It has been 6 weeks since I ran my last marathon, and only 2 weeks since I ran my 2nd half marathon in a row, but those races feel like forever ago. You would think that after running 3 marathons this season, 5 if you count my 26 & 31 mile long runs, plus 3 other long runs of 20+ miles, I would welcome the break for low mileage and shorter races. But these past 2 weeks of 6 mile long runs have not been enough. I know my body needs the break and I'm glad to give it, but my mind needs the stimulation.
The truth is that I feel a little lost without a big training goal. I have no real training schedule for the next 2 months, and the lack of structure is driving me crazy. I do have a maintenance schedule, but really I'm just winging it as I train to PR at these shorter races and maintain some of the endurance I built. I'm pretty confident I'll meet my goals on my extra endurance alone, as long as the weather cooperates and I am willing to push myself on race day. But speed is not what I really crave, and meeting these goals leaves me a little empty.
I've come to realize that I'm an endurance junkie. I'll take a slow 20 mile long run with friends any day over a 5K PR. 5K races are over far too quickly and the amount of effort I have to spend for 30 minutes of work is so not worth the reward for me. A gut wrenching effort for a 5K is over in the blink of an eye, and I often feel defeated when it's over even if I gave it everything I had. But finishing a marathon is always rewarding, even when things don't go as planned. I always feel accomplished no matter the outcome.
I never thought I would run a marathon because the training seemed like too much work, but now I miss it. There is something truly special about training for a marathon and nothing else compares. It requires everything you have; you dig deep within yourself and come out the other end a new and better person. I think it's time to seriously venture into the realm of ultra marathons.
Oh how quickly the post-marathon amnesia sets in. :)