Taper Madness

It's almost time, folks.  Five days from now I will be toeing the line at the start of my 9th marathon. But until then, I've got a few more days of the taper to survive!   I truly enjoy the daily grind of training - the 20-milers, the hard mid-week workouts - I feel most like myself when I'm in the thick of training.  During the taper I feel....adrift.  Unsettled.  I know I must rest and let my body recover before the race, but I miss my routine and begin to suffer from what many of us affectionately refer to as "taper madness".    How do you know if you are in full-on taper madness mode?  Have a look at my handy checklist:

  • 10-day Weather Expert - As soon at that 10-day forecast comes out, I'm on it.  And though the weather is definitely one variable I know I can't control, I'm somehow drawn to checking that stupid 10-day forecast every day.10-days out:  Rain?!  Bleh!!  8 days out - Oooh! No more rain, and a start around 49 degrees wouldn't be bad...7-days out:  Hmm...53 at the start is creeping up quickly into "too hot" territory...5-days out:  Yikes.  That starting temp of 54 looks warm for racing!!
  • Gear Obsession - Once I've seen today's updated 10-day forecast, I am now free to obsess about the gear I'll run in. Garmin?  No Garmin? Dig out the Timex watch?  (Do I remember how to work the Timex watch?) The shorter, lighter shorts that sometimes-but-not-all-the-time chafe? Thicker shorts that don't chafe but feel pretty heavy (and ride up) when they are wet?  Singlet?   Short sleeves?  Blind everyone with my super-white skin and go with the sports bra and shorts?   You know it's bad when you start WEIGHING your shorts to determine which pair is truly the lighter one.   And don't even get me started on shoes.Lululemon shorts vs....Oiselle shorts! And Oiselle shorts are the winner!

  • Training Amnesia - The taper always makes me doubt both my fitness and my training.  I find myself having to constantly look back at my log in an effort to remind myself that all of my hard-earned fitness is not magically evaporating into thin air.  I ran a solid 18-miler just over a week ago, right???  And just because today's little 6-mile run didn't feel so easy there's no need to panic - I can run over a minute and a half per mile faster than this....for 26.2 miles....yes??   Maybe??  Gahhhhhh.....Reminding myself I've put in the work...
  • Phantom Pains - In every taper I seem to have something crop up juuuuust as I'm starting to think I'll get to the start line in one piece.  Ghosts of injuries past?  Or simply my body healing all the little tears in the muscle?  Who knows.  This time around it's the tendonitis in my foot that seems to be choosing this exact moment to make a reappearance.  I'm hoping it's more in my head than anything else but I'm icing it anyway and hoping race day nerves/adrenaline will make it a non-issue.
  • Hungry, Hungry Hippo - Wait, no second afternoon snack today?  What do you mean I can't eat that giant stack of pancakes AND some eggs and bacon?  My body does not seem to understand (or enjoy) the fact that it is no longer running 90 miles a week and therefore does not get to eat accordingly.
  • Carb Overload:    I was eagerly awaiting my Monday trip to the grocery store.   Time to stock up on all my supplies for the upcoming carb-loading phase that starts on Thursday.  Normally I'm all about the whole grain goodness but in the last few days before the race I try to stick to less fiber-filled foods and go with relatively bland, high-carb, salty stuff.  I know I'll be sick of bagels and pretzels by Sunday but for now I'm excited to feel like I'm getting one step closer to that starting line.Carb overload! P.S. - Who remembers Kix cereal?!  Love it.
  • Normal Person attire/schedule -  Since I'm no longer running doubles and have stopped weight training this week, I've had some extra time on my hands.  While my body is telling me that it feels weird to not be heading to the gym, my mind has convinced me to try out the life of a normal person this week.   I ran this morning, showered and THEN....instead of getting back into athletic wear for workout #2, I got dressed in normal clothes!!!   In jeans!!  And I had time to get my hair cut!!  Woo hoo!!   I'm living it up over here, you guys.Now that I'm not running doubles I have time to get my haircut!

The finished product.  (At home, after it dried.  I still had to run out of there with it wet like a crazy person so that I wouldn't be late getting the girls from preschool) I even had time for a quick hot chocolate date with one of my little goofballs.

T-minus 4 days...good thoughts appreciated!

Taper Madness survivors - what other "symptoms" did I miss?  Tell me there are others out there that are as crazy as I am!  :)  Quick - what's your favorite race-worthy mantra/phrase that you use to psych yourself up?