1) You collapse into a vinyl chair beside a campfire. Think: I AM NEVER DOING THAT EVER AGAIN.
2) You attempt to stand up. Discover that you can’t. Wait for your legal guardian to arrive and pull you to your feet.
3) You hobble to the shower or bath. You groan as you step over the edge of the tub. You scream when the water hits your battered feet and, er, soffets. You watch your blackened toenails swirl down the drain.
4) You eat something and discover that you’re starving. Your appetite is on steroids. You devour soups, stacks of pancakes, roofing shingles.
5) You go home, letting someone else drive. After all, you’ve been awake for 40+ hours. Also, a sudden charlie-horse in your braking leg wouldn’t be fun on the 401. WHOA – CHIP TRUCK! Pull this puppy over!
6) You try to sleep, but fail. Your muscles won’t stop twitching. And your brain is more hyperactive than a David Fincher film, flipping through millions of images from the trail.
7) Still awake at 3 a.m., you check the internet for race results. You already know your time; it was announced at the post-race lunch. Still, it won’t feel real until you see it online.
8) You self-medicate. Robaxacet, A-535, Dalwhinnie.
9) Suddenly, without warning, you fall asleep. But it’s deeper than sleep. It’s more like enchantment.
10) 10,000 years later you awake and resume your life. You take the kids to school or walk down the street to buy coffee. At some point you hear a bad song by Phil Collins on the radio. You suddenly realize, it’s over. You’re back in the real world. It kinda sucks.
11) Far too soon, you attempt to run. You get a kilometer, maybe two, before giving up and limping home. Your hip flexors hurt, or your knees, or your feet. You worry that you’ll never run again.
12) After three days with no running, you begin to feel fat. You stare at your bloated self in the mirror and weep.
14) Once again, you turn to the world wide web. The race results are up now. Also: plenty of pictures. You stare at the faces of the people you ran with. You miss them more than you miss your mother’s womb. All those fascinating conversations about shoes, mileage, poop.
15) While downloading the latest Flash Player update, you suddenly think, HMMM I’D LIKE TO DO THAT RACE AGAIN. You mention this to your legal guardian, which may be a mistake. Mental health brochures start appearing all about the house.