This past weekend marked “the beginning of the end” — the beginning of the Akron marathon taper and the end of balls-to-the-wall hard runs until Akron (to a degree) and MCM (the real deal). Sunday morning I, along with about 17k other people, ran the Chicago Half Marathon on the city’s south side. I had signed-up for this race, thinking that it’d afford me some cool glimpses into the Hyde Park ‘hood, but unfortunately the course had changed, so we spent most of our time on LSD in pure, unadulterated sunlight… going straight… blech. Not exactly the most exotic of my Chicago races. No worries, though: it was just a MP training run, so I was pretty satisfied with my 1:51 finish. Though my goal will likely change (again), I think I’m shooting for a 3:50 Akron finish and a 3:40 MCM finish. We’ll see how the weather (and my body) holds out.
When I trained for my first few marathons, the taper waiting game KILLED me. I was nervous beyond nervous. I knew I wasn’t supposed to do any more arduous running — to cut down on my mileage, or my intensity, or both — but NOT running only made me THINK about running (and thus, my race) even more … making me have butterflies in my stomach 24/7. In fact, the day before my first marathon (Chicago 2007 – the hot one), I had butterflies in my stomach ALL DAY LONG to the extent that my stomach physically pained me.
My, how things change.
I now welcome the taper game. It means sleeping a little bit longer, leisurely reading a few more pages each day, even (gasp) getting a little ahead of my grad school assignments and readings. I have never really believed that running “eats up” a lot of my time, but I will say that it’s impressive what else you can do in its absence… but then again, maybe my anxiety just manifests itself differently now 🙂