When I finished the Philadelphia Marathon last weekend I said that I would most likely not do another. This lead to many people saying that you never decide immediately after, and to give it a week and you’ll be planning your next.
While I understood that you may change your mind I maintained that the best time to make the decision was right there and then – after all, that’s when you can best remember what you felt like afterwards (and during those last few miles).
Of course, as time has passed, as expected, I find myself thinking that maybe I should do another. I’m still thinking it will not be next year, but my mind is definitely coming round to the idea. However, should I stick with my initial assessment?
I’ve compiled a list of reasons that, I believe, lead you to think about going through it again, in no particular order (feel free to add your own thoughts in the comments):
- Seeing the race photos. This, in particular, seems to trick your mind into remembering only the good parts. In my finish line photos I actually look happy. I don’t really recall it quite that way, but pictures don’t lie do they? Admittedly, they also got a few shots of me near the end where things weren’t going so well, but that’s only a couple of photos, and that finish line one was soon after that, so it couldn’t have been that bad.
- Simply missing going out for a run in the recovery period. With all that extra time where you’re not running, you start thinking about running things. Those running things somehow seem to include marathon running.
- After all the hard work that went into training for that one event, you begin to think about how you could have done it better, and along with that, you realize that you would have to do another to see if you are correct. In my case, it’s how to stop the cramps (if it wasn’t for the calf cramping the marathon would have been easy).
- Other people will tell you that you will do another one. This is hard to ignore. Everyone is saying it. Stop it and let me make up my own mind.
- There’s always going to be a new time goal. This is true at any race distance so why shouldn’t you want to beat your previous time in this too. My only consolation here is that I’m already pretty old, so I may start slowing down before I get a chance to actually beat my time.
- “The childbirth effect” – someone likened running a marathon to childbirth in terms of the hard work and beating your body takes, along with the positive outcome (before anyone gets annoyed, I, and they, were not implying that a marathon is as painful as childbirth). In the moment you may vow to never go through that again, but all the negativity is somehow wiped out by some sort of psychological process.
- We’re runners. This is just what we do. We’re always on the lookout for a new challenge.
Going back and reading the start of this blog post I stopped to consider the first sentence. I may not have actually said “last weekend I said that I would most likely not do another”; what I think I really said was “last weekend I said that I would never do another”. Apparently it’s impossible to resist that pull back to try again.