There’s a LOT of running blogs. There are blogs about mothers who run, executives who run, students who run. There are blogs dealing with running nutrition, with footwear, with training plans. There are blogs by running addicts, and blogs about people who have given up running to become yoga instructors.
What did that mean for me when I began training for a half marathon?
It meant I had a lot of reading to do.
It also meant I sort of knew what to expect after a half marathon. I’d read articles talking about “post run blues” and scanned detailed answers to the all-important question, “how soon should you run again after your race?”
Yet in the days and weeks following my half-marathon, three trends began to emerge. They were unexpected. I hadn’t seen them covered in blogs or dissected in articles. Yet there they were.
What does that mean?
Firstly, I don’t think it means I’m unique or spectacularly different to the other 1 billion people running half marathons. I’d like to believe that I’m not the only person who has experienced these unexpected results. Instead, I suspect the fact that I haven’t read them elsewhere is a limitation of running blogs in general.
You see, running blogs are running blogs. Granted, they often delve into “life style” or “motherhood” or “productivity” or “food”, but they still tend to evaluate each of these categories separately. In reality, you can’t have just a running blog. Running, like most things, is too interconnected with everything else. With life. In this sense all blogs are actually ‘life’ blogs.
We should be thankful there’s an infinite amount of ‘lives’ out there.
When we treat subjects separately from everything else they impact (which must be done for the sake of readability and brevity), it’s easy to miss things. Perhaps that’s what has happened here. I don’t know. It’s an interesting thought.
3 unexpected things that happened (to me) after my half marathon
A 7-8 km run became super easy
I guess I should have expected this, but it still came as a surprise. After consistently running 15-20 km, a run of 7 seemed positively ridiculous. It was so short! I was home within an hour!
There’s something truly magic about running with ease a course you once struggled with. It makes you feel like Hermes, with wings in your boots. It brings a peculiar elation. I could easily get addicted to it. That feeling of power. Of strength. Of energy.
Unexpectedly, this feeling stuck around for months afterwards. Even when short runs became the norm, they still felt magical. I guess that’s what fitness feels like.
People keep asking me if I ran in this or that event
I really didn’t expect this. The day after my half marathon a co-worker asked if I was planning to run in the city 14 km the following weekend. I was stunned at the question. I hadn’t even considered it.
The next week a few other people asked if I was going to enter other local races which were coming up. I had no plans to.
In fact, over the next few months I became very adept at answering this question.
I had, apparently, without me knowing it, in the eyes of everyone I knew, become that elusive character: a Runner.
I’m still unsure how that happened.
I chose not to enter another race
Perhaps this was only unexpected to everyone else. After all, I’d never planned to begin running in every race I saw. When I’d started training my goal had been to run a specific half-marathon race. It hadn’t extended beyond that. I suspected there was a possibility that afterwards I might want to run another, yet when the race was over my response had not changed.
Another race? No thanks.
Don’t get me wrong. I LOVED the race. Truly enjoyed all of it. Had a ball.
I also still love running. I enjoy it.
But you know what?
I enjoy other things more.
If I could do everything I would, but the reality is, I can’t.
I can still get the joy I get from running by running 5 km, so why do I need to consistently run three or four times that? Why do I need to structure my meals around my training times and endure aching feet and exhausted evenings?
It’s not that I didn’t enjoy training, it’s just… I’d prefer to run for 30 minutes and spend the rest of my time elsewhere:
There are two other more pragmatic reasons I’m not going to be entering a lot of races in the future:
- They cost money (and sometimes quite a lot) which I’d prefer to spend elsewhere
- They are almost always on Sunday mornings, and I’d prefer to spend that time in church (it’s hard enough to get there with shift work without throwing another variable into the mix)
So there’s my two cents about finishing a half marathon. May it join the 1 billion other posts on running which are currently floating around cyberspace.