Friday, April 15, 2011

A Case of Taper-itis

The Big Day is here. Almost.

I'm still working on the last-minute checklist for the Boston Marathon. The list includes the must-do’s, like checking into my hotel and getting to the expo to pick up my bib number, and the want-to’s, like buying the official Boston Marathon jacket.

It seems nearly impossible that race day is already here, impossible that I’ve gone through six months of training. It’s funny how time can move so quickly.

At same time, it’s funny how time can move so slowly.

While the last six months have been a whirlwind – filled with wintry runs, strength-training sessions in the gym and fund-raising efforts – the last few weeks have crept along at a snail’s pace.

The final phase of marathon training is the taper. My official trainingfor the past week or so has included instructions to run fewer miles, sleep more, work less, convert my diet to 70 percent good carbs, hydrate plenty and avoid anything that my cause me to get hurt.

Seems like it would be the easiest part of training, doesn’t it? It’s most certainly a welcomed physical change, but in reality it’s tough on the mind.

My mind tells me that I’m not doing enough to be ready for the marathon, despite the fact that I know that rest and recovery is an essential part of the training. My body is repairing the damage I’ve done during training and preparing to come out stronger and perform better than ever.

I’ve spent the last few weeks enduring something much tougher than the long runs. I’ve been suffering though a maddening case of taper-itis.

It started with marathon-related dreams, not dreams of the cheering crowds and smiles at the finish line. These were dreams of losing my bib number and dreams that, at Mile 17, I looked at my watch for the first time and realized I’d already been running for more then six hours.

There was my personal favorite dream during which I was forced to eat a heaping pile of Chinese food just before the run.

Luckily, I know this is perfectly normal. My marathon-running friends have shared their own dreams of their shoes being stuck to the pavement just feet before the finish line and dreams of getting lost during the marathon.

There was also my new-found obsession with checking the weather. I discovered nearly a month ago that Accuweather provides a very long-range forecast. I checked it nearly every day – not that it really did much good.

One day the forecast for Marathon Monday would be sunny and 70 degrees (way too hot for runners used to winter training). The next, it would read 40 degrees with a mix of rain and snow. I began to wonder if the meteorologist were just messing with us. Finally, it seems to have settled somewhere in the high-50s or low-60s with on-and-off clouds. Just about as perfect as we could want.

I chuckled last week when a friend of mine, also running the Boston Marathon, sent me a completely panicked email that the forecast had changed to 82 degrees. Apparently he’d forgotten that he switched the location on his iPhone app while traveling in Texas last week.

Yes, we’re all suffering a bit of taper-itis.

We’ve also done full dress rehearsals, literally. I “practiced” running in the pair of shorts I plan to wear. I tested out socks. I made sure my hair will be pulled back in a way that won’t bother me for 26.2 miles.

I tested race-day breakfasts, marathon fuel (I’ve settled on Swedish Fish, the perfect sugary addition I’ll need to keep me going) and figured out just when and what I’ll drink along the way.

I’ve planned race day logistics – getting to the starting line, wearing throw-away clothes to keep me warm while I wait for the race, and meeting people on the course (I hope) and at the end of the race.

I gathered bits and pieces of advice from Boston Marathon veterans, and prepared my race plan, mile by mile.

I even tried to get more sleep, spent less time at work and avoid anything that might cause a last-minute injury. As much as I wanted to get on my bicycle during last weekend’s spring weather, I couldn’t bear the thought of falling.

There’s only one thing left to do: Run the 115th Boston Marathon.

*REMEMBER, I'm running the Boston Marathon to help save lives!**

We passed the $5,000 mark ... and we're still goingl! Please visit my fundraising page to support a good cause and learn more about a very special little boy. Thank you for your support!


  1. love your blog! one of my new faves! i'm feeling the exact same way! just trying to remember that i am ready for this!

  2. Predict your own weather:


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