July 14, 2008

Taper Madness

It's just 6 days until race day, which means I should be tapering my training throughout the week and have a solid day or two of rest. You'd think after training pretty much non-stop for the past two months that I'd be looking forward to a little break. I haven't had an actual rest day since June 22 after all. But it turns out that's not the case.

I was supposed to do the early morning run course preview with some JackRabbit folks. I figured I'd do the run at a nice, slow pace and then go back to sleep. I woke up at 5, briefly asked myself what the heck I was doing, and slowly got out of bed. I put on my running gear and headed downstairs for some coffee when I heard a faint ticking sound on the window. Rain. I had checked Weather.com while lying in bed and it said nothing of rain. But a glance out confirmed that it was raining pretty hard. There was no way I was going to drag myself out for a 6 a.m. run in the rain. I sent a text and went back to bed, totally changing my plans for the day.

I decided to go for a swim instead. After open water, my stroke is often really off and takes a bit of practice to get back into shape. Since it was still drizzling and I was feeling out of sorts, I decided to walk to the pool instead of riding my bike thinking it might wake me up a bit. I had this feeling you sometimes get the day before you come down with the flu, where something isn't quite right, but you're not yet sick. So of course I had panicky thoughts of getting sick in these final critical days and that worried me all the way to Tribeca.

The pool was quiet so I was able to get in and out quickly without interruption. I did a slow warm-up of 450 yards with a little kicking mixed in, then two main sets of 450. I tried to do the second set faster, but to my dismay, it was exactly the same time as the first set. My shoulder was still a bit achy, but my form felt good. I never thought I would reach this point, but I'm feeling really comfortable with my swimming. I'm not fast, but I'm able to cover the distance easily and after tackling the challenging conditions at Brighton Beach this weekend, I'm feeling less anxiety about the Hudson. Of course we'll see how I feel at 6:29 a.m. on Sunday when my wave starts. I'm sure the fear will come flooding back in, but I'm prepared for it.

I finished swimming early and had the full day ahead to rest. And thus began my taper madness. I felt crabby, tired and frustrated. I was hungry all day even though I only did one short workout. I focused on tying up all sorts of loose ends in an effort to occupy my mind. First on the agenda was picking up my beautiful new Sidi T2 shoes at Cadence. They finally got my size and they are a perfect fit. I then headed up to JackRabbit to stock up on gels, an economy size Gatorade Endurance mix and CO2 refills. Since no one had the tinted goggles I needed, I ordered them online for rush delivery. But even after all of this, I was still having a taper tantrum. So I planned my training for the rest of the week so I'd have something to look forward to. My plan is to train normally tomorrow, then scale back Wednesday and Thursday before a full rest on Friday. I'll have the race expo and briefing to do on Friday so that will burn through unused energy.

I'm not nervous yet, but I know it's just around the corner. This is a place I could only dream of being just a few short months ago so I want to take it all in and enjoy every moment of this week. Even the highs and lows of the taper. Because when it's over, I'll inevitably miss having the goal to work toward. It's time to sign up for my next race.

Distance - 1350 yards (.75 miles)
Time - 40:00

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