Saturday, December 19, 2009

And so taper begins

With the prospects of nearly 2 FEET of snow arriving on the same weekend as my last long training run, I took Friday off with the intent of getting my last 20 mile run in. I knew I could do the 20, but since it had been about 5 weeks since the last time I did it, mentally I needed to do this before taper hit. Snow two weeks earlier interfered with my attempt to get 22 miles in, having to cut the run short about 17.5. I was disappointed, but at the same time knew that accomplishing that distance in those conditions was no small thing either. Last weekend, cold and very wet weather made even accomplishing 5 miles difficult, and again caused some doubts in my mind about what I am trying to do.

With so many other Disney runners hoping to get their last 20 in this weekend, I was extremely lucky to have the company of both of my marathon partners, as well as a couple of my friends from the Striders. We weaved all over Annapolis - back and forth over the infamous 450 bridge, around the Naval Academy, and through the streets of Eastport and West Annapolis before calling it quits around mile 13. The temperature was quickly beginning to drop and the cold and rough hills and bridges had taken their toll on us. While we were slightly disappointed not to get our full distance in, at the same time we knew the smarter thing to do was to listen to our bodies and not risk injury. We also knew that that run was more about quality over quantity. We found hot soup, and cheered that taper has begun.

Taper is when you scale back your mileage before the big race, typically for a couple of weeks, in order to rest your body. For some "taper madness" kicks in as well - doubts start forming about the months of training you've done, you worry about injury/illness/etc., etc., etc. I'm hoping to avoid much of this and generally stay calm. As many of you who know me though, this is not typical of my personality at times though. I keep reminding myself that I truly have done everything possible up to this point. And, I have the most amazing support system that will make this an experiece truly to never forget.

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