For obvious reasons, a lot of time and thought is put into what you need to do to get to the starting line and, ultimately, through the finish line of a marathon: the tempo runs, the long runs, injury prevention, llama avoidance, and hydration planning. It’s enough to consume your mind as you barrel towards the marathon. I’m staring at the heart of my Detroit Marathon training schedule – three 20 milers in the next five weekends – and I haven’t given any thought to What’s Next. What happens after the first (and 497th) person breaks the finish tape and the rest of us mortals come stampeding* through the finishing chute?
As Ben Franklin once said while catching for the Yankees: “It ain’t over till it’s over.”
But when it’s over, it’s party time!
Or, as much “partying” you can muster with shredded calves, throbbing hamstrings, an unexplainable foul odor vaguely reminiscent of rotted skunk disemboweled by a rabid, ill-tempered wolverine with stage 2 halitosis, and enough body salt oozing from your pores to keep a meadow of deer happy for weeks.
So what do you do when it’s over? Did you plan this out in advance?
Mrs. Nitmos and I have a little tradition. She’s says she hates it and will “cut me in my sleep” if it continues. She’s being playful, of course. I know she enjoys it. I love to spoon. Right there on the grass within 100 yards of the finish. I stagger through the finish area, trying not to look ridiculous with my Mylar blanket, past the nutrition tents and out to the public reunite area in full on slicky, icky, salty, sweaty, Gu stained goodness for the BIG post race HUG. And then I collapse to the ground holding Mrs. Nitmos around the waist. We spoon. And besides the medics, who scream “resuscitation” at me, and the police officers, who scream “assault”, it’s really very, very nice. I’m considerate enough – unlike most runners – to share my experience with my non-running spouse.
I hold on and squeeze in spoony embrace for 15, 20, even 30 minutes. We are stuck together like two pieces of Velveeta single slice cheese. Once the salt remnants, sweat funk, and other unexplainable moistures transfer from me to her**, it’s time to get up for a beer. Mrs. Nitmos feels better too. In fact afterwards, she always makes these hilarious “trial separation” comments that make me laugh so hard.
This has been tradition. But this is not what I would like to do in Detroit. I’ve always felt that, post race, it would be fun to sit atop a majestic steed sans clothes wearing only my medal with my long, flowing, Fabio style hair blowing in the breeze. I would gallop through the throngs of adoring fans amidst showers of flower petals and $30 gift certificates to Applebees. Then, my steed would launch skyward to fly me to the land of corporate-run, generic food and appetizers with overly cheery names*** for a final post-race celebration.
This is ridiculous of course. I don’t have nearly enough time to grow my hair to Fabio length.
Instead, I’d be happy just getting a chance to fight Cher. I’ve always wanted to fight Cher and post-marathon seems a great time to do it. What is her deal anyhow? I would totally dominate her without the post-race wearies so, to be fair, I’d only fight her after running 26.2 miles.
Failing all of that, I’ll once again ignore Mrs. Nitmos teasing jests that she’ll-cut-off-each-of-my-21-digits-one-at-a-time-until-I-promise-not-to-post-race-spoon-again and give her a big old hugging spoon where the sweat oozes out like Play Doh barber hair.
Besides, twenty-one digits?
Oh. I get it.
* And by stampeding, I mean, crawling, staggering, stumbling, or rolling.
** My little Salt Sponge. Sorry to cutesy you out with our pet names.
So what’s in YOUR post–race celebration plans? Marathon or shorter, a race completed is a reason to celebrate. What’s your favorite way to mark the achievement? Or what would you like to do (and don’t steal my galloping steed riding idea)?
Didn't get enough Nitmos? Of course not! Head over to Fitarella's site for more llama bashing and see if you can spot the cleverly concealed hidden addiction I reveal.
Check Frank out. He's at 43 states and counting on his 50 states marathon quest. For some reason, he was wearing a giant Steer head on his shirt for all of his races. Frank, the colors are maroon and white not burnt orange and white. I assume you would like to be part of the Steers LDP?