It’s happened to me twice now. The highs and lows of endurance athletics. Once after Marine Corps Marathon and most recently, after Ironman 70.3 California. There is a high just after accomplishing these kinds of challenges like nothing I’ve ever experienced. It’s incredible. You reflect on the work it took to get to the point where you are actually going to do it. Then you reflect on what that day was like. Then you reflect on achieving the ultimate goal for any one of these races for me at this point, which is finishing.
What follows that high is probably the opposite feeling. A very low, sometimes even depressing feeling. You reflect on the race a different way. Did you put in enough work? Did you deserve to be there? Were there things that you could have done differently leading up to the race or even during the race? What areas of improvement became obvious to you during the race.
In just over four days I’ll be in Boston at the line to start the Boston Marathon, yet another dream that I have the opportunity to live. A gift that I never thought was possible for me. That said, I’m struggling through the low point described above. I lack motivation to complete what are really easy training sessions for me leading up to the Marathon. Outside of my job and work responsibilities, my mind is consumed with thoughts of California. The reflection. There is some of the positive thoughts sprinkled in with many of the “What could have been?”, “Did you work hard enough?”, and a bunch of other noise.
I spent some time last night before bed researching this and found that for many of us “weekend warriors” this is common. Even some pro athletes deal with this. The general consensus is that this is healthy. That most reflection is positive. The key is to keep it focused on the achievement itself, what happened along the way that could or should have been different, and areas of improvement. The final thing that I gathered is that it’s important to not only reflect on them but to identify how you might do things differently in the future. You must first determine whether you are willing to put in the work to improve, which I have decided that I am, then you must put together a plan of action to improve. From there, as Nike so famously says, you have to “Just do it!”
I’m done as of this morning with thoughts of whether I deserve what I am doing. I’ve decided that those are the most childish and ridiculous thoughts that I could have. Of course I deserve it. I succeeded. I finished. Now get better. That’s the focus.
I can’t wait to get to New York to meet up with my dad. I’m driving him up to Boston from there where we’ll hang out for the weekend and he’ll get to see me finish the Boston Marathon. That’ll be a special moment for both of us.
highs and lows0