behavior.

I have let my eating slip and pretty soon my lack of closable work pants will be an issue.


Saucony Triumphs make my feet happy
Saucony Triumphs keep my feet happy


But I also have these new shoes. To make sure I keep exercise as a top priority, I registered for the AMR Stride Through the Holidays challenge. (And you should too!). Plus there are plenty of races on the calendar (Thanksgiving Day 8k, Frozen Bonsai Half in December, lottery for the United NYC half in March, Power of Women Triathlon in April, Binghamton Bridge Challenge & Superhero Half in May).

I know that how I feel now isn’t how I’ve always felt or how I’ll always feel. I can settle in to feeling unsettled but not panicked. I am busy but not a disaster (exhibit A: Brianna, your baby gift is bought, just not yet mailed). I am saying "no" more now than I have in 9 years at work to keep it from getting worse. In other words, I learned from my training that there are going to be tough times. But there will also be cutbacks and tapers. I just might not get one until 2016. Thankfully, that's only about nine weeks, about half the time of the #FYS plan, which flew by. Odds are this will too.

How about the rest of you? What seeds are sprouting in your brains? Anyone else experiencing some post-race instability?

3 responses to “One #FindYourStrong Marathon, Two Voices: The Aftermath

  1. If you pick the right race you won’t even notice the “extra” miles of a 50k! (Hint: dirt instead of asphalt!) Great job on all the balancing in your busy life…and wish I was 40 again…. (in my 60s and still running…but not fast!)

  2. Heather…a 50K sounds like a great challenge….and focusing on distance rather than time seems like it is a good goal for you…. Marianne sounds like maybe getting the post-marathon blues a little…. doing the Holiday Challenge seems perfect for getting through… keep up the strong work ladies.

  3. Ok-loved this post. I’m there too, half marathon over two weeks ago (or is it three now?). Eating slipped (thanks halloween), weight starting to creep. So I also signed up for a Turkey trot + have my eye on a marathon for next summer to keep myself hitting the treadmill now that the darkness has hit. My own issues: a packed, and I mean packed November. Love reading this, it made me feel better and one of the tribe.

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