Thursday, September 11, 2008

Taper Schedule

6:30 AM: The dream about having to stop to pee 47 times in 26.2 miles is thankfully interrupted by the alarm clock.

6:31 AM: Wonder if the alarm is loud enough for race day.

7:00 AM: The first cup of coffee brings back to mind the 47 pee nightmare. Wonder if the usual bagel is an adequate pre-race breakfast, or if perhaps oatmeal would be better.

7:15 AM: A Google search for "pre-marathon breakfast" uncovers an article in an obscure scientific journal suggesting that the ideal breakfast is uji, a thin porridge popular in Kenya. Realize that it is impossible to find uji in your local grocery store, not to mention that such a breakfast has been completely untested pre-long run. Resolve to stick with the bagel.

7:30 AM: Is Garmin charged? Better go check.

8:00 AM: While showering wonder if a warm shower pre-race would be loosen muscles or, conversely, if a cold shower would shock them into pre-emptive recovery. Resolve to Google it at work.

8:15 AM: Oh my God! Where is Garmin? Is it lost? Is there time to buy another one before the race?

8:16 AM: Oh, right; is on charger.

9:00 AM: Google offers no advice on pre-race shower temperature; odd. Post question on online running forum seeking advice.

10:00 AM: Check four online websites for race day weather predictions. None have any forecast, as race is still two weeks away. Opt instead to review meteorological history of marathon date in hopes of determining trends.

11:00 AM: Feel phantom pain in left elbow. Panic. What could it be? Have never heard of runner's elbow. Google!

11:15 AM: Oh, God. Is clearly tendonitis. Will this ruin race plans?

11:16 AM: Huh; elbow seems fine. Never mind.

12:00 PM: Eat high carbohydrate lunch. True, is too early to really store glycogen for the race, but surely some practice carbs will be of some benefit. Or will it?

12:15 PM: Google search inconclusive.

1:00 PM: Coworker suggests walking up and down the stairs for a while, for exercise and to break post-lunch coma. Consider it, but are wary of the potential to fall or get injured and say no, feeling virtuous. Completely ignore look on coworker's face that clearly says, "You're wlling to run 26.2 miles, but you won't walk up and down the stairs with me for 15 minutes?"

2:00 PM: Maybe race day weather is posted. Better check.

3:00 PM: Drink a glass of water, then feel immediate panic: what if race day sports drink is a different, untested flavor?!? Send urgent email to race director and make back-up plan to arm friends with preferred lemon-lime.

4:00 PM: Is that pain in hamstring? Where did that come from? Back to Dr. Google.

4:15 PM: Might be a a total rupture. Oh, God, no!

4:20 PM: Never mind; hamstring pain is gone.

5:00 PM: Five mile run. Feel blissfully free of worry for the first time all day.

6:00 PM: Feel confident that a PR is inevitable.

6:15 PM: Or maybe not. What about that hamstring and elbow thing? Also, weather findings suggest the remote possibility of strong winds for which you are untrained - and that's without even considering the unpredictable weather brought on by global warming. A DNF is inevitable.

6:30 PM: Or maybe a PR. Go to three online race calculators and plug in finish times for recent races ranging from 5K to half marathon, as well as a 20 mile training run.

6:45 PM: Results inconclusive. Attempt to chart out probability, considering projected race day weather and course elevation map.

7:00 PM: All that thinking leads to an ice cream craving. Eat gigantic bowl of it.

7:10 PM: Immediate remorse. Remember about how a 1% loss of body fat will equate a 1% increase in running speed. Lament being so weak.

8:00 PM: Decide to break up crazy thoughts by relaxing with a book. Such as Ultramarathon Man, Performance Nutrition for Runners, or Advanced Marathoning.

9:00 PM: Time to go to sleep, but just want to check online running forums quick.

9:15 PM: Ooh, would be really cool to find race reports from years past of this marathon.

12:00 AM: Oops. Still awake. Chase 2 Tylenol PM with a glass of red wine and hope for the best.


tfh said...

Hilarious! Thank you for making me laugh and also for sending me frantically searching for online race reports for my upcoming race for the last 15 years...they must be archived somewhere...

Amy said...

Oh Betsy! So true. What did we do before Google anyway!

This is such an instant classic, you know I gotta ask ... can I add it the Lounge Library?


Ovens2Betsy said...

Actually Betsy, your symptoms seem serious. I think it might be trypanosomiasis or leishmaniasis. But I wouldn't get yourself too worked up about it.

J said...

Google is the best! I loved your post, i can relate to a day like that! Good luck with your race!

Kent said...

Excellent post Betsy!

I sheepishly admit hitting 2 different race calculators putting in alternative race/run times yesterday and trying to find the one whose results suited me best.

Roisin said...

That may be the best post I've read ALL week.

Lisa said...

LOL!!! It looks like you are in for a LONG two weeks ;-) I am just glad to know that someone else is as neurotic as I am ;-)

thanks for the smile today...

Nat said...


newsjunkie said...

Hahahaha that was awesome! I can't wait for my taper!!

Run For Life said...

So funny yet so true!

The Happy Runner said...

What a great post! Thanks for the laughs -- and for confirming that I'm not alone in some of my obsessions!

Meg said...

That's great! I've been having stressed out race dreams and I'm still a month out...I'm glad I'm not the only one!

Andrew - Six Minutes Public Speaking Blog said...

That was hilarious and amazingly perceptive to my feelings as my half marathon approaches on Sept 21st.

Thanks for the laughs, Betsy.

Laura said...

I LOVE THIS! So true :)