Definition of TAPER
1: to become progressively smaller toward one end
2: to diminish gradually
This is what taper means to me:
(for the record, this is my son, 8 years ago...)
Today, I did a crazy double. I woke up at 4:30 am, threw on my clothes, and drove over to Jenn's
to run a planned 4 mile run. Reminder: Jenn is a speed demon. I let her drag me a bit, and though it was hard, I let her pull me at 10 minutes/mile (I'm sure she'd rather go closer to 8:30 min/mile). As we got toward the end, and I felt like "I've got this", Jenn informed me that we took a wrong turn. Uh, excuse me? We got back to her place at 4.6 miles, and managed to hold the 10 minute pace, which is super fast for me.
I got home around 6am. I woke up the kids, made their lunches, and got them out the door. My dad arrived to watch Paige. And by 7:45am, I was back in the car headed with Emily to White Rock Lake to help her with her last long run before her first half-marathon. The goal was to run 11.5 mile and then walk 0.5 miles to get an even 12. A loop around the lake is 9 miles. We planned to run 1 loop, then pass the car by 1.5 miles, and then come back 1.5 miles. It was cold, and we were both definitely tired, but we kept pushing. At mile 6, I suggested we turn around and go back 2/3 around the lake the way we came... that way we wouldn't be tempted by the car when we passed it. Emily agreed, so we took the north 2/3 of the lake back to the car. Emily got it done... tired, but not complaining... and not stopping except for 2 very brief breaks to take GU. She is going to rock her first half marathon.
Total mileage for today was 16.6 miles. Since the morning portion of the run was a minute/mile faster than my normal pace, my legs felt adequately fatigued when I started the second run. Since I got in my final 20 last week, and this week my schedule tapers to 16, I decided to go ahead and claim this as my last long run. Sure, it was split up a couple hours, but I've done the time and put in the miles and I'm tired. So I'm declaring training victory and moving into taper.
Over my 18 weeks of training, I've run 4 half-marathons, plus done long runs of 14, 15, 19, and 21, and ran a 20-mile race... and topped it with this morning's 16+. (Plus another 8 longish runs that were between 10 and 12 miles.)
I AM TIRED.
I know I hear runners say how hard it is to taper and cut your miles... but I am certain I need it. I need time to refresh. I need time to anticipate the big day. I need time to just sit back. My body is tired. My body aches. I have managed to make it this far injury-free, but I still need a nap! So I say, BRING ON THE TAPER!!!