She's baaack: Adrienne Martini, of the popular Martini Fridays, will be documenting her summer running every other week (biweekly, I believe that's called) until July 7, when she starts in on her 13.FUN journey, and then she's back to add an olive to our Fridays on a weekly basis. (You can join her—and us—in 13.FUN by registering here.)
Journey with me, if you will, back into the halcyon days of two weeks ago, when yours truly had just finished her first half marathon. I’ve talked on and on about race day, what I’ve failed to talk about was the week immediately after the race, which was epic in its own special way.
Deciding to drive the seven hours home the day after the race was not the best call I’ve ever made. It ranks right up there with “getting a perm” and “frosted blue eye shadow.” My body felt OK. I wasn’t going to be racing up and down stairs any time soon but a couple of ibuprofen kept the aches at bay.
The biggest issue was that every 90 minutes I found myself ravenous. It was like having an infant again, only I was the one who was hangry. The solution was easy: I kept an open box of graham crackers and a giant bag of trail mix in the passenger seat. Physically, I managed.
The problem was my brain. The little hamster that spins the wheel was sound asleep. I was epically out of it. So much so, in fact, that I managed to miss my exit—remember: I’ve made this same drive at least two dozen times over the last few years—and take myself 15 minutes in the wrong direction before I even noticed. That half-hour detour made it clear that I needed another day to regroup. Or, at the very least, a second driver. (I’ve already started recruiting, by the way. Let me know if you’re in the area and want to run Pittsburgh in 2015. Graham crackers and trail mix will be provided.)
In a perfect world, I could have spent another 24 hours cluttering up my friends’ guest room. But I had to get back home because my actual job called. I had to be back in the classroom for the last week of classes and finals. There was zero time to decompress between the race and the push-push-push of the end of the semester, which wound up leaving me pretty wrung-out by the end of the week. A commenter on the last Martini Friday compared the post-race emotional swings to post-partum depression. Having had both, I can honestly say that the comparison is apt.
What didn’t help the whole random sobbing situation was stepping into a brew of office politics, which is just as bad in academia as it is in, say, insurance or welding. Academics tend to be better at sifting through all of the minutia of their perceived slights, capturing them on paper, and firing off passive-aggressive emails. I’m not casting stones, here, nor am I without sin. But I realized that week that I would much rather run another 13.1 than deal with work-related operatics. At least with running, your goals are clear.
Re-entry was rocky, to say the least. The adjustment from super-strong badass to mundane human who has to do laundry and grade exams and pick up dirty socks was a bummer.
By the end of the week, though, I felt together enough on all fronts to go for a run. I went back to the indoor track because sheets of rain were falling. Herr Garmin stayed home. Time away from each other helps keep the relationship fresh, you know?
I ran for 30 minutes, stretched a bit, and called it good. That Sunday, I ran 5 just to see if I still could. The next Sunday, after a week with a 3-mile hill run and interval day, I ran 6. I’ll be running a 6-ish mile leg at this weekend’s Vermont City Marathon as part of the Fitter Knitters team and wanted to be sure I could make it.
I had a realization during one of those long runs: This marathon leg won’t be enough to tide me over until next year’s Pittsburgh Half. It’s sick and it’s sad and I never, ever thought that I would say such a thing but I want to feel like a badass mother runner again. There are days when I’m not sure who I am, either.
I spent a remarkable amount of time during the last few days flirting with various mid-October halfs. I made eyes at the Wineglass in Corning, New York, but it falls on an inconvenient weekend. I tossed my hair at the Runners World Half in Bethlehem, PA, but don’t want to give up my iPod. I was smitten with the Old Orchard Beach Half in Maine but, as much as I love that particular part of the country, I’d like to run a little closer to home.
Finally, after trolling the internet as if it were a singles bar—do singles bars still exist?—I found the Empire State Half in Syracuse. The words “fast” and “flat” were all it had to say to convince me to take it back to my place. Plus, it’s an easy trip and we can make it a family affair.
As if that weren’t enough, the date of the race coincides perfectly with the AMR 13.FUN training period, which didn’t even factor into my plans because I didn’t initially plan to do it until I realized how much I wanted to do a fall half.
Call it kismet. Call it insanity. Call it a plan.
Here we go again, eh?
Question for you mother runners: how long after your first big race did you commit to doing another one? Or are you a one-and-done-r? (Either approach is good.)