I press the stop button on my Garmin and smile. My longest preparatory run before the Hollywood Half-Marathon is over. The two week taper officially starts now; a time of mandatory scaling back and taking some rest days, allowing your body to be at it’s best on race day.
I look out at the Pacific Ocean, happy that I made the 30 minute drive down to the beach on a Sunday at 6 am for this last long run. I walk back to my car to grab a towel and the surfer parked across from me before I started my run sees me. “Wow, you were gone for a long time, ” he says, “how far did you run?”
“Twelve miles,” I smile back. I stroll out onto the beach pier and sit on a bench; watching surfers, inhaling the ocean air, feeling blessed. I rub my hands up and down my arms, grainy from sand and dried sweat.
I think back to less than three years ago after my first 12 mile run. Any run over 8 miles, I’d be out of commission for the rest of the day. Mommy’s long run day was just that, a long run day with no energy left for anything else. Now, I feel great. I know that after a shower and a second breakfast, I’ll be ready to enjoy the rest of the day with the kids; no recovery needed. What a difference a few years makes.
What am I going to do with the next two weeks. Tomorrow, I’ll go to yoga; the next day a short run; the next day maybe I could try a new class….no, I can’t do that. I’m supposed to actually take some rest days. And you’re not supposed to try any new activities just before your race. Ok, Body By Simone will have to wait.
The first week of taper is great. By day 8, I’m questioning myself. Maybe I should go for one more long run. Am I really not going to backtrack in these two weeks? But I know that I’ve repeatedly read, if you’re not ready by two weeks before a race, then you’re not ready. You can’t cram for a race….just like you can’t cram for a test that covers a semester’s worth of material. You need to rest to have fresh legs on race day. You need a fresh mind for your final; not a hyper-caffeinated fried egg brain-on-drugs one trying to function on 3 hours of sleep.
Why is it so hard to rest and trust in the work that you have put in? Trust in the training you have done, trust your run.
Why is it so hard, to trust in yourself….that is the real question.
You entrust a new nanny with the care of your newborn while you go to work. You drop your kids off at school; placing trust in the administrators and teachers that they will be kept safe all day. You trust your husband with your heart, your most vital organ that beats to deliver oxygen to every millimeter of your body. The day you don’t trust him, is the day you wouldn’t have a relationship anymore.
You trust the new girl in yoga class who you’ve never met before, when she says she is going to catch you and not let you fall and break your neck and become a quadraplegic, while you attempt a handstand again. You trust that when you get to a 4 way stop sign, the other random drivers that you don’t know at all will stop and go in turn to avoid an accident. Trust, is a requirement for being able to function in society and in life.
Yet when it comes to the training that you have put into yourself, you are having second thoughts, questioning yourself, and tempted to do another long run.
Or maybe it’s just that you don’t know how to rest.
When you had a Csxn and were told not to drive or lift heavy objects for 6 weeks, you were doing both within a week. When you lie down to take a nap, you get more stressed than relaxed, mentally scanning your to do list that you could be working on. You have witnessed so many people not slow down, until their bodies and even worse their minds got sick, necessitating a mandatory period of rest or leave from a doctor.