Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Boston Butterflies

A friend - and I'm making a huge assumption here - a non-running one, asked me yesterday what a "taper" was and what did it "feel" like.

Ahhhh, the Great Taper. Always makes me think of the Great Caper or the Great Train Robbery. A taper (for the non-running or non-racers in the audience) is the process of decreasing your training mileage and intensity in the days and/or weeks leading up to a race. In the case of a marathon, you do your last long run three weeks before the race. The idea is to allow your body to fully recover and heal from all the stress and accumulated aches and pains imposed by hard training and high mileage. On race day, you should be able to maximize your full potential.

So for me this week, and to a lesser extent the last two weeks, I am mostly just running around (but not RUNNING per se) these days, attempting to get caught up on errands, trying to get ready for Boston (Ha!) and trying to remain on an even keel (not likely). I have a real love-hate relationship with tapering.

I like the recovery part, don't like all this extra time I have on my hands (I can only get myself into trouble) and the feeling that all I can do now is wait.... Running for me is a way to blow off steam and stress. Not running as I am used to doing is stressful (despite all my whining about how much I want to taper towards the end of the marathon training cycle). The taper is a slow form of water torture for a closet (Okay, not so closeted) control freak like myself (knowing full well intellectually of course that the natural state of the Universe is entropy and that my attempts at control are feeble rationalizations to deal with the daily chaos we call life). I worry about my weight, whether or not Carb-depletion and Carb-loading really works, gaining weight, losing weight, am I getting enough good lean protein... In the immortal words of Crash Davis, "Don't think, Meat, you'll only hurt the ballclub".

So the die are cast for my Boston Marathon. It's all pretty much out of my hands now, Boston-wise. I am as prepared and as fit and as fast as I am EVER going to be... For this Boston at least.

Hugh - the ultimate running buddy - and I qualified together in the Okanagan Marathon in Kelowna in a time just under 3:30, for me it was 3:29:39. That works out to a pace of almost exactly eight minutes per mile. For Boston I did up a Pace Band (thank you, MarathonGuide.com) that calls for us to run a pace in the ballpark of 7:37 minutes per mile. Hugh and I based this on our training, a half marathon this Spring where we managed to maintain a steady pace of 7:11 minutes per miles, and the knowledge that in Kelowna, our goal was to put out JUST enough effort to maintain a pace that would qualify us for Boston. In Hugh's case, he had a huge cushion, as his qualifying time was 3:45, but like I said, he's the ultimate running buddy and he never left my side.

So, we'll soon find out whether or not we can maintain a pace around twenty-five seconds faster in Boston. And it will be interesting to see what we have left as we face Heartbreak Hill in the final stages of the Marathon. Bring it on, Boston! Bring it on!


Blogger Love2Run said...

Amen to that Vince! Bring it on and get this taper stuff behind us. Good luck, pace yourself and ENJOY IT!!!

4:57:00 PM  

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