Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Taper Time Is Always Disappointing

I know some of you who read this blog may not fully understand what taper time is, and why it is so important.  Everyone treats their taper time a little differently based on the needs of their training, what their goals are for the race, or downright just how much they care.  It's a time to let your body recover from the months of training/running/beat down that it has taken.  The ultimate goal is to show up to the start line refreshed with rested legs and an eager heart.  Since I started marathon training 22 weeks ago, I knew that the last three weeks of training would be for taper.  Three weeks is pretty standard for your everyday average runner like myself.  There are two main goals that I set for marathon training:
  1. Survive until you hit taper time, no matter how much it hurts.
  2. Show up to the start line of the race injury free.
When I finished my last long run I had a small victory celebration!  All I could think about was how happy I was that the "hard" part was over with and now I could relax.  I use the word "relax" very loosely because during taper you are still working, you're still running....you're not sitting on the couch eating pizza and drinking beer every night.  Mmmmm, beer.  At first I was so excited that the long runs were behind me and it was all downhill from there.  It wasn't two days into my taper period before I already had the itch to go run something over 13 miles.  Given that I'm a little injury prone (working to correct that) it's especially important for me to take this time to REST.  I need to run the miles I have allotted and no matter how much it irks me, do not run any further! >sigh<

So here we are, in the midst of beloved taper time and what do you know?  I get a sinus infection.  Ok ok, I can deal with that.  10 days of antibiotics, no drinking (which coincides with taper nicely) blah blah blah.  Three days after sinus infection diagnosis what do you know?  I wake up Sunday morning unable to move my neck or sit up.  Can you say scared the absolute crap out of me?!  After 30 minutes of trying to get up without passing out, I finally made my way into the living room where Brandon found me.  Me and our big comfy couch became BFF's for the next 48 hours.  Due to the fact that I'm incredibly stubborn (big shocker, I know...) I waited until today to call the doctor.  After almost two hours of being tortured worked on, I got to lay down on what had to be the most comforting ice packs I have ever felt.  The pain is still there but I guess I can say that it feels a little itty bit better?  As I described it to my doctor in very sophisticated terms, "It feels like there is a golf ball trying to break through the bottom of my skull".  (Pretty sure he thinks I'm fresh off the crazy train.)  I do know that I was told "no running" tomorrow which is always scary to hear.  He's having me come back tomorrow for round two...woooooo.  Sense the excitement?  In the grand scheme of things all I can do is be thankful that this is happening NOW and I still have 11 days before the marathon to get better.  I have 100% faith that I'll be ready to go by then!

Taper time often tends to be more of a mental battle for me.  This time is definitely no different.  For weeks and weeks I look forward to when I don't have to focus on all of the miles and I can finally put all of my focus into the last minute/fun details of our race and vacation.  The last week of taper you just have to approach with the "what's done is done" attitude.  An extra hill session or 15 mile run isn't going to help you at this point.  In fact, it might actually hurt you.  So, this taper time was disappointing but I'm taking it in stride.....with ice packs, antibiotics, and lots of puppy snuggles on the couch.