Taper Madness? What is that you say? Well, if you've ever trained for weeks, or months for an event and then tapered off the the last couple of weeks to get rested up and ready, then you obviously know what I'm referring to. If not, let me explain.
Weeks and weeks of high intensity, high mileage training. Hours and hours on the road, in the gym, tempo runs, VO2 max runs, long runs, weights, core work, dieting, more running all while taking in tons and tons of calories. Then all of a sudden you start hitting the brakes. Backing off the mileage, backing off of the weights, hopefully backing off of the calories. The amount of time spent training is decreasing and all of a sudden you find yourself filling that time with all sorts of crazy thoughts. Did I train enough, am I using the right shoes, should I try a different electrolyte gel, do these shorts make my butt look fat? Okay, maybe not the last one, but you get the idea. It's mayhem between the ears. Weighing yourself two or three times a day, checking the 14 day weather forecast and contemplating clothing options for every 10 degree change. It's just crazy how it gets in your head.
You start feeling all sorts of aches and pains, everything is exaggerated. Slight aches and pains all of a sudden feel like debilitating injuries. Minor soreness? Is that a stress fracture, oh no, I've got a stress fracture. Bump your leg on a piece of furniture and the next thing you know you're flopping around on the floor writhing in pain with a broken leg. This can't be happening, I have a race to run and I just broke my leg.
And if it's not the thoughts of pain and injury getting to you, it's the urge to buy "stuff". Stuff you don't need. Stuff you won't use. Stuff you'll later pick up and just shake your head wondering "what in the world was I thinking".
Well, madness has set in here folks. Bad. It's not a spending madness, but the injury madness. As I've previously discussed, the hip has been an issue. Seeing the PT twice a week has me feeling better some days and others not so much. This past Monday I went ahead and decided to go with the cortisone shot in the left hip/glute area to see if that would help with the inflammation. That was gonna be it. The "magic" I needed to get me through this.
I must have been smokin' crack! I went out yesterday with a couple of training partners and did and easy 6.25 mile run and low and behold, my hip reminded me for the last 6.24 miles that it was not all healed up. What in the world? I thought that was going to take care of it? It bothered me running a 7:45/mile pace. How in the world am I going to run 6:18 and survive?
Well, there in lies the reason for the madness. Another 6+ mile run today and pretty much the same feeling. I honestly don't know what to do. I don't know if I'm going to go with my original goal and just run thru the pain and discomfort out or back off a bit and try to find some middle ground. Or better yet, do I back off a lot and just enjoy the run being sure to save enough for Big Sur?
If I wasn't so damn competitive that would be no brainer. Easy run both days, collect two finishers medals, challenge completed, thank you very much. See you next year. But it's not that easy. That's just not the way this boys brain operates. It's a legitimate competition. And if it's a competition, it's not for fun. And that doesn't mean that I won't have fun, it just means that I don't do it for fun. I am having a real problem grasping the concept of doing something for fun. I wish I could. I wish I could embrace and love it. But it ain't happening. At least not yet.
In the back of my head I know I did my last 20 miler with a fair amount of discomfort and pain at a pretty good clip. I've got that in my back pocket for confidence. If I run that pace for 26.2, I break 3 hours. But if I did that, can't I knock 10, 15, 20 or even 30 seconds per mile off? Maybe still get my goal? That's the dilemma right now. How long can my body hold up and allow me to carry that intensity? I'm pretty certain that I have a fairly high pain threshold so that doesn't concern me. But instead, I have that little part of me that wonders if parts will break or tear. Will the inflammation get so bad that I just have to shut it down? That's what I want to avoid. That's what I must avoid.
So as I sit here today, I am seriously thinking I will go out a bit slower than goal pace, maybe something in the 6:30 - 6:40 pace and see how that feels for the first 5-7 miles, maybe more. I think my body will communicate with me loud and clear how it feels and we'll just take it mile by mile after that.
While I really want to go as low as possible with my time, I have to be realistic. I'm not 100%, not close, and in all reality, I'll be pretty thrilled when I cross that finshline on Boylston Ave and my family is there to celebrate with me. I'm sure the sight of my wife and kids and crossing that line will bring a lot of emotion to me no matter what the clock says when I cross.
So let me get back to my madness, not to mention the madness of tax season thrown in there just to make it interesting. I plan on getting in maybe 50 miles of easy running over the next 10 days in effort to maintain some level of fitness in this taper mode. I'll be back before Boston to let you know what I have decided on for sure.......until I change my mind again of course.
And thanks again to those contributing to the Center and for all the support I've got on a daily basis. The interest level from so many friends has been overwhelming. I appreciate that very much!