The taper before any big race is known to most people as the period where the runner/athlete scales back on his/her training to recover in time for the race. However, for me, the taper means the 2-week period where I second guess every single thing I’ve done in the past months, convince myself that I’m not ready, get emotional over things I can’t control and have mood swings that would make even the most hormonal pregnant woman look calm and serene.
Taper Mood Swing #1: The cover photo for this blog is from the finish line of my first marathon. I’ve seen this photo a hundred times and I just love it. It’s from a view-point that is pretty unique – you see us from behind with the finish line in front of us – and we are all alone. My arms are in the air in celebration and I just remember how unbelievably happy I felt at that moment. It always makes me smile, even yesterday when I saw it, I couldn’t help but get a bit nostalgic and happy while looking at that photo again. But then I spotted my family on the sidelines of the photo. I could make out my dad in the bleachers and that was enough to take my “high” down to a “low”. I had a trickle of a tear fall down my cheek when I saw him and realized once again, that neither he nor my mom will get to see me finish the Fall 50. My dad had only seen me run that one marathon and my mom never even knew I was capable of running more than a mile or two. This just makes me so, so sad.
Taper Mood Swing #2: I have known for years – ever since I even started to contemplate the thought of running the Fall 50 – that I wouldn’t finish this race within the imposed 11-hour cutoff time period. It was never a thought that I’d be finishing within 11 hours and I’m okay with that. Well, I was until yesterday. The thought of doing all of this and “falling short” and not getting an official time really hit me hard. In one single, hormonal mood swing I felt like I had wasted my time training because “it’s not even going to count”. If it doesn’t count, then why the hell am I doing it? All of a sudden, I very much wanted this to count and I wanted to finish within 11 hours but with my GI issues that force me to make so many bathroom stops, it’s just not realistic. And then my sadness changed to anger. Anger over the fact that I have such an unbelievably bad digestive system that I could conceivably add 30-60 minutes onto my time just for bathroom stops. Seriously!?!??! How is this possible? How can my body be so fucked up? How have I not found a solution to this problem? And why do I have this and no one else? Why, I ask, why? It really fucking pisses me off. I’m healthy and active, I should have a better handle on my body than this. If it weren’t for my GI issues, there would be a really good chance that I could finish under 11 hours. That’s a hard reality to come to terms with and one that makes me sad and angry. Yesterday I was sad. And yes another tear trickled down my cheek. But today I’m angry. I’m also angry that the cutoff time is 11 hours. That’s bullshit. And it’s arbitrary. Unlike the Ironman, where no matter what Ironman you compete in, the cutoff is the same – 16 hours, 59 minutes and 59 seconds. But there is no set standard for a 50-mile race. I did a quick search today and I saw cutoff times as high as 13 or 14 hours. Thirteen or 14 hours, that’s so not fair.
Taper Mood Swing #3: I was in a good mood and excited about the Fall 50, but now, as I type this…. I’m so over it. I have no excitement. None. Someone just mentioned race week and I had to fake it for her because I have no excitement. And it’s not because I’m nervous. Right now, I’m nothing. Not excited, not nervous, not worried, not anxious…. I’m just over it. And even though, now at this time, I’m over it… I pity the person who I meet that doesn’t portray excitement about it. I’d probably punch that person in the throat!
So yeah, taper mood swings are running full throttle. But at this pace, I’ll cycle through all possible moods and emotions by noon on Thursday and then hopefully I’ll be back to being even-tempered and somewhat of a normal person once again. But until then… if you are going to have any contact with me… good luck!
Until next time,