(Warning: This post is all over the place.)
It’s 12 days until the 2010 Chicago Marathon and 10 days since my 22 mile run, the most until the marathon. Since then, I have been tapering. All my runs until the marathon are easy compared to what I will do on 10.10.10. And yet, these easy runs bore me because there is no challenge. The only challenge is to not over do myself and stay healthy lest I won’t be able to run the marathon.
3 weeks of tapering and here I am nursing my sore and very tender left foot. Thankfully, I have not be injured this whole running season-a first. Unfortunately, I’m showing early signs of plantar fasciitis, a reoccurring injuring that has plagued me since I started running 3.5 years ago. Though, that is the least of my worry because there’s something new going on. The top of my left foot, I can feel my tendon throbbing. The athletic training said it sounded like extensor tendonitis. Whatever it is, I’m nervous.
After a failed run attempt last Saturday, I ran a strong 5 mile last night. The legs were tight but welcomed the return of running.
I decided to bail the Nike Pacers and ran on my own. I ran alone in the dark. 5 miles. During the first mile, the adrenaline rushed through my body as the thrill and joy of running returned. Mile 2, my body went into shock once it realized how chilly it was and how long it’s been since I last ran. By the time I reached the turn around point, everything came back to me. During my return, I kicked it. I kicked it hard as if running was an old friend. Not sure what that last sentence meant, but I’m going to stick with it.
5 miles and I returned with a smile on my face. The left foot is still very tender, but I can live with it.
Today, I know I’ll be constantly thinking about my next run. When can I run again? How far? How fast? And yet, I need to tell myself no. I must taper. Taper until race day.
After 21 weeks of training and 9 months into the 2010 running season, I have no idea what to do with my life. Tapering means I return back to normal. But what is normal? For once, I truly enjoy running. I loved the training, the structure, the challenge and the races. Come October 10th, the bulk of my running season will be over. Everything I have worked for will be completed.
Since April, I’ve lost 15 lbs and kept it off. Compared to last year at this time, I’m 10 lbs lighter and at least a minute, but probably more, faster per mile. The thought of having nothing to train for scares the shit out of me. Yes, regular life returns, which means I get to have a social life again. I have Europe to look forward right after the marathon. Good friends visiting and so many events in the near future. However, I’m not ready to lace up my shoes yet. At least not for this year.
Tapering has allowed me to get the rest that I need and been lacking for the last few months. Tapering has also brought me much anxiety because there’s nothing else to aim for after the 10th. Tapering means life returning to normal. But what is normal? For once, I feel like normalcy means lacing up my shoes and going for a run.