Tapering (or… I Am Slowly Going Crazy)

I know – I’ve been looking forward to tapering for a while now.  Especially during freezing cold long runs and icy intervals.  However, I like to complain, so here are some things which have me going a bit bonkers in preparation for my upcoming marathon this weekend:

  • Not having a big challenge ahead in my runs makes it harder (for me) to “get up” for them.  For some reason I can get excited and focused if I have a tough 10 miler scheduled.  If I’m just putting in 5 miles I find it really hard to stay motivated to even go out.
  • I’m supposed to start feeling good and fresh for having taken down the mileage, but I started my first taper week (last week) in utter exhaustion which was unexplainable based on my reduced training.  I really should start adding things like “rushed from work to take two kids to the doctor on orders of daycare because of an unexplained rash which turned out to be dry skin – made it home 3 hours later and husband was away on business so had a glass of wine to calm myself down after I’d finally gotten everyone to bed” to my training log to give a fuller picture. Too much effort though.
  • I’m hyper aware of every little niggly injury or pain, and in fact they seem to be getting worse.  I am familiar with this phenomenon, and I even warn people I coach about it – I’m not sure of the real scientific reasoning, but I’ve always believed it has to do with your body finally having the energy to address the injuries and so they’re getting better.  How to account for my sudden lower-back pain and tightness though???  I know – lifting kids into and out of things who really should be doing it themselves, but I’m always in a rush.  Still, why right now???
  • Questioning and second-guessing my fitness.  I have to go back and read my logs to remind myself that I’ve done the work.

(Yes, I’m still that old-school with my logs)

  • I use running as more than a means to a racing goal – it is my everyday therapy.  Without the same amount of “me time” (because let’s be honest – I’m not waking up at 5 a.m. to replace running with anything else) I’m way more irritable, jumpy and way less zen about pretty much everything.
  • I feel fat.  There, I said it.  I know I need to build up my carbohydrate stores and that my muscles store two grams of water for every gram of carbohydrate.  I will rely desperately on these stores at mile 20 or so of the marathon.  However right now, as I eat as much as usual and burn off less than half, I feel like a blob.  A globby blob.
  • See?  Crazy.  Three more days.  Then I can see if this has all paid off.  And you can bet that the week after the race I won’t feel like running a step and I won’t have all of these weird psychologies at play.  Good Grief – bring it on and release me from this torture!!!

Set Back

I’m sure you’re all wondering how my valiant attempt at 70 miles went this week.  Well, I came down with the flu.  Despite a fair dose of denial, and trying to “get out there anyway” the first few days, the reality has hit and I’ve spent the best part of the last 5 days here:

And here and here

Since no full-blown flu really counts unless your whole family gets it too – musical sick-beds we’ve been playing for the past week.

It’s day 6 of the flu today and I’ve taken three full days off.  My rule of thumb: if you feel up to a small run when you’re a bit under the weather, you should go for it.  Getting out can help you to feel normal and it does boost your immune system (studies show that going for a run just after having had the flu shot increases it’s effectiveness http://runningmagazine.ca/2013/01/sections/news/study-running-doubles-effectiveness-of-flu-shots/).  However, if you have a fever and body aches, take the time to rest – you won’t be able to increase your fitness while feeling like that anyway and can further compromise your body’s ability to fight the bug.

Today, despite telling myself I’m on the mend, I’m feeling as weak as a kitten for not having eaten much over the past few days.  (Two real indicators that I’m sick – no eating and no running).

ok, he’s not exactly a kitten, and not all that weak, but I feel something like this:

I tried to run today and made it for 4.5 slow miles to finish my week at 25.5.

Tomorrow I have some uncharacteristic time to run and I had hoped to use it to get a long run in.  I’m no longer so optimistic, but I’ll see what I can do.  I’m curious how long it will take me to get my strength back.  70 mile week – I’m coming!!!!

Do you run when you’re sick?  What are your rules for going or not going?

Perspective

Here’s the funny thing about perspective – it’s hard to really change yours until you’re really forced to see it from someone else’s.  My days move along by my accomplishing tasks.  I like to check one thing off the list and move onto the next.  This mentality suits my running quite well, but I seem to maintain it when dealing with my kids.  A typical Saturday involves me dressing them, feeding them, taking them to at least one activity to burn off energy and get them all out of the house, and this all has to be planned around my and my husbands’ endurance activities and chores which need to get done.  SO, I tend to end up spending a lot of time “running the show” and trying to get people to move on to the next activity.

After an afternoon of swimming and lunch with the kids the other day, I looked at  some of the video my 5 yr old had been taking.  All I can say is that we were in completely different worlds.  The one below was taken (without my knowing) while I was trying to wrap up lunch and get the kids in their bike gear so we could get home.  I had been making “we’re leaving now” noises for about 10 minutes before this video was filmed.  I was busily trying to get kids to finish their “last bit”, get into their snowsuits, pack up all activities which were lying around the table, pay the bill and get on to the next daily activity.  As you can see, I am in no way the central character in this world.  In fact, I think my voice actually sounds like the adults in Charlie Brown.  There is an entirely different agenda here, and it’s not rushed or stressed – it’s completely in the moment.  Does it look like the author of this video is trying to get his stuff together and get ready to get out the door?  Sigh…

It took discovering and watching this to fully understand how difficult it must be for someone living in the moment to understand and comply with “my agenda” all the time.  I have a mental “to do” list, and they can’t see it.   And here I thought my kids’ worlds revolved around me.  Hunh…  Sometimes it’s good to slow down and see the world as a 5 yr old does.  Showing more patience was one of my New Years’ resolutions and I’ll try to apply it to my running and my family.  Goodness knows – I need it!!!