Taper crazies …

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I started training for the Mississauga Marathon on January 11, as soon as my sports physiotherapist told me it was OK to start building distance. This was, by far, my longest build for any race, ever, but I really wanted to make sure that my body could handle the 42.2 when race day arrived. Goal one is to finish the race (especially important after my heart-breaking DNF in the fall) and goal two is to shave 20 minutes off my previous marathon PB and try to come in under the Boston Qualifying time for my age group, which is 3:35. To play it safe, my goal is a 3:30, which honestly still feels incredibly fast.

For this race, I followed a program through the Nike+ Running App, which I appreciated for its push notifications reminding me about each run. Plus, there’s a small measure of satisfaction in seeing the little green checkmarks and the progress bar as you inch closer to race day.

The first 12 weeks of my 16 week build flew by, lining up perfectly with my races at the Chilly Half Marathon and Around the Bay. I logged treadmill and outdoor runs at home in Toronto and on the road in San Francisco, New York and Jamaica.

Peak week, which was week 13 for me, always stresses me out. This time it was partly due to fitting in my runs around a busy week at work and partly just looking at the sheer volume of runs the week after a race. My Saturday long run, which was supposed to be 35K and ended up being 38K, was windy and somewhat miserable. But the second I finished it, I couldn’t stop smiling. The hay was in the barn, the work was done, and it was time to eat all the things and enjoy my taper.

Of course, I never actually enjoy my taper. I miss the activity. I have trouble sleeping. Race nerves start up, leaving me questioning whether I really trained enough. The aches and pains settle in – is that twinge in my hip an injury, or was I just sitting funny? I overthink, worry and re-evaluate.

Race day is in two weeks. For the next 13 days, my mantra is going to be, quite simply, “You’re ready.” Let’s hope it stays true.