‘Some of the greatest battles will be fought in the silent chambers of your own soul.’ – E. Benson.
Taper. Defined as decreasing an athletes training load before a big race. Something all athletes look forward to, yet find it can be more stressful than even the hardest training day.
I have this love / hate relationship with tapering… Anyone who has ever “rested” for a big event knows what I’m talking about..
“You know you are tapering when…..”
1. You hit your local bike / tri shop five times in a week to spend frivolous money.
2. Your body feels sore, instead of “magical”.
3. You doubt if you did enough (you did).
4. Any slight twinge or pain during exercise suddenly causes severe panic attacks.
5. You are so focused on racing you put the milk back into the cupboard instead of the refrigerator.
6. You are sick of talking about triathlons.
7. You want to eat anything and everything because you have more time
8. You make plans for the day (week, month) after the race with all those people who might have felt neglected (pretty sure they haven’t lost sleep over it)
9. You feel pressure. About everything and anything.
10. You are paranoid about germs.
11. You are convinced the cutback in mileage is getting you out of shape.
12. You question your sanity. About life, about exercise, about everything.
I’m sure there is more….. But you get the point.
And here I sit towards the end of my taper. People keep asking me “are you ready?” Great question, but not right now. Appreciate the kindness, but too deep of a question. Even if I thought I was ready (I am) you just made me think about “what if I’m not?!”. So I don’t even let my mind go there. I think about all the hard work I have put in, and, to stay positive to my true self, I answer the best way I can – (simply) “yes”. A close friend of mine told me once “You are a mom. You do what you can and move on”. And that’s how I feel. I feel like I have put 100% into training and 100% into being a wife and a mom. I do the very best I can on the day given to me.
And I am now on the final countdown to toeing the start line in Kona. They say getting to the starting line is the hardest part. I believe it, because I wasn’t able to get to the starting line last year. I registered, bought my plane ticket
yet I didn’t have it in me to race. When my dad passed away in March, I found my body left with no energy. I wanted to race, to “do it for him”, but it just wasn’t the time. It didn’t seem “right” (nothing seemed right).
My parents were going to go that year. They had just watched me in Vegas and were excited to watch me in warm water (knowing my history of swims being cancelled, Hawaii seemed like the perfect choice). If he (aka dad) didn’t get the chance to go, I didn’t want to go either.
So… Here I am.. A short year later. Lately all my races have had different goals, different “feelings” and this will be no different. This is just one of those races I need to do. For no one else but myself . Its like dealing with your fears. No different. I have trained my little tail off and now I just have to trust that my body will do what it needs to do on race day.
My saint mom will be with our kids (not an easy task in itself!) and no doubt tracking me every step of the way. She said “wherever you need me, I’m there”. She understands. So blessed to have such an incredible family.
Yes, I am nervous. Yes, I feel pressure. But I am trying to take that nervous energy and turn it into strength. I feel like I have the support of a nation (let me believe what I want to believe!) and that will power me through.
I will be in Kona with two of my best college friends. One will be racing her heart out. The other will be cheering her heart out. She has the biggest job – representing my husband, kids, mom, sister, brother, friends – and – of course – dad.