A marathon or half marathon takes only a few hours to run, but requires at least two days to dissect and re-live. Since yesterday’s Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon my son, Erik, and I have been doing just that. It’s best to have a family member with whom one can share this activity. It just doesn’t have the same appeal to those who did not participate in the race.
The first rush comes in the finishing chute. Erik was there waiting for me, and we quickly shared notes on our finishing times. He clocked a fast 1:33 compared to my 1:52 finish, but we both beat our goal times and shared a common surge of accomplishment. The cold, foggy, windy day was perfect for running, but did not encourage lingering after the race. Basking in the afterglow soon cooled to shivering in the wind, so we headed home to continue reviewing the race.
The initial burst of analysis is focused on times. With the aid of our Garmins GPS watches, we could quickly distill the race down to mile splits and paces. “Here’s where I slowed down,” and “Look how I picked up my pace at the end” punctuated our detailed view of the data. Even if we don’t remember the nuances of our progress along the course, aided by technology we could reconstruct the journey.
The instant availability of race results online takes the discussion in a whole new direction. Suddenly we can see how we stacked up against the whole field of runners, our sex and age classification. The topic takes on renewed energy, as we then hunt down the results for family, friends and loose acquaintances who ran the race.
Once showered, fed and sporting our new Finisher T-shirts, the intensity of our scrutiny dwindles, and we can even engage in normal conversation. But fair warning to family members – any comment can readily trigger a return to the race route and a related comment. Particularly over dinner that evening when congregated with spectators and supporters.
Morning brings the newspaper coverage of the race. Admittedly it is already dated, and although we rarely read the physical print edition any more, the race requires a purchase. There is nothing like pouring over the list of finishers in tiny print, checking the times of the top age group runners, and reading the stories of victories and personal experiences. It not only refuels the post-race frenzy but spawns new ambitions and challenges. “If only” in this race is converted to “next time.”
Didn’t I tell you I’d be reconsidering a return to the full marathon? It must be catching. Erik just signed up for the Twin Cities Marathon. I think I need more time to rehash that decision before committing. Maybe next year.