Smutty Fitness: The Boston Taper
The taper – that is where I am now. I am just sitting here and waiting; there is nothing more that I can do except let my body rest. It drives me crazy having no control, not being able to exercise, not being able to do anything more to get faster and stronger. If you have ever had to go through a taper you have felt like what I am about to feel like: slow and fat. The kinesiologist in me knows that I am not fat and that a week of rest will not make me slow. It knows that a week of rest will allow my muscles to replenish their glycogen stores so on race day morning I am as ready as I’ll ever be.
It is at this point all the pain I have felt through the last 3 months of training has been forgotten. My brain has a way of forgetting about the runs in the freezing cold and pouring rain, the times when I have had to stop at a corner store to get a coke because I am bonking so hard I might not make it home. I forget about the Sundays where I spent all afternoon lying on the couch because I am absolutely exhausted from my 3 hour run or the days when the last thing I wanted to do was to go run to the track and push myself as hard as possible for an hour of intervals. I forget about the Friday nights I stayed home because I had an early workout in the morning or I was just too tired from my week to even think of seeing my friends. I forget about the hours spent at physiotherapy, on the massage table, at the chiropractor or in yoga trying to stretch out my tired and achy muscles. I forget about the moments when I was so hungry I would have shoved anything that was edible into my body. I forget everything and all I can think about now is race day. The nerves start to come slowly, I start to doubt my ability, and I start to dread how hard those 3 hours and 18 minutes are going to be. But at the same time I am starting to get excited. I start to look forward to the challenge, to the sleepless night that I am guaranteed to have the night before the race. I start to look forward to pinning my race number on my shirt, lacing up my running shoes, putting on my hat and heading to the start line like a herd of sheep. I am looking forward to the highs and the lows of the race, the fans cheering for me, the friendly faces at the finish line ready to hug and congratulate me and being able to finally sit down and rest. Its time to carbo-load now; it is time to sleep and it is time to trust that I’ve done the work.
This brings me back to my very first half marathon that I completed. I was 19 and I had no idea what I was doing. I ran it in 2 hours and 8 minutes and nearly died and my brother will still not let me forget about that race. But here I am 12 years later, a completely different runner who has learned so much but who knows there is so much more to learn.
Through this journey I have challenged those who have been reading to go find their “Boston”. So, I challenge you on Monday to take that first step towards your finish line. Whatever it may be make Monday the day you begin.
I’ll leave you with my favourite quote that I always read before my races.
“The duration of an athletic competition is only a few minutes, while the training for it may take weeks of arduous work and continuous exercise and self effort. The real value of sport is not the actual game played in the limelight of applause, but the hours of dogged determination and self-discipline carried out alone, imposed and supervised by and exacting conscience. The applause soon dies away, the prize is left behind, but the character you build is yours forever."
(Lainey: Hayley and, as it turns out, several of you, will be running the Boston Marathon in 6 days. GOOD LUCK and FINISH STRONG.)
Attached - Colin Farrell and his longtime trainer before and after working out in Philadelphia.