Ready or not… it’s taper time!
In the last few days I’ve noticed that I’m feeling kind of crazy (more than normal anyway). I’ve been waking up in the middle of the night worried about something, but unsure of what. I’ve been going through the day with this anxious butterfly feeling in my stomach, waiting for my premonitions to show themselves. And then I realized I’ve felt this feeling before. And it can only mean one thing… it’s taper time.
Suddenly the memories of the weeks and days before T-Day come flooding back at rapid speed. Ah yes this anxious, nervous “I can’t focus on anything except this absurd physical challenge I’m about to attempt” feeling… which I’m told is normal? I’m also being told that I am ready (at least physically) but mentally… I so don’t feel ready.
After I finished my 12 Miler (my longest training run) I felt proud and accomplished… but also like I needed to run it one more time before I could feel confident about moving onto 13.1. I felt like one shot at that far of a distance is simply not enough to convince me I’m ready to do this. I told myself that all these worries would be addressed in my last long run the following weekend.
And as much as I was counting on my 9 miler calming all my doubts and fears… I never got to run it. Due to some recurring aches and pains (and my first x-ray at the age of 29!) my trainer decided that it was in my best interest to skip my last long run. So if I wasn’t in panic mode before… this officially elevated me to freak out zone. I angrily headed to the pool, wishing I was out hitting the pavement instead of swimming laps. I needed that last long run for my mental health. I needed to try my mid run fuel one more time. I needed to test my race day outfit. I needed to feel confident that I can actually run that far in one shot (My 12 miler was a team 5K followed by a run on my own so in my eyes that doesn’t count). Stop the clock. Back it up. I’m not ready.
But as un-ready as I feel this is it, there’s no turning back. There is no stopping the clock, there is no last minute cramming. My naivety in this situation is making it worse for me and part of me wonders- who do I think I am, trying to run a half marathon? How do I mentally get myself to a place where I can do this? What will 13.1 miles feel like? Everyone keeps telling me I’m ready but what if.. I’m actually not? I keep trying to remind myself that I’m feeling what every runner feels leading up to a big race… yet that doesn’t make these feelings any less real or scary.
I’m trying to remind myself to enjoy this time. This is it- these next 11 days are to runners what the 11 days before Christmas are to kids. You know exactly what I mean here. As the green and red paper chain got smaller and smaller you would get more and more excited and anxious. You’d imagine racing down the stairs and ripping into all the presents you painstakingly flagged in toy catalogues. Before you could blink on Christmas Morning everything would be opened, the presents put away, the wrapping paper cleaned up, and you were left with that “I have to wait a WHOLE year to feel this way again” feeling. If running my first half is anything like doing my first triathlon, I know that feeling will come. And for as nervous and unprepared as I felt leading up to T-Day, when I got in the water my body knew to do exactly what it had been trained to do. “Trust in your training”. 4 small words that are easy to say, yet so hard to practice. So right now I’m focusing on my Christmas Day. I’m trying to trust. I’m trying to envision what it will be like to run down that last stretch of the course, cross the finish line, have a medal put on my neck, and to bask in the bad ass glory of finishing my first half marathon.