post-marathon thoughts

Despite my early fears, race day turned out to have ideal running weather. Partly sunny with highs in the 50s. There were some wind gusts in unexpected places, but overall, for a race this distance, I don’t think the conditions could have been much better.

*   *   *

Somewhere around mile 17, the volunteers were handing out wet green sponges, which were great for wiping the crusted salt from my face. I confess that some small part of me wanted to keep the sponge as a memento (mori) of the run. I could have squeezed it dry and stuffed into my pants I suppose. But it would have been an oddball souvenir, and I couldn’t picture it sitting on a shelf somewhere, inviting conversation. So I tossed it to the ground. The fact that I saw green sponges on the ground for the next five miles suggests to me that others may have had similar thoughts. They hung onto the sponge until they, too, realized what a silly souvenir it would be.

*   *   *

Yes, I asked at every water station if they had Bud Light, and, no, they never did. A few volunteers chuckled at my comment, but I suspect that English was not the first language for many of these kind souls — and many were just kids — so I guess my Midwestern humor fell as flat as day-old beer.

*   *   *

There was no chocolate milk at the after party, but there wasn’t an after party either. We had a mile-long walk out of Central Park, and they gave us a recovery bag with some drinks in it. My son-in-law did have two bottles of chocolate milk waiting for me though when he met us. What a great man he is!

*   *   *

There were two (maybe three — I was delirious) turns on the course where the outer edge was lined with hundreds of bales of straw. What was that all about? Surely no runner, not even an elite, would be hurtling around the turn (and they were wide, broad turns on major streets) at such a speed that a cushion would be needed in case of a wipe out. Perhaps they were there to keep the spectators from spilling onto the course. If so, why there and not at the places where they actually were spilling onto the course?

*   *   *

I felt like a criminal to my own values as I tossed my empty GU packets to the ground. Normally, I suck down the GU and then fold the sticky little foil packet into a manageable shape to carry with me until the next water station where I throw it in the trash can waiting there. My belief is that if you can carry it in, you can carry it out. Not so on this run. I ate the GU (which I do think helps me) and then tossed the packet to the ground to join the thousands of others already there. It happened that our hotel was a block across the course (about mile 7) from my daughter’s apartment, so I crossed it several times in the days after the run. I was impressed with how cleaned up the course was. There are many unsung heroes in these endeavors.

*   *   *

The pains in my legs are mostly gone now. I’ll get some random bursts or twinges, generally when I’m taking a turn or stepping off a curb, but I can navigate stairs almost painlessly now, and I’m even thinking of trying out a run. Unfortunately, the cold I had been fighting since before the marathon finally arrived full blown in my head a few days later (making the flight home a torment), so I think I should rest my body a bit longer.

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And I’m a little resentful about the cold. I can’t tell how much of my fog is due to marathon fatigue and how much is due to the cold (and medicine). I’d like to feel the marathon fatigue in its purity just to have the full experience.

*   *   *

Just about everything that went wrong on the run — the IT bands, the hips, the quads, the fatigue — is correctable. A fellow could train smarter, train harder, train longer, and then run a better marathon next time. If a fellow were thinking of ever doing such a thing again, that is.

*   *   *

I am going to enter the lottery for the NYC 2017 Marathon as soon as it opens!

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One Comment on “post-marathon thoughts”

  1. Dean Gugler Says:

    Nice to hear the recovery is happening! Immune systems always go down after long runs so the cold is not a surprise. You worked hard for that cold.

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