Taper Thoughts

Well, it is officially Taper Time in Marathon and Sprint Land, and here are a few thoughts that have been buzzing around my head:

1. This is the weirdest freaking taper for both of us. For Colby, there is no taper. She doesn’t have time to get the taper crazies because she is too busy running “Hanson style.” All day, every day. On a treadmill, for Pete’s sake. For me, it doesn’t feel any different from earlier weeks. Other than a handful of long runs, the past 16 weeks weren’t sufficiently different from a taper for me to feel like I earned this. I think we both feel a bit robbed. (and I’m feeling a bit scared.)

2. Overnight, the forecast for Baystate (yes, I’m checking) went from cool temps and rain to a high of 59 and sunny. Thank God the rain went bye-bye. It better stay that way. After my hypothermic experiences at the 2014 PMC and 2015 Boston Marathon, I have started to feel like a bit of a jinx. Let me repeat, Mother Nature: Cold = Good! Rain = Bad! Sun= Meh! Clouds please! But more importantly, can we please keep the weather for this race to something that won’t leave me with blue lips? Philly weather was perfect (40’s and cloudy), but I’d like to skip the serious allergic reaction part, as well. So I’m ordering up cloudy, 40’s, hold the nuts. Am I asking too much? Let me know.

3. I may not be prepared for the race itself, but I’ve got plenty of plans for afterward. We are going to have a full-on Masshole celebration! Wahlburgers! Laughing in a Boston accent! Lil & Mike! Watching the Patriots Game! I’ll bring some Patriots gear for you to wear, too, Colby. Yes, we need to suit up even if only watching on TV.

4. Anyone have any tune suggestions? This is a double loop in a not-so-scenic area with varying crowd support. I’m thinking a few new songs might not be a bad idea.

5. Has anyone run a good marathon on crappy training? Please feel free to share your success story. Oh, and by “good” I don’t mean “win.” More like finish with dignity intact and not in a medical tent.

6. Even a lame taper motivates me to clean. What is it about the taper that brings out my inner OCD? And good god, my house is a mess. I am overwhelmed.

7. I still need to figure out what kind of fuel I think I can stomach (literally) during the race. Ugh. I need to get on it. Honey Stinger chews are the front runner but they are so bulky to carry. Any suggestions?

8. This will be my third marathon in an 11-month period and I am just plain tuckered. I know there are plenty of people who run multiple marathons every year but I don’t think I was intended to be one of them. I think I could actually run 3 marathons each year, no problem, as long as I didn’t have to train. It’s the lead up that kills me. Either I train hard and am exhausted, or train poorly and am mentally exhausted from beating myself up about not training well. Either way, it’s exhausting.

9. I know I’m officially sick of training for races, because it has been a sheer joy to go out for a run this past week and not worry about how fast or long it was when I am finished.

10. Colby is going to kick ass at this race and I am so glad I will be there to see it!!

Who else is tapering? What’s buzzing around in your mind? And GOOD LUCK to everyone racing Chicago and anywhere else this weekend!  

Advertisements

Taper Tips!!

taper7

 

Yep – I’m in taper mode, and thought I’d jot down a few tips for dealing with this critical – yet oh, so difficult – period.

No, not for the runner. What the hell do I know? This is only my second taper. There are plenty of articles by experts on how to use your taper period for maximum performance. All I know is that my house is a lot cleaner than it has been in months and I’m officially obsessed with Homeland, now that I have the time to watch it.

What I have for you are some tips for the people who have to live with you, or deal with you every day, during your taper. Because I’m no expert on marathoning, but I’m well-versed in the crazy. And I think that the taper may be harder on your loved ones than on you. So let’s help them out a bit, shall we?

Without further ado, here are some “Do’s” and “Don’ts” for loved ones of Crazy Taperers:

1. DON’T tell them they’re crazy to worry. Don’t tell them they’re crazy at all. They know they’re crazy. Broaching the subject is just poking the bear. And even sane people tend to worry about things that mean a lot to them. The upcoming marathon is worth running 18 miles in a windstorm with the remnants of a shiner from the previous week’s long run. It is worth getting up in the dark to “squeeze” in a 17-miler before a full day of work and other commitments. It is worth staying in on weekend nights to be fresh for a super-long run the next morning. Suffice it to say, the race is worth A LOT to them. The Crazy Taperer might be crazy, but the worry isn’t a sign of it – it is just a sign of how much the race means to them. And yes, even if they have knocked off 7 prior marathons, there is a part of them that worries that they might not finish. Yes, Really. So don’t look at them like they’re crazy for thinking that. Maybe don’t look at them at all.

2. DON’T ask them to do anything. Not the time to trot out the “Honey Do” list. Or ask if they’ve paid the mortgage, gone grocery shopping or picked up the kids from school. Or whether they can go to dinner with your boss, mother or friend from summer camp. Or whether they can hand you the remote. Leave them alone. Don’t poke the bear.

3. DON’T touch their food. You might see weird food in your house. If you see gels, goos, chews, algae bits, bars, powders, weird fruits, vegetables or juices, don’t touch ‘em. If you see something that was not regularly stocked in your parents’ home when you were growing up, don’t touch it. And if it was something your parents bought, but only because they were hippies, don’t touch that either. If you see any carb-heavy foods in your kitchen, back slowly away and DO NOT TOUCH them unless your beloved Crazy Taperer has told you that there are enough pancakes for both of you. Better to lose out on a bagel than lose a finger.

4. DON’T touch their gear. Maybe it is freezing and you want to run out and get the paper so the Crazy Taperer can get the New York Times and coffee delivered bedside. Don’t put on the Crazy Taperer’s running jacket or hat to do so. Crazy Taperer will notice if they have been touched and will freak. Maybe it’s Halloweeen and you want to throw on your Crazy Taperer Mom’s LED flashers to avoid being hit by cars in your black ninja costume. DON’T. Take your chances with the cars – you have better odds of survival.

5. DON’T wake them up. Ever. Whether it is morning, noon or night. Just…don’t. They’re tired. Very, very tired. And while they are sleeping, you’ll get a break from the crazy.

6. DON’T ask them if it is really a good idea to do a Spartan followed by a night out with their drinking buddies the week before their marathon. Or a Warrior Dash that ends at a Shock Top tent the week before their first Ultra. We all know the answers and the questions need not be asked. They signed up, they don’t skip races, and they’re doing it even though it is stupid. There is nothing to discuss. Don’t poke the bear.

7. DO start weather stalking. Check the weather for the race location starting about 2 weeks out. No, it won’t be accurate. That’s not the point. The point is that the Crazy Taperer will also be checking and it will prepare you to deal with an even worse mood or, perhaps, a few moments of calm and happiness. Maybe even a ray of hope. Don’t discuss your findings, though. Just consider it useful reconnaissance. A weather-related conversation prior to race day will rarely go well. Trust me.

pms

8. DON’T ask if they have PMS. Or whether they think they might be going through “The Change” or “Manopause.” Unless you want to die a slow and painful death.

9. DO give them a lot of space. Like, a whole house full of space. Lots and lots of space. A business trip is not a bad idea. Nor is serving on a jury that requires sequestration.

10. DO tell them that you know they will do great. Tell them that you are so proud of how hard they have trained and what you know that they will accomplish on race day. Even though they will yell at you for saying it and tell you that you just don’t understand. They will argue, but they will hear you and appreciate it. They really will.

Most importantly DO keep in mind that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and after the race, you will get to enjoy time with your loved one while they are on a runner’s high of EPIC proportions. Well worth the crazy of the Taper. Be sure to enjoy it while it lasts.

Taper on!

Tapering Out Loud

I’m officially Tapering.

IMG_1194.PNG

How in the name of The Tarahumara did THAT happen?

Good grief. Did I even train for a 50k? I can’t remember. It’s all a goddamn blur. My legs are exhausted, so something happened. I feel stronger, so I’m guessing the hill repeats worked. I have a case of The Nerves already, so the VT50 has got to be close. It’s kinda like being in college. You know when you wake up hung over, in last night’s clothes, on your buddy’s futon with a mustache drawn on your face in Sharpie?

Kind of like this…

IMG_1195.JPG

Me, muttering: I guess I had a good time?

{Staggers to mirror.}

Me, bellowing: Oh yeah I did!

It’s kind of just like that actually. A big old: WHAT. THE. HELL. Why didn’t someone stop me before it was too late?? So over the next two weeks I solemnly swear I will make a valiant attempt to keep my shit together. Here is the plan: The way I see it, it’s going to go one of two ways.

1. Lighter, quality runs. Some hill repeats. Core work. Paws up. Lotsa sleep. And an increase in carbs.

Or.

2. Several anxiety attacks. Self doubt. Phantom aches. A hysterical breakdown. Insomnia. And an increase in carbs.

Either way, I’m ready. 🙂

How do you combat The Taper Crazies? What is the one Taper Ritual you do every time? Have you ever woken up with a mustache drawn on your face? {Fact: I have not. And here you thought I had. Silly Rabbit.}

NEWSFLASH! Tina and I are on Twitter!!! I know. Welcome to 2014 Girls. Follow us on Twitter! Here we are!

A Midspring Evening’s Hope

20140521-211311-76391473.jpg

Race Week. Finally. The Grand Finale just a mere 26.2 miles away. You’ve done the miles. (And still have the goddamn black eye to prove it. )This week, the runs are short. The body is ready. The mind? Well. The mind is what needs a little work. A little wrangling. A little Tough Love. Thank god for Tina. 🙂

I’ve had to do a little more Mind Wrangling than usual this time around. Ever since The Fall Heard Round The Blog-O-Verse, I’ve been doubting myself. And I don’t usually do Doubt. Or Pity. I decide to do something. I work as hard as I possibly can. And I do it. Period. I will do it. There is no question. The End. This time? It was like a giant pin came out of a stormy sky and popped my whole goddamn plan. All that air, all that confidence went right out. {Cue Pity.} Instantly. And left a mark.

Then I went for a massage.

I am lucky to have a Massage Therapist who is truly gifted. Screw All the King’s Horses and All the Kings Men. She can fix just about anyone. No doubt. She is truly a genuine person, whom I also call a friend. She is a runner. And just about 100lbs. Yet she can make you sweat and whimper with one touch of her little finger. Regardless, you will feel 10 times better after seeing her. You will feel more open. Less stuck. She brings awareness. Not just to the body, but to the mind as well.

We got to chatting. As we always do. She has run the KeyBank Vermont City Marathon handfuls of times. It’s her favorite. Lately she sees things in a different way. A profound loss will do that to a person. And she has suffered a heart breaking one. But yesterday, she was Herself. For the first time in a long time. And it gave me hope. Her fog was lifting. She lit up talking about her marathons. About her love of running. About the joy and appreciation that comes from being out doors, pushing yourself beyond your perceived limits, and just letting go! Ahhh that feeling! Appreciate your body and what it can do!

Because not everyone can “do.”
She knows that firsthand.
And I needed to be reminded of it.

Most people run one marathon. And cross it off their list. You haven’t just run one marathon. You have run seven. SEVEN!

It was the way she said it. And in that moment, it hit me. My god. I have, haven’t I. I am healthy enough to have run 7 Marathons. And I’ll run an eighth. So all this wallowing in a sea of self-pity? Come ON Colby. Get over yourself.

Just Zip It.
Be Thankful.
And Run.