The World Through My Shoes is my look at living this incredible gift God has given us. As a busy wife, mother and daughter I relish the alone time I receive on my early morning runs. It is in the stillness of those predawn mornings where I often am inspired. Thank you for taking the time to read my words.

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Taper : An Itch One Can't Scratch

Last week I entered into The Taper; the time in marathon training where the last long run has taken place and the mileage decreases before race day.  The hardest work is done, the endurance ability is created and the body is given permission to actively recover through less miles all in hopes to hit race day with a body well rested and ready to go.

Marathoners love to hate The Taper.  You think we would kick back and enjoy taking it easy; we don't.  Here are just a few reasons why.

Life is Just a Fantasy
Week after week as the miles build, the daydreaming begins.  During the last 22 miler before the marathon, you run and fantasize about all the free time you will have by not running so many miles each week.  The Taper and it's lower mileage look tall-stack-of-pancakes-smothered-in-syrup good; but it's not.  As soon as you cut the body a break, your brain takes over and you are acutely aware of every single twinge or ache or muscle or broken leg.  Panic sets in and you wonder if you are suddenly injured and question if you will make it to the starting line.

You realize the unicorns and glitter fantasy of The Taper has been stomped on by a T-Rex in full speed pursuit of it's dinner.  Which leads me to...

I Want a New Drug
Your brain is a magnificent organ which easily and happily facilitates your running addiction.  With The Taper in full swing the brain is no longer playing 9 year old boss of the playground with your legs.  The brain does not know how to handle this and looks around the body to find something else to pick on.  Without fail, the brain lasers in on the stomach and you are not thinking of marathon training anymore, you are thinking of milkshakes, french fries and pizza.  And somehow you convince yourself this is completely acceptable forms of carbo loading.

She Blinded Me With Science
There are many different training plans each with their own thoughts and ideas on how much to run in The Taper.  Yet all agree, The Taper is a necessary evil component to training.  The guys in white lab coats have proven resting does more good for the body than training hard up until race day.  Since they have lots of capitalized abbreviations behind their names, and shiny pocket protectors, I tend to listen to them.   Obeying them?  Well, um, that's not so easy.   

And The Walls Come Tumblin' Down
Once The Taper has started, nothing no longer stands between you and the marathon.  Waves of fear and anxiety become bedfellows with your nerves.  Before that last long run every run was a training run for an upcoming marathon; a marathon which was weeks or months away.  The Taper knocks down the wall you hid behind and shoves you right smack into reality.  The training is over, the marathon is almost here, and you are ready - no matter what taunts The Taper whispers in your ear.

Here I Go Again
With several marathons under my belt, one would think The Taper would be easy.  It isn't; and in honesty I would not want it to be.  My nerves doing the tango prove the marathon still matters to me.  The distance is hard, and it hurts, and it makes me learn things about myself.  I can't see the starting line without experiencing The Taper.  I can't see the finish line without crossing the starting line. 

And the finish line is worth it.  Oh, is it worth it.

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