Thursday, April 21, 2005

Aftermath

“Aftermath” is just the way to describe the time after the race, given its physical, mental and emotional toll. I honestly have moments of complete mental disconnect when I can’t believe that I actually ran 26 miles and finished with a smile on my face. In many ways, it reminds me of the days after giving birth for the first time, when I couldn’t believe that I actually had a baby, but would look down, see the absent bump, and know that I had. For the past couple of days, I’ve looked out our back windows at the skyscrapers at Canary Wharf and then over to the London Eye and said to myself, “I ran from there to there and then some. That’s a long way!” Then I go over to the mantle and look at my medal for the 257th time.

At Day 4 post-marathon, I’m thrilled to announce that I now can walk down the stairs without having to go backward! I think I may have switched into my regular shoes prematurely—my feet are still a sight you wouldn’t want to behold—but at least I can walk.

I also no longer ache everywhere, but the pain has become more localized. Unfortunately, my left hip has resumed whining and complaining, which probably means a return trip to the physiotherapist. Today, when I tried to run to school (shockingly, I was a bit late), my hip hurt so much I began to wonder how it was that I managed to do a whole marathon with it like that. It’s a mystery.

Once I crossed the finish line, I needed to attend to some race administration. First, they removed ChampionChip, a computer chip attached to my shoe, which recorded by time and splits. Then it was time to have my medal hung around my neck (it’s heavy!). Finally, I picked up my bag and started heading to the repatriation area to look for my family.

At this point, though, I was so overcome with emotion that a very nice woman asked me if I was okay. “I just” [sob] “can’t believe” [sob] “that I finished!” [sob sob sob] “It’s your first, isn’t it,” she said. When I nodded, she then asked, “You have people to meet you right?” as if I had just survived some sort of war and wouldn’t possibly have it together enough to make it home in one piece.

I finally found my Incredible family. Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! They had been patiently waiting for more than an hour because the ever-optimistic Tim thought that I would beat my predicted time. Actually, that wasn’t such a crazy thought, given that I was bang on schedule when I saw them last in Greenwich. But they were happy for me, Tim had tears in his eyes and Andrew kept asking to wear my medal. In a moment that is sure to be remembered as a highpoint of my motherhood career, I told him no. (I did finally let him wear it for about two minutes, but I quickly took it back.)

By the time we got home, it was time for some champagne (Nytimber, for those wine snobs among you) and calls to friends and family. It took me about an hour to work up the courage to take off my socks and inspect the damage. (It wasn’t as bad as I feared, but it sure wasn’t pretty.)

Will I do it again? On Sunday night, I swore, “Never again.” On Monday, I decided I was disappointed with my time, so I wanted to improve it by doing another marathon. By Tuesday, I wasn’t sure, and I’m still not. I suspect that it might be like childbirth in that I may soon forget all the pain and agony and give it another go. Watch this space.

1 comment:

Michelle Mitchell said...

Hey Maureen
I was the same...I thought people were mad to keep put themsleevs through it...but as times goes on i think yeh i could do better...maybe i will...jury is still out though.
Michelle