With a good taper a runner stands at the start line feeling invincible, rested and quick, with a desire to suffer more then those around him. When done poorly a runner stands at the line feeling vulnerable, sluggish and fat. A bad taper leads to a terrible race which can be similar to a bad movie. It lasts too long, you know it is going to end bad, the lead character seems pathetic and not up to the challenge of the demanding role they have selected and the entire production seems ill prepared.
There are a lot of issues a runner faces during a taper. My main concern is usually with regards to getting fat. This taper happens with Easter in the middle with the added component of having a friend visiting from Toronto. I made a wonderful and delicious Easter dinner last night for a few of my friends. After several bottles of wine, herb crusted roast pork with roasted root vegetables and a few servings of lemon pie and strawberry shortcake I am feeling a little fat. If I could get away from temptation at work I would be happy but I cannot. The candy jar in my office was filled with delicious chocolate from the Easter Bunny over the weekend and I have no self control when it comes to chocolate!
After a weekend of Tomfoolery I am feeling a little worse for wear, a little heavier and slightly tired. To add insult to injury I have had a week and a half of bilateral foot pain and have been icing regularly. Not running as much also adds to the feeling of fat. I know I am not fat. I can still see my ribs through my shirt, my watch strap is still too big, my pants still fit with a wide margin and people are still telling me I am too skinny at work. I know I am not fat, but do I ever feel that way.
These feelings make the taper difficult. If I run more I will feel much less fat and heavy but will take away from the much needed recovery my body needs. If I eat less, avoid social gatherings and seeing friends I will become more isolated then I already am. When I am at the start line will I be thinking of running fast or will I perseverate on the extra piece of pie I had at Easter dinner?
To make the taper even more trying/exciting is the increase in libido. Towards the end of the taper I start to feel like an 18 year old. Normally, like a typical man, I think about sex quite often. When tapered I either think about running or sex. I find it hard to focus on tasks and if an attractive man comes in the room I might as well forget about any coherent thought. I think this would be a great time to have a boyfriend, someone to release this pent up energy with. Instead I flirt with anyone who will give even half a glance and try to think about running.
All and all a taper is both a blessing and a curse. I sit here wanting to be outside running, enjoying the warmth of the sun. I want to go for a walk or a bike ride, maybe meet some friends for a drink or even try to meet up with a guy for some fun. Instead I will elevate my legs, apply some ice and get ready to run like I have never run before.