The race is over, and by most measures it was a huge success. I crossed the finish line with no injuries, I ran faster than my most recent half marathon, I completed an insanely hilly course without losing my cool, and I had an absolute blast.
But now what? For months I've had a set plan and a strict schedule. My Friday nights, Saturday mornings, and Tuesday and Thursday afternoons are all suddenly free.
The immediate post-race plan is easy: rest, rest, and more rest. Granted, this wasn't much of a choice. Every muscle hurts, and stairs are far too intimidating to leave the house. My body did everything I asked of it yesterday, so I can't complain that it completely shut down today.
Soreness will fade within a day or two, and the rule of thumb is to allow one day of rest for each mile raced. After the two week hiatus, my instinct is to register for another race and immediately begin training again. There are plenty of advantages to this approach. I have discipline, I have momentum, and I have a running-shaped hole in my schedule.
I may decide I want more time off to focus on other activities like yoga, or I may decide I want to keep right on running. There's no wrong answer. What matters is that I set a goal, I stuck to a plan, and I finished what I started.
So what's next? Who knows. I'll go wherever the road leads, as long as I'm moving forward.