the longest hangover ever

it’s amazing to think that, this time last week, I was starting to get very excited about the forthcoming marathon.

I’ve blogged previously about the build-up and the day itself, so I’ll skip those details here and focus instead on the aftermath…

it has been a completely unexpected experience

from the incredible highs of completing the marathon, there has been a strange mixture of slightly smug flatness, proud memories tinged with drained sadness, and an addict’s desperation to recreate the intoxicated emotions of the event.

it’s been a week-long morning-after-the-night-before. you know you had a good time, but you feel a bit shitty.

you just want to sleep all the time, veg out, let the world spin on as you take a timeout. you feel an empty sadness – only this time it’s not a case of worrying about “what did I do?”, it’s an abstract-yet-profound sense that something is now missing.

what I did the very next day

I took the day off work. I thought I would ache too much, but strangely I didn’t. rather I felt shattered, completely devoid of energy. on reflection, it wasn’t surprising.

what was surprising though was the way I started planning my next steps. I’ve been signed up for October’s Tough Mudder for a while now, but for some reason I started planning a bit more detail around how I would train for that.

the plan includes a 10km fun run next month, and a half marathon 3 weeks before Tough Mudder.

and that’s when I started to get my first inkling that a few fundamental shifts had occurred.

hello, my name is Gary and I am a runner

yeah, sure, I’m not fast, nor do I look particularly athletic. my “form” is awful, in all honesty I look like an 80 year old constipated arthritis sufferer waddling to the nearest loo!

but my feet itch to get back out on the streets, my aching limbs pine for the experience of pounding the pavements at 4 in the morning. my heart yearns for the dark solitude and the smug feeling of being able to say “I went for a run this morning”.

the habit has formed, the drug has taken hold, this period of rest is torturing me!

it’s shouldn’t be such a shock I guess, after all I have spent the past 18 weeks training for the marathon. 18 weeks of increasing the distances run. 18 weeks of steadily improving my basic ability to run for a long time.

so much time and effort has gone into creating the habit, it is no wonder at all that it has entrenched itself completely.

this is good, I think.

where does it leave everything else, where does this blog fit in for example?

the original goal of completing a marathon has been reached. it felt sublime, but now what?

18 months of working towards something, and now I’m there I feel a little disoriented, confused, uncertain.

so I deliberately stopped thinking about it, and allowed instinctive reactions to seep into the void left by this achievement. a picture started to form. not yet completely clear, but a vaguely distinct general direction took shape.

I started to develop a list of wants and needs – I want/need to:

  • run
  • blog
  • somehow use these 2 things to contribute something to the world
  • make this site more than just another fitness or running blog
  • use this blog to talk about a more diverse range of things all focused around the orignal core
  • talk about personal development in all its aspects, based on a foundation of physical fitness
  • avoid being a new-age blog full of fluff and white light
  • show other ordinary people that some of the stuff that seems new agey or cheesy actually is pretty sound
  • make a difference

now this is a pretty intense yet non-specific list; it basically paints an overall picture of where I’m heading.

no expectations, no preconceptions, nothing set in stone

I don’t know what happens next, all I know is that things have fundamentally changed.

completing that marathon has had an incredibly profound effect, one that I still can’t adequately explain.

it has left me feeling on top of the world

it has triggered the release of a massive dose of confidence

not swaggering, cocky, self-assured over-confidence. more a case of quiet, assured, rock solid confidence that any goal can be achieved, but without stressing over it.

in all honesty, it’s a sense of becoming completely comfortable in my own skin, something that’s been developing throughout the entire training schedule. completing the marathon though sealed it, added the finishing touches and put the cherry on top.

it’s a sense that this unrushed, unstressed feeling of self-comfort is the real secret to achieving – well, anything really.

hopefully the hangover will clear in the next couple of days, allowing me to head out for a run, and process this new information some more…


image courtesy of Creative Commons LicenseJoan Valencia via Compfight

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