The post-marathon letdown.
It has become arrestingly clear to me over the course of the past two weeks that the worst part of running a marathon is experiencing the letdown subsequent to crossing the finish line. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that after arriving back in Juneau, I promptly slipped into a massive and insidious funk.
The town is still drowning in snow. Piles of it suffocate the sidewalks; the roads are smushy and slick with it. We’re already over four feet in excess of the average snowfall for November, December, and January, and… well, there are nearly two months of winter left to rack up even more.
I know this is normal. It’s January. It’s Alaska. None of this should come as a surprise to me, and yet somehow post-holing endlessly as I climb over the heaps of it shoved onto the bridge sidewalk, leaping in and out of berms to accommodate cars while I run, and slipping and tweaking the continued pain under my fifth metatarsal are all feeling like particularly egregious assaults upon my very soul.
This isn’t some sort of record snowfall year and it could certainly be worse, but for someone who depends on public transportation and feet to get places (I walk a cumulative 3+ miles a day to get to and from my different work places), the relentless snowfall is a burden. It is exceedingly frustrating to be a pedestrian right now.
How my body feels:
Though it’s not debilitating, the foot pain that popped up a few weeks prior to the marathon is starting to concern me. I am fairly certain it is tendonitis of the “flexor digiti minimi brevis”:
I worry about tendonitis in this area because the muscle is small and the bone involved with it seems particularly delicate. It doesn’t take a medical expert to suspect that localized inflammation and tugging could very well facilitate a stress reaction and then a stress fracture.
I know I should buck up and see a doctor about this, at least to hear an opinion and perhaps gain some peace of mind that this isn’t already some kind of hotspot on the bone, but… I’m stalling.
Aside from the foot, though, my joints and bones and muscles all feel good and the motion of running has been pleasant. No problems, no pain, no issues. I feel very lucky.
Getting back into running:
After taking six days entirely off directly after the marathon, I’ve run (easily) only a handful of times. The unpredictable terrain, slipperiness, depth and lack of energy return to my footstrike from the snow all greatly aggravate this foot pain.
There’s something to be said for doggedly putting your head down and conquering the elements – the dark, the rain, the ice, the snow – but after doing that for four months already, I AM SO OVER IT, and will gladly opt for the treadmill if it means I don’t have to navigate this extraordinary mess all over the roads and sidewalks.
Sometimes I wonder what it must be like to live in California and have good running weather all the time.
Where my head is:
This past week has been a perfect storm of post-marathon letdown, winter melancholy, and general despondency over the fact that I’m yet again incredibly far away from all the people in the lower 48 I care about.
For the first time since I moved here in August 2010, I’m having serious doubts about my ability to live in Juneau long-term, and have been more actively considering my next move.
My closest friends all have recently serious boyfriends and/or odd work hours, so I don’t get to spend much time with them, and don’t have nearly the degree of family-style support I was remarkably fortunate to enjoy here last year. That’s okay. I’m almost 25, so I understand I’m at an age where that happens. But I’m coming to realize this is a very difficult area of the country to live in long-term without family or a significant other.
When it comes to the prospect of moving away, there are a few things that give me pause:
I love my workplaces here. My work situation right now is glorious. I am spoiled with two fun and satisfying jobs and have wonderful coworkers at both. The prospect of starting all over again in a completely different area of the country is enormously daunting, and I anticipate a rocky adjustment period.
I love the running environment. There is no question about it: this environment and community have helped me come into my own as a runner. Incredible trails to explore and fantastic people to enjoy them with, $5 races, bald eagles accompanying me on my runs. I would feel wretched leaving this all behind.
But, real talk: after I come home from a satisfying day of work, and after I come home from a glorious weekend run with buddies… I’m all by myself again. Alaska in the winter is a tough place to be lonely.