On Saturday the crew and I worked our way up the coast a bit to visit some family and attended “opening day” for a local yacht club – no not our typical Saturday of basketball, soccer, and sweat. After a loooooong (especially if you’re 6 & 8) ceremony, they handed out sparkling cider & champagne for a toast.
For 10 minutes, the boys remained tortured holding their glasses of sparkling cider, but unable to drink the liquid goodness. I turned around and saw this:
Watching every bubble float, smelling the sweet nectar…but ah ah ah – no taste.
Getting to taper for a marathon is kind of like that. Months of feeling the sweat, tasting the electrolytes, feeling the pound of the pavement over and over and over…and well, you get it…but no real sense of what the 26.2 is going to look like.
You finish your training on tired legs and just wait for your body to get rest, restore and prepare for the 26.2 miles that lies ahead.
The close of my training wasn’t pretty.
Why yes, my son did take a nice crotch shot of my icing my groin. I may have forgotten the ice was there and was doing my “best dramatic post-long run pose”.
Actually none of this training cycle was pretty. At best, it was improvisational marathon training – at worst, it was a bunch of haphazard long-runs tossed in with a slightly more than average mileage sandwiched between a ridiculously busy winter schedule. Work, doctor’s appointments, school events, practices for this, that and the other, orthodontist appointments, soccer games, family priorities and sickness of every sort imaginable kind of dominated the training and I just did what I could, when I could do it.
And it ended with a 20-miler that went down in a ball of fury leaving a trail of self-doubt, regret and frustration about what’s going to happen in 3 weeks. Grrrr.
Of course, I started out my final (and sadly first) 20-miler all ready to kill it. I was mentally set to run 4 perfectly timed 5 mile blocks and while I got through 15 of them in spectacular fashion – the fatigue of not enough cutback weeks and sleep deprivation set in and miles 15-20 were about as spectacular as a bad Lifetime movie, which is to say, it was so bad that you could hardly look away.
Taste, but no real picture of what it’s going to look like. I sure just hope it’s better than the final chapter of the training.
What’s your best taper story?
How do you stay mentally tough after a really bad final workout?