Iiiit's taper tiiiiime! Taper. Not tapir, as I just misspelled it. Tapirs are weird elephant-pig creatures that zoos keep in order to baffle the public. There's something simultaneously cute and disturbing about those strange, melty faced beasts. Kicking myself for not owning a picture of a tapir to put on here now. Never occurred to me that I might need one. You'll have to use a search engine of your choosing.
Tapering, on the other hand, is reducing your mileage a couple of weeks before a big race. I've read countless books on running marathons since I took up recreational bimbling as a hobby, hoping that I would gain the ability to run one via osmosis. In my reading, I've learned that people usually have a hard time cutting down the miles. Probably because they've grown used to doing "what-the-fuck?!" length jaunts around their hometowns over several weeks and suddenly have to go back to sensible distances like what sane people do.
Well, I've had no problems in reducing mileage. In fact, I think I might be a bit too good at it. This week has been a big ole nightmare from start to finish. On Monday, I was missing CrossFit profoundly and feeling a bit cocky (always a winning combination), so I had the not-the-idea-of-a-dumb-frick-at-all notion that I would be able to attend a WOD (work out of the day in sensible speak) that was incredibly squat-heavy, and still be okay to run for the rest of the week, despite my near total lack of prowess when it comes to weighted squats.
Cue three days of the worst case of delayed muscle soreness I have ever experienced. In normal cases where this happens to me, I am a bit of a wobbly mess when faced with a simple staircase and may have to lower myself onto the loo by placing my palms flat on the seat and wincing until I'm sat down, but this was a whole other level.
Because of the weakness in my poor, battered pins, I teetered like a Weeble (Google it, millenials. They wobble...but they don't fall down! This is how we entertained ourselves before the internet) whenever it was required of me to just be stood up, and the basic act of walking made me look like a drunkard on a pair of the world's shortest stilts, sporting an aggressive facial twitch. Not pretty.
Also, I had/have a pretty nasty cold, which would have floored me even with all of my limbs functioning. Colds are another thing that I have learned is common to experience towards the end of a marathon training plan, when your immune system finally gets a look in as your body starts to wind down. Luckily, my legs are now working, and I'm seeing the light at the end of the tunnel where I can run again without coughing my lungs out and jogging over them. It's a sexy light, too. Check this beauty out from one of my runs:
Phwoar. Jealous much?
This morning, I had a revelation that makes me think I'm going to need a lot more underwear than normal this week. It's dawned on me that at the time of writing this (midday-ish), at this time next week, I will be two whole hours into the Liverpool Rock 'n' Roll Marathon. That's not even halfway for this stubborn tortoise. I know I'm excited, but I'm having difficulty in accessing that emotion under the sudden onset mist of panic that has clouded my brain. I feel like I'm in that part of Silent Hill where all the sirens go off and everything's going dark, and the baddie with the big cheese grater for a head is coming to get me.
I am terrified. Terrified of two things:
1. Not finishing
2. Hating every second of it
Logically, I know that I won't hate every second of it. There will be moments where I want to cry, tantrum and pray for unconsciousness, but without those moments, the elation, joy and sheer awe at just what the hell I'm doing will seem even more enhanced in comparison. Those emotional peaks are pretty much exactly why I run, so I know I'll just have to take the bad bits with it.
It's the idea of not finishing that's sending me into a tailspin. I can think of a billion reasons why I might not:
- Hating the experience so much that my body just sits down without my permission and refuses to get back up.
- Getting so hungry that I eat another runner and end up being arrested before I can finish.
- Taking a wrong turn and getting lost.
- Actually drowning as I forget I can't multitask and try to drink water and run at the same time.
- Suddenly morphing back into my pre-running self where running more than a few metres makes me want to keel over and immediately find consolatory ice cream.
- Falling down a man hole/tripping up/piano dropped on me from building/any other ridiculous scenario that results in me being horribly injured.
- Going so slowly that I can't finish inside the cut off time.
- Spontaneous human combustion.
- Remembering I suck at running up hills.
- Stampede of wildebeest like what happens to Mustafa in the Lion King.
- My feet fall off.
- My head falls off.
- My clothes fall off.
Still fucking nervous, though. S'pose I could go for a run to calm myself down... Novel idea.