Phoenix marathon is less than 2 weeks away now, which means I’m in full on taper mode. Tapering, for those who don’t know, means cutting back the mileage to give the body a chance to recover and recoup from the past 17 weeks of grueling work you’ve put it through. At first glance, one might think tapering sounds great. Lots of extra time to get caught up on unfinished projects, connecting with friends outside of your running circles, etc. And it is good for that. Usually some strange part of my home gets a thorough cleaning, like the oven, or the windows, something I don’t have time to do on a regular basis. Or I catch up on the stack of magazines that I can’t read while I’m bouncing up and down on the treadmill. But there is a down side to tapering. A really big downside. It means a mix of emotions similar to that after having a baby. Yes, I’m going as far as defining it as postpartum type of emotions. From silly happy, to irritated and anxious. The full range all within a few minutes of time is pretty normal during taper. Not only do I get moody, but I start to doubt my preparedness, my ability, and my goals. Rationality tells me that slowing down for three weeks is not going to hinder my legs unable to run. But that’s the funny thing about tapering, rationality is pretty sparse, if present at all.
So, how am I handling taper for my 11th marathon? Same as always. I’m questioning the goal I’ve set for myself. My legs feel heavy and tired. I am not sleeping well. All of the sudden I’m getting aches and pains in weird spots. I’m fighting to not get sick in a sea of sick people surrounding me. And, I’m trying not to eat my way through these emotions. I do however have a few positive rituals that I go through the weeks before my races. One of which is to remind myself of my mantras. I was given a bracelet with them engraved on it a few years ago. Before each marathon when I start to taper I wear this bracelet every day all day, up to race morning. My mantras are simple. You are prepared. You are strong. I have many others that rattle through my head when I’m running, but I always go back to these two.
Since I have a little extra time while I’m not running as many miles, I’ve put together a new playlist for my Thursday night cycling class. We’ve spent the last few weeks rolling through the decades, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s. This week we are breaking out the boots and going country. I’m not a big country fan so this mix is a slight variation with some punk and remix thrown in. Let me know what you think of it!
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