Tapering Runner Ahead

I can’t sleep, I worry about every little twinge in my body and I’m too distracted to even pack. In a word, I’m tapering. Ah, the taper – you either love it or hate it. It drives me a little nuts since I feel like I have all this extra time, but I fill most of that with fretting about whether my goal pace is appropriate or backpedaling on which shoes to wear. Instead of falling asleep, my mind races around about travel logistics, whether I should pack that many darn shoes and how on earth I’m supposed to squeeze in seeing all of my old friends in Boston on Monday after the race. And don’t get me started on weather – I’ve seen everything from rain to wind to snow to sun forecasted for race day. That doesn’t really help the packing situation. Sadly, all of this is pretty normal for me in the last week or two before a marathon. But something about it being the Boston Marathon just exacerbates the taper madness a tad more.

Boston. That word has so many meanings to so many runners: hope, challenge, weather, hills, elusive, heartbreaking, fun, crazy, history…. I could go on. For me, the Boston Marathon is what got me into this whole marathoning mess to begin with. When I took a half-hour break from work eight years ago to check out the marathon, I had no idea how much it would change my life. Though I’d never run more than 5 miles that day, as I watched the race unfold before my eyes, I knew right then and there that I had to run that race. No matter how much blood, sweat and tears it took to get there (and for the record, it was a lot of the latter two). It took several attempts before I first qualified but in the end, it was all the sweeter. I ran Boston last year and simply loved every bit of it – the atmosphere of the weekend, the crowds on the course and even running past where I’d first watched the race as a spectator. For me, Boston means going back to my roots as a runner and I found it hard not to sign up again this year because of that.

But because of those roots, I am simply bouncing off the walls right now. I’m full of nerves, anticipation, fear, excitement, apprehension…. I can’t wait for Marathon Monday to get here. But yet, I feel like I need more time for all I have left to do: packing, a last minute massage, a last test run, confirming hotels, printing off articles on the course, coordinating meeting up with friends, practicing my Boston accent, deciding on shoes, getting the right gear for the right weather, staring at maps, eating a whole lot of carbs, and most importantly attempting to actually sleep. So much to do and so little time.

Meanwhile, here at The Biofreeze San Francisco Marathon headquarters, I’m feeling like there is so much to do to make this July’s race great. It doesn’t involve last minute massages (though maybe it should… hmm…), but it does involve a lot of coordination and planning to culminate with a great event. An event which also will have thousands of runners anxiously awaiting their big day, fretting about whether their goal pace is appropriate or backpedaling on which shoes to wear…

I guess it’s all part of this sport: anticipation. And as much as it’s driving me nuts, I wouldn’t change it one bit. Especially as I’m getting ready to start the carbo-load part of the taper. I mean, what runner doesn’t like carbs?

Love the run.

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