Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Summer & Marathon IV: Tapering

Mark & I taking advantage of the watermelon & lemonade social outside the Medical School

Free at last. Free at last. Thank God Almighty we are free at last! School is done for the summer. That might seem slightly melodramatic, but I'm gonna go ahead and roll with the fact that that's pretty much exactly how I felt. Even through the adorable watermelon & lemonade social post test and the glorious North Beach BBQ that afternoon I kept feeling the pressure of my conditioned response to do laundry/return phone calls received in the last 3 weeks/pick up that dry cleaning that's been there since April/clean my kitchen/life things during those 12 hours of freedom before we start at it again. Even now, my brain can't quite trust the fact that I don't have to do anything. For TWO.GLORIOUS.MONTHS! But I'm getting there...
And in the mean time...

Back to our (somewhat) regularly scheduled program of marathon blogging!

So before the big race, you're supposed to 'taper off' your running. I remember being really excited when we finished the 20 mile run and knowing that the next long run would be the marathon. Had I known what tapering would do to me though, I probably would've chosen to run 20 miles a day!

Two weeks away:
We had our last 10+ mile run. We ran 12 and I remember thinking that it was a little too hard for only 12...(and don't worry, I know the phrase 'only 12' sounds ridiculous)

The boys before our last group run. Tapering makes everyone angry.

One week away:
I was actually home for a wedding, so ran my 8 miles Saturday morning with my older sister (who is usually up for any physical challenge) and my DAD (who hadn't run 8 miles since 1982 he informed us!). The run felt good, but it was weird to not get that long run 'feeling', where fatigue starts to set in and your knees start to ache...

The week before the race:
Oh man, herein lies where I started to feel the CRAZY. We dubbed this the 'HORMONE STORM' because it felt like the worst case of PMS/anxiety/feeling like you're getting sick/anger, all rolled into one, all week. It was not a pretty week. I don't think I did any studying (and worried about that fact) or managed to say one nice thing to anyone. I was convinced I was getting sick. I seriously considered not running the marathon when I discovered the forecast (thankfully wrong) was 87 degrees. I just kept praying that this feeling would pass once Sunday rolled around. Apparently this is a fairly common phenomenon called the 'Taper Blues', which involves feeling flat, fatigued, grouchy, achy, depressed and anxious. Who knew??

The ladies (and Mr. Muttonchops) before our last group run.

Last run:
The Thursday before the race we had one last short group run. It was 4 miles. It felt like 40. I started to get nervous.

The day before the race:
I slept in until 11 due to my grouchy, unmotivatedness (isthataword? itisnow.) but eventually wandered down to the farmer's market to meet some friends. We shopped and talked and sat in the grass and then each went our own way. I considered walking down to the waterfront to check out the race set up and starting line but the thought of walking down there (it's only like 3 blocks, y'all) seemed completely overwhelming, so I went home and curled up in my lazy boy recliner to read. Actually curled up sounds like it was an active choice, like I nestled myself in there lithely like a cat...I SANK into that chair. My body was made of lead and I just melded into that chair and didn't get out for 4 hours! I napped and read and contemplated the impossibility of running 26.2 miles the next day when I couldn't even get out of a recliner.

Eventually I moved to set out all my race day stuff: Gu, race number, neon yellow running jersey! Ate some pasta. And went to a friend's to watch movie.

Tapering is whack, y'all.


  1. i still can't believe you did this. holy shit.

  2. luke actually has some serious guns...
    and I'm so pumped for the part of those glorious 2 months that I will spend mere inches from you as we explore the US in (almost) its entirety.

    i cannot wait.