I'm in the tapering period for the Flying Pig. It's two weeks away. The neverending taper debate is two weeks or three. I've gone both ways, with mixed results. Before one of my fastest marathons, a 3:02 in Chicago in 2002, I ran in a 100-mile relay race two weeks before the marathon. All told, my portions were about 20 miles of hard running. I was no worse for the wear. Other times, I went with two weeks and felt stale. Who knows? One thing is for sure, the taper is the worst part of preparing for a marathon, for me at least. Some people look forward to the relaxation, but I don't find it relaxing. My body finds it disconcerting that all of a sudden it's not exerting itself as much. As one message board poster put it, "We're in the barn now." During my run today, I thought up some signs a runner is tapering.
1. You say things like, "I'm only running 12 miles today."
2. Meetings at work seem even longer.
3. You are absolutely positive you've hurt your hamstring, calf, IT band and back.
4. You register to post on Runners World message boards.
5. Maniacally checking weather forecasts 10 days in advance.
6. Running feel sluggish until four miles, but you're only going five.
7. A treat is not eating pasta.
8. Hours are spent debating the right socks.
9. Trying to sleep, you resemble a hot dog at 7-11 turning around and around.
10. Chariots of Fire winds up in the NetFlix queue.
12.2 miles, 1:26:14