October 24, 2011

The Backwards Taper (Also: Why Blogger and I Are Not Speaking)

Ed: This post was written, published, and subsequently eaten by Blogger on Friday between the hours of 4 and 7. Thankfully, the text was still living in the depths of my computer at work, so I'm trying this again. Sorry for the delay!

Tomorrow morning I will be up before the sunrise, grumbling as I rifle through my closet, searching for a pair of socks that actually match, sleepily pulling on layers to prepare for both frigid and sweaty (possibly at the same time), and hopefully stumbling out the door just in time to make it to the starting line. The fact that the sun is scheduled to come up at the exact same minute the gun goes off is less than thrilling. The fact that it is supposed to be 45° at that minute is downright depressing. My only consolation right now is that it is only a 10k, so barring any catastrophe, by 8:30 I'll be snuggled back up in my sweats and my biggest concern will be french toast vs. hash browns for breakfast (these are important decisions, people).
Even though this is a short race and I am fairly confident that I could make it 6.2 miles even in pretty awful conditions (Dear Racing Gods: That was not an invitation for rain, wind, or snow. Thanks for understanding.), I can't help but feel like I've done everything exactly wrong when training for this race. I have, however, discovered a foolproof way to avoid the "taper crazies" going into a race: get them out of the way early.
Last week, I struggled through several long days of no running (and all the mental anguish that comes with that) as I waited patiently begrudgingly for my shins to get their act together. I felt sluggish and guilty for most of the week, uttered a few choice words every time I walked down a flight of stairs and felt the pain in my legs reappear, and lay awake each night positive that the unanticipated break would ruin any chance at a decent race tomorrow. No amount of cross training lifted my spirits. I was cranky, stressed, and overly tired. All the horrible parts of a taper.... but no race to make it all worthwhile. Yuck.
By last Saturday, I was so determined to get in a few miles that I think I would have gotten out there even if my legs had been literally on fire. Thankfully, the pain was much better (though still not gone), and I declared myself officially cured. Looking back, I'm not convinced that I was completely healed (or that I am even now), but I wasn't having to stop every half mile to rub my shins and try not to cry, so I was happy. The plan for this week was short but consistent mileage to build my speed back up. Saturday and Sunday I forced myself to slow down, but the rest of the week I've been pushing the pace and fighting the voice in my head that continues to insist that I am exhausted. Which I am. But when you waste your taper two weeks before the race, you don't really have time to be exhausted.
I did give myself today off, so hopefully my legs will be at least a little rested by the time I hit that starting line tomorrow morning. I have a feeling that a lot of the other runners in this particular race are going to be serious and fast, so I'm hoping that their speed will push me a bit... although not too much because I'd rather not die halfway through. I do a lot of training runs around this distance but have never raced a 10k before, so I'm not totally sure what to expect and how to plan on pacing. Negative splitting is always a nice goal, but I'm not typically very good at that. If all else fails, I just want to be able to look back (over french toast... or hash browns?) and know that I ran the best race I could, despite pain and exhaustion and weird training schedules. Who knows? Maybe I'll surprise myself and have a great race... in which case you'll find me in line at the patent office on Monday, trademarking the backwards taper training method. 



0 had something to say:

Post a Comment


Blog Template by YummyLolly.com