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So we’re in the final stretch.

I hate this part.

It’s not because of the taper.  It’s not the anticipation.  It’s not even the knowledge that at some point during the Boston Marathon I will doubt myself.

No.

The part I hate most about the home stretch to Hopkinton is that for the next week and a half, I am going to be walking around scared, frightened and jumpy.

Luau!  You have nothing to be scared of!  You’ve got 5 marathons (and 1 Boston) under your belt.  You know what to expect! What’s there to be scared of?

It’s not the race that I’m scared of people.  Marathons are hard; marathons hurt, but man do I love them.

It’s everything else…and I mean EVERYTHING!

Everywhere I look is a potential hazard.

A toy on the floor, picking up the kids, going to the bathroom in the middle of the night – each and every one of these things, along with everything else in the world, is an injury waiting to happen – a slip, a pull, a stub.

That coughing classmate of Katie’s, the sniffling parking attendant at Jess’ work, that feverish looking checkout clerk at the grocery store – they are all out to get me sick right before the start.

Even food, glorious food, is fraught with danger – does it smell a little funny?  is it gonna give me an upset stomach? could there be e.coli in it?

I am a scared little boy right now.

Don’t ask me to get anything off the high shelf.  Don’t ask me to pick up anything heavy.  Don’t breath near me if you even have a hint of a sniffle (I don’t care if you say it’s allergies!). Don’t walk anywhere near my feet.  If you need to talk to me, call me…no, better yet, don’t – I don’t want to stumble as I walk to get the phone.

I would say that I just want to curl up in bed and sleep until the 18th, but I’m afraid of sleeping funny and waking up with a crick in my neck!

Yes, I hate this part.

Be careful fellow Boston Marathoners, you never know where the next injury is coming from.

Excuse me while I go wrap myself in Charmin and bubble wrap.

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Why do you run?

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Bounce

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Do you feel that?

That almost rhythmic bounce? A rapid, nervous hammering?

Do you feel it?

Do you know what it is?

It baffles scientists every year around this time.  It’s in the air, it’s in the ground, it’s in the pit of our stomachs.

I finally figured out what is causing it.

It’s the up-and-down movement of over 27,000 knees as runners preparing for the Boston Marathon enter their taper*.

***

Despite this being my 6th marathon in 18 months, I can already tell this taper is going to be the hardest yet.  I’ve trained harder and run longer than any other training cycle – I just want Boston to get here.

What do you do to deal with the taper?

*For the uninitiated – the taper is the last 2 – 3 weeks of training for a marathon.  During this time, runners reduce their weekly miles somewhat dramatically, leading to what many call Taper Madness – an overflow of nervous energy where runner don’t know what to do with themselves and often get a little grumpy.

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Why do you run?

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Definition –

Physics.
a.
the property of matter by which it retains its state of rest or its velocity along a straight line so long as it is not acted upon by an external force.

It’s been a week since Providence, 3 since Boston and 6 since the Eastern States 20. Despite, or rather because of the 3 races, I have essentially been in a state of constant tapering for about a month and a half.

I miss running.

Yes, I’ve run the races, enjoyed the crowds and had a lot of fun. But I miss the miles. I ran only 82 miles in April. I know that’s nearly 20 miles a week and for many people that’s a lot, BUT compare that to the 160 I ran in January and 210 I ran in March, and you can see how it might feel a little light. It’s all a matter of perspective, I know. So now that the big races are over, it’s time to ramp it up again, right?

Well, it should be, but there’s a problem. There’s this thing I’m fighting. A universal law that is very, very powerful. It’s called inertia, and I’ll tell you right now, it’s very hard to fight.

Now I know I just put up a post about downsizing, but that was more about the races I chose to run rather than the monthly miles.

I WANT to run. I do. But I’m finding it hard to make the time. That’s really all it takes. I just need to make the time, but right now, I’m finding it very hard to do so. Don’t get me wrong. The time is there. I could get up early, I could stay up late, I could stop sitting in front of the computer typing away on Run Luau Run and make the time. It’s just that I haven’t. It’s almost as if that taper that started at the end of March doesn’t want to stop. And unfortunately, the Taper has the universe on it’s side. Inertia is a real pain in the ass.

So this week I will fight the universal laws and I will drag my butt outside and just do it. The amazing thing about inertia is that it works both ways. That’s why tapering is so hard to begin with, right? So I’ve just got to build up a little momentum and inertia should take care of the rest. There’s gotta be a few other things in my life that I could apply this science to. Maybe I could finally start writing that book. Force myself to write for two weeks and inertia can take care of the rest.

It’s time to run. Here I go…right now…see me going?…what’s that? Celtics highlights are on Sportscenter? Maybe I’ll go afterward…

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Full Disclosure So I actually wrote this post about an hour before I picked up my new Vibram Bikila’s. They should definitely help me motivate!

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Taper

I kind of make it up as I go

– @britishbulldog (winner of the ’09 Cayman Marathon) on how he approaches his marathon training


And so it begins…the part of the training cycle many of us dread – the Taper.

Two weeks before race day and we’re supposed to drop our mileage by 20 – 40%. Since I haven’t been following a particular training program – encouraged to make it up as I go – see above – I’m not exactly sure what to do for the next 2 weeks.

My training program has essentially been “run a lot” – and I have. With 250 miles in five weeks, a little over 600 in the 16 weeks leading up to this point, I know that I need to lighten the mileage, but I also know that I need to keep using the engine to stay sharp. Maybe the plan should just be “run less”.

What to do, what to do.

Last Friday I went out for what was supposed to be an easy four miler. I came back with a non-race PR of 26:30, a hopping 6:38 pace. The weather, the rest day before, my first run of April all combined to tempt me into flying. It was a fantastic run, but I know that it wasn’t the smartest thing to do. You start running at top speed and you raise the risk for injury. I don’t want to do that right before my race.

The running gods smiled on me a couple of weeks ago. I need to respect that and be smart in these next two weeks leading up to Boston. The problem for me is, I’m not sure what that means. Right up to Eastern States I was piling on the weekly mileage, and my legs felt pretty fresh. Do I continue that approach this week? Put in 40 – 50 like I want to? or would taking it easy these two weeks make my legs feel even fresher? I just don’t know. Unfortunately, experience lies on the other side of this race.

Why do we hate the taper so much? Is it habit? Addiction? Shouldn’t our bodies welcome the reduced pounding that is marathon training? Whatever the reason, I know, KNOW, that these next two weeks are going to be the most difficult part of the training for me.

And of course, if I fail in my attempt to qualify for Boston at Boston, how do I approach the next 13 days before Providence? It’s going to be an interesting month. With 2 marathons in less than 2 weeks, I don’t anticipate April’s mileage approaching March’s. Is there such a thing as a month-long taper?

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