Posted by: Karen | June 29, 2006

Taper Madness

I’ve read about it countless times on the Penguin Yahoo groups and marathoners’ blogs: the crazy fears one’s mind is free to address, now that the countdown to race day and corresponding run distances dwindle. Though I’ve heard shopping is a great remedy, I’m in enough debt already, thanks. I’m cleaning out my much-neglected basement instead.

My friend *jeanne* , a veteran of last year’s Gasparilla PT Challenge and this year’s Goofy, asked me this question recently in an e-mail: “How are you doing? Nervous? Confident? Insane vacillations between the two? And everything in between?”

I’m not really flipping out about actually running the marathon yet. I’m kind of in denial, race-wise. My 20-miler was SO HARD. I really don’t know how I’m going to manage that last 10 km. I don’t WANT to walk it in (though I know I can).

The night before? I’ll sleep lightly and have not-ready nightmares. Then I’ll get the shakes when I’m putting on my race gear and trying to swallow some breakfast. If I’m really lucky, race nerves will clear out my intestines before the start. I’m hoping I’ll be taking the first 2 hours slowly enough to have whatever strength I’ll need later.

In training for any other race in the past, I’ve always been able to imagine my finish. I imagine the volunteers and folks around the clock cheering me in, and I pick up the pace to look strong and amazing. It always cheers me up when I’m working through my weekly program. These last few long runs, when I’ve tried it? I’ve had to stop right away. I’ve gotten too emotional, started to breathe too fast, have had to hold back really strong emotions. I can’t run and hold stuff back. It really messes up the training runs, eh? I WILL let go and cry on race day, probably more than once. I will also finish running and happy, but I won’t practice THAT during a training run. Saving it.

The running will happen the way it happens – there’s not much I can do now but taper wisely (stay healthy and run safely) and trust the training I’ve done. That is actually pretty easy for me. That or denial, whatever we want to call it.

So today I fussed about, cleaning out my office/guest room. The next few days I’ll be tidying up the rec room downstairs, which is still a jumble of boxes and junk from last year’s move. I’m fretting about whether any of our locals will be coming to the Penguin Stampede weiner roast or pasta dinner, and what if they DO, will we be ready? And will our out-of-town guests see what and who they want, and do what they expect, and have the fun they hope for? Sure, that’s enough madness for me right there.

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Responses

  1. Wow, Karen. You can’t control everything, and it sounds like you are trying to! You can only control your own emotions, and I know you’ll be fine with that. Relax. Breathe. Take care.

  2. If it makes you feel any better, you’re right on track with your taper. 🙂 Hang in there. You’ll be fine. Work on visualizing your finish when you’re not running. If the finish is too much, imagin yourself running strong in the last few miles.

    You trained for it. You can do it.

  3. Everything you’re feeling is normal, especially the anxiety after the last long run didn’t feel so well and the cleaning sprees. You might be surprised on race day, when a little of that marathon magic kicks in. But stick with your plan to run conservatively the first two hours. That time makes or breaks runners. Sleep well two nights before and eat a big dinner and decent breakfast (despite the butterflies) if you can.

  4. I’m sure you will do great. Have confidence in your training, and know that you will finish strong. The excitement of the marathon will carry you through the last few miles. Good Luck!!

  5. Quit worrying, you’ve prepared well and you’ll do fine. Worry just wears you out!

  6. Thanks so much for your comfort, everyone! There must be a serenity prayer for tapering marathoners somewhere. I really do believe I can do this – I’m sure I’ll look back on this and smile. At the same time, I guess it’s not so bad to aim the nervous energy towards dirt and clutter. At least I can see some immediate results with that.

    Now something’s gone and turned my letters all blue. What happened? Did I do that?

  7. Did you type all of this in blue? I think my browser isn’t loading your page completely. I could barely read it. Anyway…

    Everything you described is normal! But don’t get carried away doing “extra” work in and around the house just because you have extra time – that kind of defeats the point.

    And with a 20-miler under your belt, you’re definitely ready to take on the whole thing. Good luck!

  8. You’re going to have a great race! Sounds like you’ve thought it all through! Imodium is your friend, btw….

    I can’t read the blue text on your blue background, though. Good thing I have Bloglines. 🙂

  9. Karen! Breathe! Relax! Slow way down! All the work is in, just let everything happen as it will and enjoy the race, some things will happen that you will wish hadn’t some will happen you’ll be glad they did too. Race well!

  10. I can’t believe that marathon is so close! Seems like you just started training !! Good luck


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