Enjoying sunny skies and warms temps, I took off on a little jaunt around my 8.5 mile country block. Having time to think, I wondered how my young friends were doing wandering around campus in the aftermath of their first marathon over the past weekend. I wished I could have seen their agility levels (or lack thereof). But it also gave me reason to think back to my first big race. At the time, I thought for sure those memories would be forever embedded in my brain. Alas, they were not. Hence, I offer these humble suggestions.
1. As soon as possible after a race, write down everything you can remember: how you felt, what you were thinking, impressions along the way. If you don't, you'll be lucky to recall the details two days afterward. Re-read whenever you need to reignite your passion and excitement!
2. Be prepared to feel depressed by mid-week after the race. Years ago, this one caught me by surprise. But after all the planning, training, and pre-race hype, the finish line comes down and exposes a deep, empty hole. It's like the feeling you get once the gifts are opened and the tree comes down. So if you feel a low coming on, chalk it up to mental and physical weariness. Rest up and know that all these all feelings will soon pass as recovery heals. Don't despair. Just ride the wave and be grateful for your experience. . .and re-read what you wrote in # 1. It will make you smile and appreciate your accomplishment.
3. Sometimes there is a tendency to become overly critical of your performance in the days following the race. "If only. . ." permeates your thinking. "'I was a wus,' 'I could have gone faster'" haunt your thinking. Certainly, there are lessons to be learned from mistakes or encountered difficulties. Just be careful to keep everything in perspective. Regardless of how you did, the sun continues to rise and set each day.
4. Give yourself a few days before setting a new goal--but do set a goal. It will serve to motivate you and get you moving again after your period of rest.
Congratulations to all who have ever toed the line and found the finish.