It’s been a couple days since I finished the Colfax Marathon and I can’t seem to smile… Everything seems to be a little tougher. I’m more tired than I’ve been in months and have had twice the sleep. I can’t quite seem to get this frown to turn upside down… I keep asking myself WHY??!!
I should be on Cloud 9 after Sunday’s race. I PR’d by 29 minutes and improved my year over year marathon time by 52 minutes and now that I look back, I could have pushed harder and beat 4 hours… I’m not disappointed in my effort, time, or performance at all. Colfax was a training race. Something to look forward to and have a good time. That is exactly what I did. I dressed up as the Hulk, went out and let my legs do the rest. I just happened to have put in the time and effort training and this race seemed like a walk in the park. I gave out more high fives than I ever have, I smiled (almost) the entire race and I learned a lot about myself physically and mentally.
So why can’t I smile? Why can’t I be happy about my performance? What’s wrong with me?!…
As I look back, I have felt the same way after every big race I’ve done. The races I do the best in, it seems my Blues get worse. I have reread my journals and how/what I have felt after these races and I have come up with some reasons why we get the post race blues.
Emotional High- We literally get high from running. The chemicals that are released during a run are awesome! Mix the chemicals with the emotions we feel and we’re just asking for a crash…
Rest/Recovery/Pain- I have pain… I have had some sort of pain after every big race I’ve done. In a way, I would be disappointed if I didn’t because it would mean I didn’t try hard enough. There are a couple things I’m not good at: patience, recovery and rest… Unfortunately, these are all very important after a big race… Don’t worry, I’m working on them (kinda;)
Routine- My routine is my anchor for life. When I can’t run, exercise and I don’t follow my standard wake up call at 3:15 my day is shot from the start… Once I lose focus and miss a step, I can’t seem to get my swagger back… This is the number one reason I have been in a funk this week. I look forward to running in the morning! I wish I could run every single day. Call it an obsession, a drug, or stupidity, but the feelings and joy running brings to me, I want it all the time.
Lack of Exercise- I truly believe motion creates emotion. When I get up and start moving right away, I seem to create twice as much energy as I use. Mix the natural energy with coffee and I feel unstoppable! When I miss my exercise, I become a big mean Grizzly Bear.
Eating- It never seems to fail, I eat something I shouldn’t after a race and for several days after… Food has always been a reward to me ever since I was a little kid. I can fight and fight, but the cue/reward is always there. On Sunday I ate a big Cheeseburger and French Fries. I went almost 8 months with out eating Cheeseburger and Fries… I have felt guilty and haven’t been able to recover since… This has definitely not helped my week.
Social- I miss my friends… Since I can’t run, I don’t get to see them… We are all so busy if we don’t meet at 4 and 5 in the morning, we don’t see each other. Until this year, I would have never cared about this aspect, but once I found a group of people to run and CrossFit with, it’s a big void when I miss a day. We can text and chat all day long, but there’s nothing like meeting your group in the morning.
So what can we do to keep the Post Race Blues away?
I have no idea… In a way, I think it is part of the training & recovery process. We all deal with our races differently. We have good races and bad races, but every race is a learning experience. Every time I put on a bib I learn something about myself. Every time I watch a race I learn something about one of my friends. I love watching other runners succeed and fail. (No I’m not sadistic watching their pain…) I believe we can learn a lot by observation and people watching is a favorite of mine.
We learn more from failure than we learn from success. I’ve had a bib on the last 2 weeks and I have learned more about myself than I have in years. But, I have learned more about others. I have watched some of my friends CRUSH their goals. I have watched some of my friends get crushed… It’s humbling, educational and a reminder the human body has limits, but with enough discipline, hard work and focus, we can defy the human limits and push past. The human body is amazing, but the human mind is even stronger.
There is a reason we get the Blues after a race. It might be our bodies way of slowing us down for a bit. It might be a way to re calibrate our minds and prepare for the future or it might be a way for us to digest our wins and losses so we can be more prepared next time. What ever the reason, I have learned to embrace the Blues and use the time wisely because as soon as my mind and body are ready, it’s GO TIME! Run Epic my friends!
Pictures from the Colfax Marathon last weekend. I beat last year’s time by 52 minutes and PR’s by about 29 minutes. I was hoping to have a little more excitement and smiles, but it was an intense race and my legs just flew! I can’t explain how I feel when I put that bib on and lace up my Altras. There’s no better feeling! 🙂
Finish Line Video-HERE