When I ran my first ever marathon in Barcelona it was such a high. Completing a distance I had never come close to before, feeling the accomplishment on my body and the knowledge that I had done what I set out to do. On the plane home I was scouring the marathon magazine I had been given in my finisher pack for my next race. Nothing was going to stop me now! Maybe I could even run an ultra?! Why not, I’d smacked this marathon! As I flicked through the glossy pages with tempting races, I certainly wasn’t prepared for what would unfold over the coming months.
When I arrived home, I celebrated. I ate well, rested, I even went out for a drink or five. And being aware that my legs needed rest, I didn’t cycle to work as usual, and I certainly didn’t run. Nuh-uh, it was time for rest. What happened was this: I left it too long. I didn’t have ‘anything’ to run for. I had no running buddy asking me to come along - in fact, my non-running friends were pretty pleased to have me ‘back’, able and willing to go out for late drunken nights, something I’d avoided while training.
I totally lost the rhythm, the drive, the need to run. I just didn’t feel like it. I had heard that some people after a marathon get the running blues, but I was positive that would never happen to me. Ever. I love running. Over the following months I continued to force myself to go running because I know that it’s too easy to forget how good it makes me feel if I don’t run. The heartfelt joy I experienced while training for Barcelona eluded me. I couldn’t find my running mojo.
I even signed up for a half marathon 4 months after Barcelona, yet failed miserably to train properly for it. You what that means… I ran but it was painful and not much fun, physically speaking. This terrible running continued for nearly a full year after Barcelona, taking in a couple of other races in equally horrid fashion. Gosport Half (8 months after the marathon) was the worst/most uncomfortable race I have ever run, due to lack of fitness, preparation and desire to run. I should have stayed home. But I went and I ran and I put myself entirely off running for nearly 4 months. No. Running. At. All. ! And this despite the fact that I love running through the cold of winter, properly layered and feeling the crisp, cold air in my lungs. This year I just couldn’t get out there. It wasn’t until March, a FULL YEAR (!) after my first ever marathon that I picked up my running with any kind of frequency.