It’s that time of the year again called “taper,” when you get yourself mentally and physically ready for your big race by taking the intensity and volume of your workouts down dramatically and conserve as much energy for race day.
I usually dread taper, since it means running at a 100 miles an hour (purely metaphorically, of course :)) to a much more conservative 25 in a residential area. But this year, with the training as grueling as it has been, both physically and emotionally, I welcomed taper with open arms, as though it were a long-lost friend.
However, week 1 on taper wasn’t exactly the island of relief I was hoping for. First, it began in a most unpleasant (and unwelcome) way: with a dizzy spell and near-blackout. Monday morning, a mere two days after my peak run of 20 miles, I woke up feeling light-headed and woozy. I assumed that it was just due to a restless night of little sleep, so I went about my day as normal, but by the early afternoon, it felt as though my head was being squeezed together until my vision was starting to darken and my ears starting ringing–and when I started seeing spots, I knew something was up.
Think my body was trying to tell me something?
I ended up working from home the next day to rest up, but was still feeling pretty beat up and run-down. The usual Thursday morning buddy run felt like a struggle, and then this morning’s 8 mile “recovery” run was anything but.
Thank goodness for good friends who kept me going and turned what would have been a really crappy run into a pretty fun one (of course, having breakfast afterwards and chit-chatting always helps :)).
So it turns out that this season’s taper isn’t going to be any better than ones from previous seasons, but if I’ve learned anything, it’s that bad tapers are not indicative in any way of how the actual race will go. I’m more excited than ever about running in Victoria in three weeks (and then in San Francisco the week after, and then in Morgan Hill three weeks after that).
Next month will mark one year since my friend, Siobhan, was diagnosed with stage IV ovarian cancer. It seems rather fitting that I will be running two of my races in October, when her brave and fierce battle will be foremost on my mind. I know I will be running with dragonflies out there :).