One of the things I love about a marathon is how it strips you down to needing just a couple of things–you are at a pretty base level of existence out there. You want hydration, nutrition, and the blessing of forward progress. And that finish line–where or where is that finish line? You don’t care about much else at that moment.
On a much lesser scale, the same thing happens on long runs of 20 miles or more. This past weekend I ran my first 20 in this training cycle. It was ridiculously humid and my last couple of miles were a bit rough. When I finished up, I wanted only one thing–water. From there I progressed to wanting dry clothing. I was so anxious for this that I changed (along with some friends) right out in the hallway of a building that contained the cafe where we planned to grab coffee/food. It was a pretty isolated hallway, but still, it was public and someone might have happened upon us. Didn’t care–I wanted to be dry and comfortable.
From there the day’s needs went like this–food, a shower, and a nap. I got them all in (yes!) and felt so much better. But not much else crossed my mind during those first couple of hours post run.
I guess in order to get to my basics–food, water, comfort–immediately post long run, I let some dignity go right out the window. How else do you explain a middle aged woman stripping in a public place and later putting on pink compression socks and wearing them on errands? Not pretty! But I was warm, fed, and watered and that’s all that mattered to me.
What are your big needs immediately post long run?