Here we go! The first week of taper went like any old taper – started off fine, good actually, wondering when the panic, stress, and irritability would set in. Oh, and can’t forget the niggles! Rest assured, toward the end of the week this all started to occur with the inevitable and probably most painful experiences – doubting myself. This is where the mindfulness stuff came in handy.
The thing with goals is that we tend to see it first, fall in love, and then try to hold on tight because it’s so beautiful. Focus, they say! But the other thing with goals is that they are merely that. They are not a guarantee. We can put in all the best of work, only to have it not happen. Making a goal is taking a risk. Usually this kind of talk is stressful but I’ve been embracing the uncertainty of it all. I can only control so much – really, it’s just my relationship and emotional reaction to things. The rest I shall embrace. As Des says, worrying about all that is “just extra stress”. So, as I head into the final week of taper and this training cycle, I am embracing the uncertainty, trusting my fitness, and sitting with the discomfort of tapering, doubt and all.
Most importantly, I believe that before you take on a goal/risk, you have to be ok with not reaching it. This doesn’t mean you don’t think you will reach it. Nope, it’s a very fine, delicate line of believing in your ability but knowing it’s not guaranteed. The biggest accomplishment this week is coming to terms with both succeeding and not succeeding. Cleveland, here I come!
Monday: 50 minutes on astro turf under the moonlight. The crisp, cool air felt so good!
Wednesday: 52 minutes with 3 x 1 mile at 7:30 pace (1 minute rest). Upon warming up I felt like crap but after the first rep I was surprised at how easy it was to dial into this (half marathon-ish) pace.
Thursday: 60 minutes, felt kind of sluggy. The doom of taper setting in!
Friday: Off/rest. Took an extra day off because it’s taper baby! Ugh…
Saturday: 90 minutes with 3 miles at 8:20 pace. I kept this on the treadmill for even terrain and no cambers. Physically, it was easy but my mind was all over the place – “What’s that pain? Why is my Achilles talking so loudly? I didn’t do any back exercises, why is it sore? I hate marathons. If I don’t qualify this time, I think I’m just going to give up. Ooh, I feel good right now. This, right here. This is how I shall run. Envision the finish. Oh, I’m tearing up. I got this. Do I? Ughhh, running sucks!”
After the run is when I labeled all of this racket merely tapering. This is what tapering feels like. If I try to fight it, it will only get worse and the doubt, louder. So, I stretched and foam rolled like crazy and told the taper to get comfy as I was going to allow myself to experience it all – all of it. The good and the bad.
Sunday: Woke up feeling pretty snappy and not as sore! And my mind was a lot more quiet than Saturday. See taper, I invited you in and you (kind of) shut up. Thank you for using your indoor voice. I ran with James in the evening, mostly on a gravel path and golf course. It was slow and I focused on just experiencing it. Afterward, I actually did some visualization (if you know me, you know I’m not the biggest fan of it). I imagined my body being ready to go come next Sunday. Sure, I’m feeling little niggles and doubt but once I line up with all of the other runners, my body will know what to do. Historically, it is amazing how the magic of a race erases all of the madness of a taper. And then you get to JFR.
Total: 5 hours, 15 minutes running, approximately 32 miles