My marathon takes place in just a few days. It’s THIS WEEKEND. Everytime I think about it my stomach does a little flip, although I still can’t imagine actually getting to this race.
Tapering. It plays with your mind and drives you stir crazy. At first I was relieved the training miles were going down, not up, and I wondered if ‘maranoia’ and so-called taper madness would hit me at all. Well, they have.
Typical symptoms include a sudden urge to check you can still run long distances, feeling that you’re losing your fitness, a dip in confidence perhaps and irrational thoughts about overruling the plan you’ve stuck to religiously for 16 weeks. It feels like you’re waiting for something amazing that is never going to arrive!
Fortunately I have my running buddies to reassure me that it’s totally normal to feel like this, we’re all in the same boat, and going against the plan will likely result in injury or feeling less than chipper for the big day. Now I’ve been injured and it sucks, so that’s a helpful reminder to stay calm during taper. I trust my coach and I’ve done the graft. I just want to get this show on the road, see what I’m made of and get that medal.
With a few days to go, the anticipation right now is similar to my wedding build up several years ago. I am having ridiculous, but scarily vivid, nightmares where everything is going wrong. In one dream the race was imminent and I could only find toilets in a McDonald’s, but there was no door. I then left my trainers in said toilet and had to run back against the crowd of runners to retrieve them. When I found the trainers they were a really old pair. In another dream there were obstacles along the course including a rope swing with a long queue but no-one seemed surprised or bothered that time was ticking on and these obstacles were clearly not mentioned in the runner info!
I’ve been maranoid (the marathon equivalent of paranoia) for the past week at least, worrying that every waking second – and possibly in my sleep as well – I could come a cropper by tripping, slipping skidding, pulling a muscle, straining a ligament etc. from general day to day activities. I tried a little gardening last weekend after convincing myself it was fairly low risk and ended up scraping my forehead quite badly on a tree branch – see what I mean!? It could have been my EYE! Every little niggle becomes a reason to panic too. Is that my knee twinging? Did my back just seize up? Germs are the arch enemy so anyone sneezing or coughing near me will receive a frosty or terrified glance before I scurry off to scrub my hands clean. With three sleeps to go (ooh, stomach flip!) I am super paranoid about picking up a cold, or worse, because there isn’t enough time to recover fully now. I’m even keeping my own children’s runny noses at arm’s length. Just wrap me up in cotton wool already.
Despite the paranoia, hyperchondria and frustrations, I’m super lucky to have such great support from family, friends and colleagues which keeps me upbeat. The advice from well wishers is similar to when you’re a bride-to-be too. “Just enjoy it, you’ll feel amazing, we’ll be thinking of you, can’t wait to see the pictures!”
I can’t wait either! I just need the big day to come now. I’m ready. I’m chomping at the bit. Bring it on, raceday is payday, baby!