This week is my race week. That fun week before a race where a seemingly normal runner goes insane, more popularly referred to amongst the running community as: Taper Madness. In my case, the race causing this is the MEC Half Marathon on Saturday. Taper Madness is very real ” don’t let your doctor tell you otherwise. As it is Fall race season, many of you, my loyal readers, may be in the same boat, so I am here to help you self-diagnose your signs and symptoms.
WHAT IS TAPER MADNESS?
Taper ” In the context of sports, tapering refers to the practice of reducing exercise in the days just before an important competition. Tapering is customary in many endurance sports, such as the marathon, athletics and swimming. For many athletes, a significant period of tapering is essential for optimal performance. The tapering period frequently lasts as much as a week or more.
Insanity, craziness or madness – a spectrum of behaviors characterized by certain abnormal mental or behavioral patterns. Insanity may manifest as violations of societal norms, including a person becoming a danger to themselves or others, though not all such acts are considered insanity.
Taper Madness – a spectrum of behaviors characterized by certain abnormal mental or behavioral patterns brought on by the practice of reducing exercise in the days just before an important competition.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF TAPER MADNESS:
In order to help you recognise if you have this terrible illness, I ‘m sharing with you my signs/symptoms.
NB: these may vary runner by runner.
- Severe germophobia – I have converted my fuel belt, cell phone case, purse and other storage spaces into hand santizer and Lysol toting equipment. I’ve found myself spraying down desks, keyboards, phones, bathrooms, and even my loved ones to keep them 99.9% germ free. I move out of the way of handshakes and hugs of most people – even the ones I live with. My daughters and hubby have been instructed to stay within arms length and even blowing kisses down-wind have been prohibited.
- Uncontrollable urge to constantly check the weather forecast ” How accurate is the 10-day forecast? And why can’t there be a 40-day forecast? I may or may not have four or five different weather apps on my phone. And I check them all.
- Frequent bouts of self-doubt and increased anxiety – self-doubt has me mentally adding 30 seconds to my goal race pace every day. At the rate my brain is going, I ‘ll be lucky to run a 13 minute mile.
- Marital crankiness – Second only to the hormonal-induced pregnancy rage ” where I seriously considered divorce and a lifetime of single parenting for infractions as infuriating as forgetting to take the recycling out. My hubby ” smartly ” avoids me as much as possible during the taper.
- Gear obsession – Does my pink tank top chafe? Should I buy a new running skirt? Should I wear my heavier shoes or lighter shoes? Do I like vanilla gels or ShotBloks? I may or may not have been obsessively laying out my gear and Ã…”test driving Ã‚Â various combinations for chafing, wicking, visibility and, frankly, odor.
- Dysmorphia – After months of eating whatever I want and still fitting into my skinny jeans, I’ve suddenly realized that there’s no way I can put away the same amount of food with fewer miles. Good grief, there’s no way I can do this!! When did my thighs get so gigantic?!
- Hypochondria – I held off minor and major injuries throughout my training, but now in just a few days I have aches, pains, tweaks, tight spots all in places that I’ve never felt before and in ways I’ve never experienced before. How can my body betray me now! I’ve spent countless hours on www.webmd.com and www.sportsinjuryclinic.net hoping to find the answer to my mystery illness – only to find that there is nothing that specifically covers any of what I’ve been experiencing. I definitely should not run this race because I am surely dying, right?
- Insomnia/fitful sleep ” I’ve been laying awake at night obsessively checking weather apps, trying on gear, reviewing race details and stressing out about how much I ate for dinner.
There is only one cure: the race.
All in all tapering is tough ” My half marathon won’t likely be all that amazing. And with the mediocre training I’ve done, I don’t have the right for even a second to hope for a personal record ” though I ‘m secretly hoping for one anyway. No matter what my finishing time, I will only report it in the 1-hour range, ie: 1 hour and 75 minutes.