Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Another race, another taper, another two weeks of my life where I go slightly crazy

Here we go again.... Taper.  Why is it that tapering for a race seems like such a big deal?  Is it because it means the race is imminent?  The thing you have been focusing on for so long is now right around the corner and in a way the excitement becomes untenable?  Or, is it because it's an excuse - after a lot of hard work - to finally slack off completely relax a little bit?

Like most people (at least from what I have heard from friends and read from other bloggers), I go a little crazy during taper time.  I get a bit superstitious and I have this whole list of do's and don'ts that I follow for the duration.  So what's going on?  Am I giddy with excitement that the big day is almost here?  Or just happy to soon have this all done?

I don't know if there is a blanket reason for the taper madness, but I know for this particular race I am excited.  For the first time ever, I think I have actually trained well for a race.  I truly feel I have done all I could do to prepare, and I have no regrets about should've, would've, could've.  I have hit all my key training runs: done the long runs, done hill work, and even thrown in speed work.  I have cross-trained for general strength, done yoga for flexibility, and even done the elliptical once a week to keep things loose after the long runs.

The only thing I haven't done....wait, no, don't say it..... IS....stop - no regrets, remember?....strength training.  Ugh.  Okay, I said it.  I did fall off on my strength training a bit, ... a lot, ... pretty much altogether the past couple of months.

So, I guess I do have one regret.  But, honestly, despite that, I feel pretty good.  I still feel this is the strongest (ha! that's funny given the lack of strength training!), that I have ever been.  My runs have felt good!  No niggling pains, no feelings of having to work around something, even the shin has behaved.  (Knocking on wood.)  I am STRONG!

Really, I am excited to see what race day will bring.  I am open to all possibilities.  I will go into it knowing that I am ready, and accept that anything that happens from here on out is most likely beyond my control.  Will I get sick or catch a cold before the race like I did last year?  Not going to worry about it - beyond my control.  Will I pull a muscle getting out of bed in the morning, as has been known to happen once or twice before?  Not going to worry about it, beyond my control.  Will I trip on a trail as happens before almost every race?  NO!  I will not be running trails or cracked sidewalks or streets littered with debris.  (Some things I can control.)

So, what are my goals for this race?  I have been thinking a lot about that.  Originally, I had signed up to run the full marathon, but when my shin sidelined me for so long, I downgraded to the Half.  As things started perking up, however, I started thinking about how I could possibly run this hard.  So, my goals are as follows:
  1. Ultimate, pie-in-the-sky goal - Sub-2:00
  2. Realistic goal - PR in any which way (so, Sub-2:06:55)
  3. If-all-else-fails goal - As always, just to finish, not get injured, and have a good time
I have found out that the Kalamazoo races have pace groups for the Half, so I think I might try to hang with the 2:00 pace group and just see what happens.  I have never officially run with a pace group before, so this would be a new experience.  So, if nothing else, it might offer fodder for another Tale to tell.

In the meantime, I am working on visualizing the race in a positive light - happy thoughts, happy feet.  Or, something like that.  And, I am working on tapering well, i.e., not doing anything stupid.  I am kind of flying by the seat of my pants on the whole taper thing, since I really haven't researched it and am still a bit unclear on the concept.  So, this week, I am doing 70 percent of my latest, greatest effort, which is what I would do every three weeks anyway.  Next week, I will cut back to 60 or 50 percent of last best effort.  I am not sure which yet.  In any case - yeah!  The big race is almost here!
Happy Running!

Do you have any tapering advice for me?  What has worked for you in the past?


  1. advice?
    Try not to deviate from your pre-planned runs. If you get the 'itch' to run (and it's not planned), head out for a brisk walk instead.
    Hydrate, eat well, hydrate..sleep well 2 nights before the event because the night before is usually restless.
    Realize that it's normal to feel anxious…even I still get anxious.
    By all means….have FUN!!!

    1. You always have such great advice! I won't deviate from the plan.... :) Also, fair warning, I won't do trails tomorrow, so if you guys feel you must, then I will head off in another direction. lol