It's been almost a week. I remain unconvinced that I will run another, though neither can I rule it out. Friends and family have been having good sport accusing me of "protesting too much". Running a marathon is a huge ego boost. There's a real sense of accomplishment from getting through the training, and a bigger one on the course as you realize you really will finish. What's more you get a lot of external encouragement before and after the race. Or I did; it might be less after you've already done one.
I'm running the GA half in four weeks; there's not much time to train, but at least I should be fully recovered by then. When I'm in my starting corral with a "half" bib on, I think I'll feel a twinge of envy at those with "full" numbers. I think it sucks that ING, having abandoned the race, still gets a mention because everyone called it the "ING" instead the "GA Marathon". Now when you refer to it as the "Publix" or the "GA Marathon", you have to explain "it used to be the ING". At least everything won't be orange any more.
Finishing the marathon was much harder than I was prepared for. I wouldn't describe it as a wall, but running became noticeably more difficult around 19. I never considered quitting, but I wasn't moving very fast near the end, either. As I've said, the only thing that can prepare you for running a marathon is running a marathon. About five minutes after the race I collapsed to the ground, unable to walk or even stand, my muscles in full revolt. I had hoped for a faster time, but it wasn't to be. I'm not disappointed; I count simply finishing among my lifetime achievements. It's been a while since I did something worth adding to that list.