Running a big race is cause for celebration. As a runner, you've trained for the big day and the race is the culmination of all that training. Crossing that finish line is the start of the celebration! How do you celebrate after training for and running a goal race? Or any race, for that matter?
After I ran Chicago, I posted about recovery. In fact, I likened this post-marathon cycle to a hangover. When I woke up the day after the race, I felt as if I had partied all night long. In a sense, a marathon is like a party. There are a lot of people along the race course and the atmosphere is loud and lively! Most races start early in the morning, but I don't think there is any tailgating prior to the main event. As far as I'm aware, I don't think there's a lot of drinking along the course.
I've been to races where there's a lot of partying after the race. Some races advertise themselves as the "best post race party" to attract potential runners. That's not what I'm looking for in a race. Most of the time, those races are 5ks--mostly novelty races that attract more casual runners--it's just not fun for me. I don't want to run a race where people sign up because of the post-race party. I'm old and cranky like that. It kind of reminds me of New Year's Eve aka amateur hour. In the past, I've run races where the race is just part of the party. The last time I ran the Shamrock Shuffle was about 20 years ago, and I said never again after seeing so many drunk runners, hungover runners, and runners vomiting on the race course. I'm pretty sure that wasn't happening up front with the elites! But in the middle and back of the pack, it was a different story.
Idk. Maybe that doesn't happen with that race anymore?
The Chicago marathon has a great post race party, but it gets really crowded. There's free beer for the runners at the finish line, Goose Island 312 or IPA, and runners also get coupons for free beer at the party. It's always fun to hang out with friends and celebrate after a race! One year I was at the CARA 10 miler, which I ran by myself. I was in the beer corral, drinking
I'm a bit of a beer snob. I wrote a blog post earlier this year about beers that I like to have after a race or a long run. It's funny how particular runners are about their beer. And I bet if you asked, most of them would turn their noses up at a Michelob Ultra or Miller 64. Swill. These beers market themselves to athletes--I see advertisements for them in my running magazines all the time. Heck, one of them had Lance Armstrong as a spokesperson prior to epogate! Maybe Lance knew something about these beers that I don't. Anyways, I'm not a big drinker, and if I'm going to celebrate after a race with a beer, I want it to be worth my while. Not with a "pretend beer". Pass me the Gatorade.
Speaking of dinner, after my last 2 Chicago marathons, I celebrated with a big steak dinner and a nice Cabernet. During marathon training, I avoided beef completely. Beef just doesn't agree with me. I don't enjoy having emergency potty stops on the run. TMI, I know. But once I'm done training and racing, I look forward to occasionally indulging in beef again. While I'm happy to be done with training, my husband is celebrating as well--living with a marathoner in training is tough on the spouse. My non-running husband also looks forward to a little more variety in our meals. I could eat chicken breast every day, but apparently I'm alone in that. So many chicken recipes, so little time...
I talk a lot about celebrating but on the other hand, sometimes a post-race celebration doesn't happen. My first Chicago marathon went so badly, and I felt so awful, both mentally and physically, that the last thing I wanted to do was celebrate. I was so disappointed in myself. When I look back on that experience, I want to kick myself. First world problem, right? I should have thrown myself a pity party.
Boo hoo, I ran a bad marathon.
Just look at that sentence again. Take out the word bad, and yep, I ran a marathon.
I should have celebrated no matter what the outcome. If I learned nothing else--but I did learn a lot of other things from that experience--it's that crossing a finish line is celebration-worthy. No matter what the finish time. Being able to run is a privilege. Yes, sometimes the outcome doesn't meet expectations, but bottom line, it's a journey which comes down to one day. Instead of focusing on the outcome, we should celebrate the process. No matter what the distance, no matter what the end result, the race is a celebration of all your training.
And as a loyal Cubs fan, I have to remind you: There's always next year!
So let's get the party started!
How do you celebrate after a race? Beer? Wine? Milk? Have you ever had a bad race and didn't celebrate?
Don't forget to check out my giveaway here.
I'm linking up with Marcia, Erika, and Patti for Tuesdays on the Run. I can't wait to read all the other posts to see how other runners celebrate!