So, why do I have these nagging things in my head trying to diminish my accomplishment of a PR (personal record)? WTH?
I'm NOT writing this for praise or pity. My brain knows how awesome it is to accomplish any goal, and especially to accomplish something that you had to work for over time. And, I mean, half marathon! Yet, I can't help but feel a little less than excited about a few aspects of this whole experience... so I'm sharing my thoughts because I bet some of you can relate. Here goes.
Strange self-deprecating thought #1: It wasn't a full marathon.
You train so hard that it starts to feel easy (which is the whole point of training!). This
Strange self-deprecating thought #2: I didn't win.
Ok, I'm being a little cheeky - obviously I didn't expect to win, or even finish in the top 50%. But running can feel like it's all about the numbers: how many miles, how long, pace, elevation, number of power gels - you get the idea. And even though I PR'ed you just can't help but compare yourself to others. Could I have been faster? Maybe. I'm always torn between pushing beyond what you think your limits are and pushing too hard to the point of injury or hitting a wall mid-race. The reality is, you'll just never know... you can't recreate a race because there are too many variables (training effort, weather, what you ate the week before, etc.). You just have to trust that you did your best on race day.
Strange self-deprecating thought #3: I gained weight! Perhaps the worst mind trick of all. I didn't sign up for this half marathon to lose weight. It didn't even cross my mind. But, seeing your weight go up - even just by a few pounds - after running 13 freakin' miles (not to mention all the training) is just hard to swallow. I know that this is not a new or me-specific phenomenon. Lots of other runnerbloggers have written about this. I mean, I even wrote a post about how muscles retain water after exercise as part of the recovery process. But, c'mon dude.
Strange self-deprecating thought #4: It's over.
All good things come to an end. Apparently all things that are kind of torturous but somehow also empowering also come to an end. I wonder if thoughts #1-3 are just part of some sort of postpartum thing that runners go through. Once it's over, you can't go back and change how fast you went or your pre-race fuel. You also aren't distracted by your training schedule. You're just back to being plain old you.
So... what's left to do? Maybe plain old me needs to sign up for my next race. :)