Monday, April 26, 2010

Counting down to Race Day:
Self Infliction with A Nonmedical Infection

After conquering my fear of impending dread all weekend and rocking out a 13.1 mile run in the late afternoon yesterday in a steady 7:05 min/mi pace, I think I'm finally ready to activate myself off the disabled list. So, that's the good news. The bad news is that I'm starting to show signs and symptoms of an acute infection. Now, before you start sending your get-well comments or flood my e-mail with coupons for Emergent-C, let me tell you that the etiology of this infection is strictly nonmedical. It is not caused by a bacterial agent, a parasite, a virus, or fungi or yeast. It is not even caused by anything that can be visible to the naked or magnified eye. Rather it is an infection that is well-known to most runners in the week leading up to their goal event. Perhaps you've heard of it, it's called taperitis.

Now, for those of not in the know, taperitis is the nonmedical condition where the prospective runner cannot stop thinking, obsessing and detailing every aspect of their goal event. It is totally unnecessarily but it is the right of passage for every aspiring marathoner. For example, I've already checked the course map 4 times, the weather forecast 6 times and visualizing every mile of the 26.2 mile course twice just today. This is rather excessive, even for a worried wart such as myself.

I know the prevailing opinion is to trust the training, trust the run, relax and just let the body do what it's meant to do on race day. But that strategy doesn't quite work for me because apparently I haven't quite learned how not to give up in the later miles of the marathon. Every time out in the recent past, I've lost the battle and given up precious minutes and seconds just trying to make it through to the finish line. That's why this time, I'm hoping to arrive at mile 20 a little more prepared, both physically (from a little higher mileage in training) and psychologically (from practicing a positive mental visualization). Emotionally too, I'm trying to remember a few key quotes, sayings, songs and names that will keep me fighting hard until the end. (Because they are still in formulation, there are no specific details yet but come back later in the week and maybe things will change!)

To be honest, I didn't expect this onslaught of taperitis given that New Jersey will be my 10th marathon and all. But given that I've never had such an aggressive time goal before and had never trained so hard for it, I think it may be justifiable. Because after all, the head and the legs will carry me through 20 miles, but I'll need some heart to make it through the final 10K.

Did I mention I'm getting new Saucony shoes to use for this marathon? My regular trainers has 250+ miles on it already and I don't think it'd be smart for me to run this marathon in racing flats either (since they place such a heavy strain on my knees and Achilles). So it's just another thing for me to freak out and be excited about as the week progresses. Oh man, if it's anything like it was today, it's gonna be a doozie.

17 comments:

Jesse said...

Having only run one marathon, I thought that taperitis was something that went away with experience. Guess not!

I'm looking forward to the race report for this one. Good luck to you, and enjoy the new shoes. Does Saucony provide you with specific apparel to wear during the race too?

D10 said...

Wow marathon #10, go Lam!! You are ready and that is all you need to know.

Morgan said...

Taperitis... I know it well. Just take it one day at a time and know that the end is in sight! T-minus 4 days til M-Day!

Betsy said...

It sounds like physically, you're in great shape for this race. The challenge for you is absolutely the mental part of it. I can relate - this is my biggest challenge, too. One thing that might help you through that last lil' 10K are the words of a smart man who said this:

DON'T DENY YOUR AWESOMENESS!

Good luck, Lam!

EZEthan said...

I totally feel you... I got my own case of taperitis going... in fact I caught myself doodling the course map of my upcoming race in my notebook yesterday while I was sitting through "high voltage electrical safety" training!

Matt said...

I know you've heard it a thousand times, but the hay's in the barn...you're gonna run a great race, because that's what you've prepared yourself to do!!

Good Luck!!

carpeviam said...

Brand new shoes?! Are you breaking them in?!

Running and living said...

Well, it seems to me that you had physical problems in the last few miles of the marathon (e.g., cramp at Boston). The battle may be mental, but lets not forget the randomness of things that can happen in a race (I know that so well now:) The physical training is done, looks like the mental training is done as well, so now you need to have your day when all comes together. I hope it will!!!

marathonmaiden said...

too bad there's no cure for taperitis! good luck fight that one off!

aron said...

sometimes i feel like taperitis just gets worse the more marathons we have run! watching you on twitter today i know you have a bad case... rest up, try to calm down, you have trained hard and have a great race in you, you just have to believe it!

The Laminator said...

Thanks for comments and support. Answering a few questions...

@Jesse - Yes, Saucony has specific apparel for me to wear from head to toe.

@carpeviem - Yes, I will be breaking them in with a few short runs and then using them for the marathon. I figure to use the same model as I have been training so it shouldn't be a big deal.

runner26 said...

so do you really have a fever???!!

Jamie said...

Someone needs to create a pill or better treatment for taperitis ;) no worries about the new shoes - should not be a problem. There just one less item to focus on :) Now find something else to distract you for the next few days. The Mets are playing right?!?

Julie said...

What? Taperitis! I don't believe it...the Laminator is obsessing, over thinking, over analyzing and freaking out over all of the details! No way, this is just not possible:) Oh Lam, you just put a smile on my face! You are such a pro at this running stuff and will have a fantastic #10!! News shoes too....excellent:) I am keeping my fingers crossed that your knee and Achilles will behave and all will be good!! Take care:)

kevin f forde said...

Lam,
I somehow doubt you lack the heart for the final 10k.
Trust in yourself and your training and you'll be fine.
Smart move to brake in your new shoes b4 the race,afterall this work don't leave anything to chance.
Oh remember that issue I couldn't write about in my blog 2 weeks ago?
Saturday I got the green light to write it....and did I ever!!!

Kristen L. said...

Taperitis, lol. I have never heard of that term before. I love it. Believe in yourself Lam. You rocked that 13.1 The pace is going to seem easy. Go into the race with a positive affirmation to repeat when it gets tough and do NOT let any negative thoughts into your brain. The marathon is 50% training and 50% mental. Good luck dude!

J said...

Well since you had taperitis just proves that you never get used to the marathon! Hope you were able to get some sweet new shoes!

 
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