so, you just ran a marathon. now what?

Mr PugRunner drove us back to the Dolphin, where I hobbled, barefoot to our room (much to the amusement of the valet).

In the car, I had chowed down on a tube of cinnamon applesauce (yes, it was the best applesauce ever), and was looking forward to a scalding shower, and a dip in some epsom salts.

All in all, I was in decent shape. Despite the rain, I only had one little spot of chafing, which was on my upper arm where my arm pocket had rubbed. I also had an ugly bruise on the top of my right arch. On the inside, there was some soreness in my hips, and tightness in my shoulders (because I clench like crazy when I’m running), but that was all. Not too bad.

I showered, spent a few minutes soaking, and then showered again. The Dolphin has amazing shower heads.

After getting into some clean, comfy clothes, I sprawled out on the bed to dig into the rest of my snack box. I wanted to make sure my stomach would hold something before venturing out for real food.

That Parmesan Peppercorn spread was from the heavens.

That little snack made me realize just how ravenous I was, and so we headed out. We ran into our friends, who were also planning to grab lunch along the adjacent Boardwalk, so we all joined up.

Of course, everyone in the area seemed to have the same idea, but we managed to score a table at the Big River Grille & Brewing Company. I ordered a cheeseburger and a margarita, and I swear it was one of the most delicious things I had ever eaten. About halfway through the meal, despite the awesome company, I felt like I was going to fall asleep right at the table. No surprise, considering I hadn’t slept the night before and had spent half the day running. I was hopeful for a nap, but Mr PugRunner thought I should stay up a little while, so I wouldn’t be raring to go at 5:00 AM. Fair enough. We watched some more football before I was hungry. Again.

We had ice cream sundaes for dinner.

And I got a picture of me in my marathon shirt with my medal.

I slept like a rock.

I was awake a lot earlier than Mr PugRunner would have liked. I was ravenous and I think my growling stomach woke him up. He was a good sport and got ready really quickly so we could have breakfast. The one thing I was going to miss about marathons and marathon training was all the food, glorious food.

Our plan for the day was to go to Universal. I really wanted to visit Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. We would play the day by ear, depending on how my body was feeling, but I was actually feeling really good. My hips were a little stiff from sleeping, but I had no doubt I would walk that out in time.

Universal Studios was very quiet, even though we didn’t arrive until well after the park opened. I was stunned to see that there was only a 15 minute way for Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, and decided to be brave. I usually avoid a lot of the simulator rides, but Mr PugRunner had already gone on it and said it would be ok.

I didn’t love it. But I was proud of myself for stepping out of my comfort zone.

Mr PugRunner wanted to go on a roller coaster, so we hopped on the Hogwarts Express to Hogsmeade.

It seems Mr PugRunner had never been on The Incredible Hulk Roller Coaster and I intended to take him. We enjoyed the walk over and hopped right on. I think it was the most intense coaster Mr PugRunner had ever experienced, and I loved the adrenaline rush.

The sky was turning threatening, so we decided to get lunch and call it a day. We had no desire to sit on I4 in a bad storm, and we wanted to beat rush hour traffic. We made it home just in time to pick up little man from school, and to enjoy an amazing meal of spaghetti, meatballs and sausage, made by my mom.

And here we are.

I kind of don’t know what to do with myself. I don’t necessarily feel like I’ve done anything great or impressive or earth-shattering. I don’t feel changed or like a champion. I want to be more proud about the whole thing, and I hope I’m still just processing, because it would be nice to be excited.

It’s possible that I’m just disappointed in my performance. That’s only a little silly, because hey. My goal was to finish 26.2 miles, whether I ran, walked, crawled or rolled. And I did that. On my feet. With an actual smile. I didn’t give up. And that’s got to be good for something, right?

Will I ever do this again?

LOL no. Look. I love running. I love training. I love racing and everything that comes with it. But 26.2 isn’t my jam. It was one hell of a challenge and something to check off my bucket list, but there is absolutely no desire to sign up again. I don’t even want any kind of redemption race, which is unusual for me. Whenever I have had a run that I deemed “less than”, I am desperate to get back out there and give it another go. Not this time.

This marathon consumed me. I spent so many months training for it, so much time thinking about it. It was, perhaps, too much. And that’s ok. I never went into this thinking it would be anything more than a one-0ff. There may come a day when this changes, maybe when little man is older and now that I truly understand what I am getting myself into, but it’s absolutely nowhere near my radar for a good, long time.

Now, what?

I haven’t exactly been resting. I took a week off, treated myself to new shoes, and went out to Amelia Island for the ZOOMA Women’s Series 12K on Saturday. I took it easy and didn’t push it. Everything felt ok, including my foot, and I was good with that.

Tomorrow, I am going to try my first bootcamp class, because I need to figure out some kind of strength and cross training routine, and in ten days, I am participating in a relay to support a local children’s hospital (one that took excellent care of little man’s heart issues when he was born). And then…

Then I have goals. I want to shave down my 5K time significantly, so I will need the extra strength and I will also need to make time for consistent speedwork. I also would like to keep my training at a point where I would be comfortable signing up for a half marathon on the fly, if the desire arose. Generally, I’m more of a planner, but I want to keep my weekly runs of 3-4 miles, and have long runs ranging from 6-10 miles over the span of a month. I think it will be enough to keep my body in good form, as well as to be well prepared for those 13.1 milers.

So we conclude the 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon, with words from one of my favorite long-distance runners:

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20 Responses to so, you just ran a marathon. now what?

  1. Awesome lady! Congrats! I agree with the Marathon consuming your every thoght and waking minute. It’s so crazy! I guess we are crazy too!
    Smitha @ RunningwithSDMom recently posted…Recovery: Ice & Compression with Dr. Cool Wraps – #GIVEAWAYMy Profile

  2. I felt the same way after my first marathon…Huh, now what?
    I do love the 1/2 distance more than the full, but I am trying my second full in a few months.

    Happy you had a good time though!
    Oh, the two days after my marathon were killer on my legs…I could barely walk!
    Amanda @ There Are Two Sides recently posted…My Short Long RunMy Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      Oh, good! I’m glad you’re giving it another go!

      My legs were ok. Maybe I didn’t work very hard? I think the important thing was to keep moving. I didn’t spend long in the epsom salt bath, and we had to walk to lunch and to dinner, so the pain didn’t have time to settle. Getting in and out of the car was probably the worst of it for me, and that was short-lived, thank goodness.

  3. Stacie says:

    My friend Katie from Running a Ragnar (she’s the one who told me about your page!) had similar emotions after her first marathon. She expected to feel like a new woman! An accomplished woman. A MARATHONER! But instead she just felt glad it was over. So for what it’s worth, I think it’s normal to feel that way. And probably why I feel no need to run one 😉
    I “enjoy” the half distance personally. It’s hard. It’s a challenge. And it doesn’t quite consume your life like a full. It’s great you’ve set new goals to work toward already. I’m such a “hey I ran a lot of miles, maybe I’ll stop for awhile” kind of runner….
    Congrats again MARATHONER!
    Stacie recently posted…Truthful TuesdayMy Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      LOL! I’m glad that I, for once, fall into the “normal” range. Because man, what a letdown LOL.

      The half is great. It’s something I can maintain and shape goals around. And you’re right. It doesn’t consume your life. Which, at this stage of the game is ideal.

      If I stop going, it is just that much harder for me to start up again. I prefer to just shift my goals and expectations, so it’s like all new all over again. Or at least, that’s what I tell myself.

  4. jan says:

    I think it’s a common feeling from what I’ve heard! I say ENJOY not having a training plan after so many weeks of having one! 🙂 Congrats again on your fab race!
    jan recently posted…BalanceMy Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      Thanks, Jan.

      Well, at least nothing’s wrong with me. Because I was feeling pretty down about the whole thing.

      I need to have a little bit of direction in my life to function well. So I’m glad to start recreating a training plan, as long as it doesn’t include 20 mile long runs.

  5. Matilda says:

    I have zero desire to run a marathon. I have young kids and marathon training takes up time. Time I’d rather spend with them.
    Will I run a marathon, ask me in 10 years when my kids are teenages. But until then so not happening.
    So I don’t blame you for never wanting to do one. You’re one up on me.
    Matilda recently posted…Wordless Wednesday – Caption ThisMy Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      It does take up time. So. Much. Time. I was lucky in that I was able to do a lot of my long runs while little man was in school, but if it was a different time of year, that wouldn’t have happened.

      Maybe when he’s older and I forget all about the pain and the misery, I might think about maybe giving it another go possibly. But not for a long, long, LONG time.

  6. Definitely no need for a redemption race. What’s to be redeemed for crying out loud?! You raced the race and accomplished all your goals. As for your goal to get faster at the 5K I have a confession: In some ways I find that harder than the marathon. Deep down I always knew I could train to run long enough to finish the marathon but a faster 5K? That means… gulp… running fast! Really fast in my case. That is a worthy goal if you ask me.
    Frank@The Fat Runner recently posted…The Deal With Fast FoodMy Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      I think somewhere down deep, I am mad at myself? I trained better than my performance showed and that bothers me. I wish it didn’t, but it does. I’m definitely scared that if I ever do go out there again, I won’t do any better, and that doesn’t make me feel very good about myself. I train hard (not elite hard, but I’m not and never will be elite), and it hurts that there seem to be limits to what I can do. Maybe it’s all in my head and maybe it’s actually physical, but it’s an uncomfortable feeling. I wish I could see it as I moved my body for 26.2+ miles within a timeframe without giving up despite pain, weather, exhaustion and emotional duress, but I’m not there yet.

      As far as your confession, I agree with you. 5Ks are hard. I am not a sprinter by any stretch (the scariest race I have ever run with the Mile Sizzler portion of the Tour de Pain), and the thought of going “that fast” for 3.1 miles is daunting. I have about three minutes to lose, and with speedwork, cross training, a flat course and a tailwind, I think I can do it.

      I think any fitness goals are worthy. We all have different ends we want to reach, and they are all very valid. As long as we work towards them, we are accomplishing something great!

  7. Oh, the gorge that is the after-marathon spread — what always gets me, though, is after 26.2, my stomach is far bigger than my eyes. I TRY to fill my body with everything that is horrible for me, because, dammit, I just ran a marathon – but I can’t. After a half? I can eat all the ice cream. And all your ice cream. And still want more.
    John (Daddy Runs a Lot) recently posted…Where I think on confidenceMy Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      No one gets in the way of MY ice cream! LOL!

      To be honest, the last thing I want to do after a long run is eat. I have to force myself, and for a day or two, I will eat only the things that sound good – be it ice cream sundaes, or fruit or whatever. It’s kind of a nice favor my body does me. Then when things settle down, my appetite is pretty reasonable. And I’m being mindful of snacks and whatnot since I am out of that training cycle.

      Eating all the food is a nice idea, though.

  8. congrats and I so admire you for doing it! Now that I have finished my first half, thanks for being a witness, I am already being questioned, so you gonna run a full???? nah……I’m good! I loved reading your celebration and you should be proud!
    Mary Beth Jackson recently posted…My top 5 Best Health & Fitness DecisionsMy Profile

  9. Congrats on your marathon finish! The marathon is not an easy distance, I always give a huge high five to anyone who finishes one!
    Love the medal, Disney does do a beautiful job on their marathon medal!!!! I love how you celebrated, I think being able to hang out around Disney and enjoy the fun after a race is awesome!!!!!
    I smiled at your thoughts of another marathon. My sister who ran one a while back, your words were almost identical to her own. She was thrilled she did it, but had no desire to do it again:)
    Sounds like even though you don’t want to do it again, you really enjoyed the experience and you well earned that beautiful piece of bling!!! Congrats again!!!
    Kristy @Runaway Bridal Planner recently posted…Hiking around Yellowstone FallsMy Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      Thank you, Kristy!

      It’s a pretty medal, although I don’t know if it’s my favorite. Time will tell.

      It was great getting to walk around the parks, especially wearing that bling.

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who doesn’t have any pressing need to try to run another. I feel kind of alone in that, but it seems maybe I’m not so out there, after all.

  10. Loved every part of this marathon recap! I think you did such a great job and you should be so proud of yourself! There is so much commitment involved in training for 26.2 and you did it! I love big river grille and skipped the harry potter ride too.
    Nellie @ Brooklyn Active Mama recently posted…FLASH GIVEAWAY: 4 Pack Tickets to Ringling Brothers Circus!My Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      Thank you, Nellie. The whole experience really rocked me in different ways. I still don’t think it’s sunk in LOL. There is definitely a lot of commitment, and I think I had a good grasp on that going in, but I guess you never really know til you’re in it! I’ll probably have to go on the HP ride again when I go with little man, but that’s about it 🙂

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