A few weeks ago, I was flooded with endorphins and pride as I crossed the finish line at my first-ever marathon in Chicago. (That’s me in the picture above, flinging my arms up in triumph.) That night, I even felt up to drinking wine and getting low on the dance floor, adrenaline still threading its way through my veins. The next morning, however, I landed in a much different place. I was in physical pain; my IT band and knee were killing me. I was irritable; I snapped at my boyfriend over where to eat brunch. I felt groggy and flat; emotionally, I was all over the place.
I could only compare the feeling to the sad, sinking sensation I had as a little kid the day after Christmas. After months of anticipation and buildup — cookie-decorating, caroling parties, “All I Want For Christmas” on the radio 24/7 — it was all just abruptly . . . over.
I’d spent four months devoting almost all of my free time to marathon training with a team of 40 other runners through the Nike Women Marathon Project. The morning after the race, with the roar of the crowds silenced, my body in revolt, and a previously packed training calendar suddenly vacant, I wondered: Now what?