Thursday, November 02, 2006

Post Marathon Depression

So my last big race of the year is done. On Thanksgiving Day I’m going to run a “virtual” race…I have a friend whose 16 year old daughter was killed in a car accident 2 years ago. He’s the race director for a race that is run “virtually” by a large number of those of us who know and love him and the race proceeds go to a scholarship fund in the community he lives in so it’s for a good cause and it will be a nice run prior to gorging on Thanksgiving Day. I’m also semi considering running a 5K that isn’t the best for time because it’s so packed and full of runner’s doing it “for fun”, even those walking for fun. The shirts are kind of nice for it though, not that I need another long sleeved t-shirt really, but we’ll see. Beyond that my slate is clear, and I think this is contribution to my post-marathon depression.

Reflections on the past year…

Chicago Marathon 2005, up to that race, I had pretty much decided Chicago was going to be my last run, after the finish, I decided that MAYBE I’d consider doing another one at some point in time. I even almost signed up for the Phoenix Rock ‘n Roll full, I did sign up for the half but later had to cancel out of it. Then I considered the Country Music Marathon Full cause of friends that were doing it, but again decided it wasn’t quite what I wanted to do. I thought about Grandma’s, because it was the 30th anniversary and it was my first race at 30, but the idea of running a repeat wasn’t so appealing. I considered the Flying Pig in Cincinnati because of friends that lived in the area and some friends that were running it, but again…decided against it, mainly because I had been focusing and kind of decided that the Marathon to Marathon in IA was the one I wanted to do. I had been semi training for something starting in January, rebuilding the mileage that I had let slide last November/December, running mainly inside, but a little outside when it was feasible with the cold. Early March I finally got to run outside in Arizona, then it was finally warm enough here for it, and I had a few breakthrough runs that made me decide, OK, this is it, I am doing a marathon and I’m doing the one easiest for my parents to come to (and Grandma’s was full by then, but so glad I chose Marathon to Marathon). Training went flawlessly. I loved every run. I hated cut back weeks. I wanted to run more. I remember very, very few runs that felt bad and even fewer that I didn’t feel like doing. When taper time came it was all I could do to slow down and cut the mileage. I was antsy. I knew it was going to be a good one. And yes, it was. I wanted to break 4 hours, I went out and set a 38 minute PR and ran a 3:42:54, only 1:55 off of Boston pace. What were the odds? I knew the training was so much better than I had ever even conceived of doing before, but man, it felt so great. And the after recovery was awful. I was so angry, down, what not from not running that I probably started back too soon. I knew my body wasn’t necessarily fully recovered but I started back into marathon training, in the heat of summer…and it never really felt “there”. I had decent runs, but none of them came out at me as stellar performances. Nothing was ever so on. I felt that I was going through the motions of training, always with that BQ goal in my head. It was just a disaster in the waiting, having such high hopes. Race day came and I just couldn’t perform. I still have no excuses for it. I did the training, but I did the training on autopilot. I know I didn’t get the tempo runs in that I should’ve. They hurt, I didn’t want to do them, but you can’t get a fast marathon in on interval training alone. Intervals might be good for distances up to the half, but it’s not what you need to do for a marathon. Longer, tougher runs are what put the numbers up, and I didn’t do that. And I made a mindset to start negative splitting my long runs, again something I didn’t push on myself because it hurt. These are the places I made the mistakes on in my training. These are the things I would need to correct to pick up the time I needed. I was at an 8:21 pace up through the half. Not the 8:12 pace that was my goal pace. I never had that pace going.

OK, so I know what it is I would need to do…the question is can I really do it all again. I don’t think I have the desire to put in those long runs again. I don’t know that I want to push out 10-12 mile tempo runs and interval training during the week…I don’t know if I want to run 50-70 miles a week, maybe more to push the goal. It tires me out so much. I get home from those days and yes, I sleep really, really good, but I don’t do anything else. I work, I eat, I sleep. Not much of a life. With this in mind, I am debating on a marathon next year or not. There are two in my mind. I have till January to make some decisions. I just don’t know what I’m going to do. I do need to distances myself from this disappointment though before I move forward in a decision. I also have to decide about Barnes & Noble. This decision I have to make soon as I don’t think I can work through another holiday season, but I might have to. Unfortunately the roommate I have, that I thought was going to be with me through June, has started looking for places to buy sooner than she had originally said she was going to, and most likely is going to move sooner than planned, this really bums me out because I really wanted to have a roommate through June. I could’ve quit B&N and had the debts almost paid off that I’ve been working on with that rent money through that time frame and not NEEDED another one. Originally when we were talking it was either move in with me or sign a lease for 9 months, she didn’t want to buy something before next spring…what changed…I don’t know and while I’m not so much mad, as frustrated maybe…I mean I did move a bed out of that room to accommodate the bed she was moving in…and I’m also accommodating the dog that I thought was well behaved but likes to bark at night, when either I come in and my roommate has been asleep, or if she comes in when I’ve been asleep…he doesn’t bark when I come in on my own…this is annoying. He also barks if I get up and go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. This is my house, not his, it really, really annoys me. The only way I see to correct this is hand over the snout and saying NO in a forceful tone when he does it. However I don’t usually catch him still barking, so that’s hard to do, and she doesn’t do that (although I might suggest it if it doesn’t stop soon, I’m giving it a month, they’ve only been there 2 weeks)…this is a dog that has A/C set for him at 72 during the day when no one is home so he’s comfortable…

Anyway, enough right now…I’m definitely on the bummed side though. I need some decisions made. Too much in my life up in the air and I just can’t seem to figure out what I want to do and where I’m going…I’m so bad about making decisions too. I always worry about making the wrong one. Marathon or no? If yes on marathon, which one? Quit at B&N or not? Can I afford to not be there if roommate is out already in February? Moving…can I get up the courage to move out of state? Can I find a job to actually move out of state? If I don’t move out of state in spring, will I move before 2 years is up or should I buy a house in the metro like I want to do if I’m staying? Sigh…And tonight I HAVE to get my computer working so I can get my pictures off my camera. At least that is one decision.


Firefly's Running said...

Dani, I would take day by day right now. As for the B&N job, you need to seriously talk to someone who's higher up than your boss about what's he has been doing. They need to know that so they understand WHY they may be losing an employee especially during the holiday season.

As for the roommate situation, I would talk to her about why she's looking so soon. You may want to bring up your concerns and ask if she can hold off until after January 1.

Hang in there. It's good that you are using the blog to vent.

JustRun said...

Ugh, I know that post-race, post-training let down feeling. It is so normal, as I'm sure you know. The thing we forget in the many, many weeks that lead up to the race is that we don't have to decide things right now. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves while we're training and then when we're out of that bubble, normal life seems so underwhelming.

I don't know what's going on with your work at the Barnes and Noble really but I will say that I don't believe in breaking your back for someone who doesn't appreciate it. I don't know if that's your situation but if it is, that may be the fuel you need to find something new.

Kurt said...

DG, if she moves I will be happy to dig a hole for her also.

I would refrain from any big decisions but rather just take it easy, recover and then decide what you want to do.

I am not sure you need as many of the miles you think as much as you need more rest and a different training plan. Just my 2 cents.

Have fun today! Your still a great runner.

Andy said...

Post marathon depression sucks. I was hoping I was going to avoid it, but I would say that I probably have at least a mild case. I just feel weird and down about a lot of stuff and don't really have a good reason.

I am definitely wanting to do another marathon, but so far have not made any final decisions. If I don't think of one I may run St. Louis in April. It's close, cheap, and not too many people.

You have some decisions. Why are we so bad at making decisions? I'm the same way and especially hate making decisions when I'm tired like I am right now.

Ginger Breadman said...

One of my comments is the same as Kurt's - if you decide to run another marathon, look for another plan if that many miles wears you out - seriously. I've never run that many miles. Sometimes you need to do what your body needs and you can still make it work.

As for work and roommates . . . take some time out for yourself - go for a walk - listen to music - have some coffee or tea - but just time to really do nothing but relax and think. It helps you focus on yourself and what you want and need and sometimes all of those overwhelming situations seem so much simpler and you are able to come up with solutions to them.

Danielle said...

I don't think the high mileage I used was a problem actually...the program I used I actually kind of created myself based off a program a friend designed for me a year ago...and it really did seem to help and work pretty well. The mileage for marathon 2 was actually lower than marathon one over the same time period, so it defintiely can't be the mileage being too high and fatiguing me. I'm definitely going to look at some other things for next time though. Probably read Advanced Marathoning and use a program in there as I saw it be effective for others.

Now to beat the depression!