Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Taper, Schmaper

To borrow a phrase from Tina Fey, tapering can suck it!

I feel fat and out of shape. I’ve raced enough to know that this sluggishness is perfectly normal, and in fact desirable, during taper week. It’s how I always feel, a sign that I am properly resting my body and easing up considerably on the quantity and intensity of training in preparation for race day. But that doesn’t make me hate it any less. And I know I’m not alone. It’s a strange bond we endurance athletes share, a universal understanding based on our common experience, one that leads us to smile knowingly when a tapering comrade bitches about their fitness funk. It’s the same common bond that allows us to share in graphic detail the horrifying specifics of our bodily functions as if this were normal, everyday adult dialog. But that’s a topic for a separate post altogether.

I have to keep reminding myself how often I have had to reassure my own taper-tortured type-A athlete friends, when they’ve longed to over-exert themselves this close to a race. “Just remember,” I’ve quipped, “You’ll never hear anyone say, after the fact, that they tapered too much.”

I sent MJ a text this morning, knowing full well the response I would receive, but needing to hear it nonetheless.

HB: Taper week. I feel soft, fat, sluggish and out of shape. I suppose that means I’m doing something right?

MJ: Exactly.