The big psyche-out of the Taper

I am not crazy. My mind is just playing tricks on me. Or is it my body. I can feel fantastic running through Marathon training or Base training. I mean I can feel really fantastic. I cannot wait for more running and nothing really hurts. Sure I get injured with little strains or missteps or a bad stretch. Those things happen.

Recently, I have gone so far as to forget to take any Advil for running. This usually means before the run but can mean afterwards as well. It was a revelation when I was in the middle of some run around Bedford. As usual I was focusing on my form and my pace as well as the course. Yeah right. My mind was wandering further than my longest route. For some reason I was going over the things I had done before leaving for the gym. Pack up lunch, walk the dog, grab a Ego Waffle, jump in the car and go. Wait I forgot the pop the standard Advil. That was weird because I am usually in some considerable pain if I haven’t at least taken some pain killer. But I felt great. That feeling continued for the past couple of months.

Like I said there have been mini injuries and of course the big hurt I put on myself running up and down stairs for the Tackle the Tower. Evidently, it is the going down the steps that make the most after hurt. Kind of like the aftertaste of a bad beer but worse. For those things my friend Advil has been there for me.

Either way, pain has been a constant friend as well but very manageable. But about this time last year I heard about the psychological affects of the Taper on runners. The body is used to doing one thing and when that stops it is like losing a limb. The signal is still firing but there is no longer the actual sensation. I read this and thought I shall over come this for I am strong like Henry Rollins. Grrrr. I control my body and not the other way around. I was wrong. As I hit that time for Taper for the Cleveland Marathon last year I went out of my mind. My mileage was going down and I knew it was no good. I need to get out there and run and run a lot.

The same thing happened for the Marine Corps last fall. My body sent out “I hate you” smoke signals. Mostly from my ears. Every pain that was once a nuisance came to fore front of my walking. My shin was out of control and my knees felt crunchy. It was awful and I wanted to run just to stop the pain. By the way most my leg pain occurs when I walk. When I run the pain subsides. It is totally awesome.

Well, recently if you look at my Training Log you will see that I entered a Mini-Taper in order to better prepare for the Catch a Leprechaun 30K. It was nothing much I was just planning on lowering the intensity. My long run was just for leisure and the tempo and speed workouts were on hold for a week and a half. All was good and my training for the Flying Pig will be on track.

Oh was I wrong. My 16 mile run was rather uneventful which is a good thing but my feet have really bothered my since. The knees have been crunchy again. Those things happen. Hard training will do that but the piece that made me Concede to the Taper Psyche-out was the horrible ankle pain that hit me before I even got out of bed on Wednesday Morning. I mean nothing was done I just slept and my ankle almost killed me the entire day. It was one of those things were cutting it off was an option if only for a fraction of a second. I knew what would fix it. Run now, and run hard. I almost gave in but the Taper must be controlled not be in control of me.

As I think about it, the running taper is much like coming off of steroids. I was on them for a battle with Poison Ivy that turned my into the hunchback of Notre Dame. Needless to say the Poison Ivy won that battle. The steroids will mess with your head if you don’t ween off of them properly and because of my aversion to medications I didn’t ween. I would have climbed the wall if I could and that is my current reaction to the taper.

I say it again, I’m not crazy. My body is just playing tricks on me. Endure the Taper and the reward will be fresh legs. Or forget it and run hard and long.

Okay, maybe I am crazy.

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