Fist full of Cheeseburgers
|Much love from the colonies|
Those of you with insomnia who have finally broken down and liked the Crazy People with Nice Shoes site on Facebook might already be aware that per my coach's orders, I have not been allowed to run for a week. After a hard initial build up of both running strength and speed over the past couple of months, and then a pair of strong races, we will be ramping it up again and increasing both the overall mileage and the pace during runs. To prepare for this he had me take a week off under strict orders to "not run one damn step."
Most runners who have their runs stalled out by injury or by design deal with what is known as 'taper madness.' This is the so called suffering a runner goes through from not being able to run as much, as far, or as fast as they typically would during their regular training session. Symptoms of the madness can include irritability, depression, sleep deprivation, short-temperedness, a sense of loss, and an inordinate desire to check the race day weather. But for me, I've never really experienced this so called taper-madness. In fact, when tapering for the Battle of New Orleans (The real one, not that revolutionary thing that happened like 500 years ago) earlier this year I was excited for the break and time off from running. When in conversation with other friends who were doing their marathon training at the same time I had to look up the symptoms just so that I could relate.
|For some reason, history books are listing this as the Battle of New Orleans|
Wednesday morning came and brought an odd sensation with it. I was a little sore and stiff. Cocking my head, I thought it a bit strange, being that I hadn't run for three days. Trying to shrug it off I followed my normal morning routine sans running and hopped in my car to head to work a couple of hours later. Along a mile long stretch of road I saw a couple running and it made me smile as I waved and drove past. I contented myself with the knowledge that i was going to have plenty of reserve energy, not having used it up on running late last night or this early this morning. However, as the day stretched on, I didn't feel any of that reserve energy. I felt lethargic, and my limbs were stiff and heavy. When I arrived home this time, I thought that maybe I just hadn't slept well the night before and just needed some more rest. I ate dinner, did a few of the average household chores and then went to bed.
|God, this tapering thing is SOOOO hard|
Thursday morning, instead of waking up refreshed and full of energy, I felt even more sluggish than before. As I rolled out of bed to take my dog to the bathroom, I realized that my joints also felt stiff. It wasn't just my legs, it was my back, shoulders, neck, everything felt like it had slowly began to rust and fought my movement, urging me to go back to the couch and have another cheeseburger. While I would willingly oblige my Tinman-like joints later that evening, I spent most of the day in a fog. I wasn't irritable yet, but I felt more tired than I ever felt gearing up for Medoc. Could this be it? Was this my version of the dreaded taper madness?? Did the symptoms present itself differently for some runners? Unwilling to disclose the fact that not running might have begun to bother me I carried on with my day-to-day affairs as if nothing was wrong.
|Tell them nothing! They're all against you!|
By the time Friday had rolled around I knew the taper madness had gotten to me. It might have presented itself in a different fashion, but it was here. I was tired, achey, sore, giving the crazy eye to random people in Target, and even my desire for burritos had begun to slightly diminish. I tried to console myself by walking my dog, and reasoning that if he were to run a few steps, well that wasn't really me running, right? I was looking out for his well being. Unfortunately, my pup seemed to be in cahoots with my coach and sprinted about ten feet before he stopped to pee on a bush, content to walk the rest of the neighborhood. Trying to remember how hard the upcoming training was going to be, and how much fun that initial run was going to be when I could go out, I restrained myself and spent another night on the couch catching up on reading and television.
Saturday came and went , with the taper madness resulting in my passing out and napping for six hours on the couch. I marked my calendar with an arrow and drew it from Sunday to Sunday with the words "Mandatory rest period" emblazoned above it. Feeling like I had taught both the madness and the calendar a lesson, I decided to head out for the evening and enjoy a night out at the bar with friends.
|Taper madness...or West Nile. One or the other.|
If you're reading this and suffering through your own taper madness, I wish you luck my friend. It is a cruel and disturbing trick that this dark mistress called running plays on our bodies. She makes us cry out in anguish on hills and through long journeys. She makes us want to quit, to lay down and simply make the pain stop, and yet when we do she cackles away and stirs in us the desire for more. Tomorrow morning is less than 12 hours away and I can't wait until I can fulfill the desire to find my balance of running and rest, and most importantly, feel that ever gnawing hunger for burritos in my belly again.
Thanks for reading and don't forget to "like" the site on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/CrazyPeopleWithNiceShoes) as well as follow it on twitter if you're feeling particularly stalk-ish. (@CPNSrunning) Stay tuned for another trail race this weekend, which means another drunkenly put together race report. This time from the Goose Creek Trail Races!