The funny thing about running the longest-distance race I've ever run is that it is incredibly emotional, which I wasn't expecting. I was expecting it to be physically difficult - the longest I had ever run was 14 miles, and our trail runs were beating me up. Yet we made it through, and we made it through with smiles on our faces and our legs still worked at the end. So why was I suddenly overwhelmed with this incredible urge to cry?
It occurred to me, as I tried to process all the emotions of what I had done - achieving a goal that felt insurmountable, finally completing something that I had prepared for for months and dreamed about for years, finishing a race feeling really really good, that this didn't feel that dissimilar to coming down off the high from our wedding and our honeymoon. I think it's simply a matter of feeling completely and totally emotionally spent. I think it's also a little bit like what Kristen Bell describes when she is talking about her sloth-related meltdown, which is that your body doesn't know how to compete with all of the emotions that you feel when you do or face something really huge, so the answer is to just curl up in a ball and cry.
I think the answer to feeling emotionally spent is downtime. It's creating space to marvel at what you have done, what you have accomplished, it is allowing yourself space to rethink and overthink how you might have preferred to do things differently, and you search for more opportunities to feel the same way again. (Seriously. The morning after the race I was researching trail marathons and 50ks, all the while wishing I had my heating pad for my aching back and wondering what the heck was wrong with me.)