Let’s ignore the fact that I suck at keeping up with a blog. And let’s definitely ignore all the reasons that my personal life has given me to suck at it (maybe one day I’ll be brave enough to write about that…). And let’s also ignore that it’s been (ahem) a year since my last posting. So now that we’re over that. Let’s get to it.
I do not like taper week. And I do not remember not liking taper this much before. For me, it has very little to do with the physical elements of tapering. I can actually get my head around that part and it makes sense: extra rest, carb loading, anything and everything to prepare my body to take on 26.2 miles – I get it. Done. But the mental aspect that is what’s killing me.
Just yesterday I was completely psyched for this Sunday. I’ve had a great string of long runs the last few weeks and I had one of the most amazing 12 mile runs that I’ve ever had. I felt strong and in control of every mile, I ended it extremely excited for the race. But today I’m sore and maybe, slightly, regretting pushing that hard one week before race day. And that, basically, has started the ball rolling for all the questions that you don’t want to ask yourself but yet just can’t help yourself: “Did I train enough?” “Better yet, did I train well enough?” “What else could I have done? (because there must be something)” “What if I start hurting early on?” And so on…and so on… Which leads me to running through a mental checklist of my body. Knees, back, hips, ankles, calves and various other muscles, joints or tendons that have recently or have ever given me an issue. Are they feeling strong or weak? Is there anywhere I need to foam rolling more than usual? Should I go see Darci (my amazing ART woman) one more time this week? Blah, blah, blah.
Now, I’ve run enough marathons now to know A: (mostly) what I’m doing and B: that anything can happen – good, bad or indifferent. I also know that these last couple months of training have gone better than I expected or even hoped for. However, I know that I gained a few pounds some months back (when the afore-mentioned personal life made it difficult to adhere to a training schedule) and I’ve yet to lose it all so it’s weighing on me (pun intended) in more ways than one and nags at me. It’s quite confusing to have felt so good and so ready just yesterday. But today? That push caught up with me, along with a terrible night’s sleep, that has me worn out and nauseated – especially after a particularly busy work day. And I told myself, no matter what, I would get extra sleep this entire week and do absolutely everything I could to have my best shot on Sunday. So far, I’m failing miserably. Even though I can manage to talk sense into myself and feel sane again at various points throughout the day, with very little sleep the tapering mental assault of “I’m probably screwed in so many ways on Sunday” returns.
On the upside (yes there is one here), I know what I need to do. I need to get a lot of sleep (or at least start with some sleep), stretch, get in my easy runs to keep my legs loose, continue to eat right and I’ll be just fine. Half of that is an easy, no-brainer plan and I’m all over it. The other, perhaps more important sleep part, not so much.
And so, I thank you for indulging me by reading this. Maybe you related a bit, maybe it all seems nuts. I do realize that all of this could sound melodramatic or whiny, even. But they don’t call it “taper madness” for nothing.