Originally posted April 1st, 2016 while training for the Boston Marathon. Updated September 24, 2021.
Def: Emotional roller-coaster, feeling bloated, fat, slow and lazy. An endless urge to eat everything in sight, and to seek out food not in sight. The constant feeling like you should be doing something else right now, like running or stretching or checking on the weather three weeks away.
This Saturday we had our longest run of the season: 21.5 miles, or twenty-something depending on how many times you stopped your watch or forgot to re-start your watch.
Taper time hasn’t even really begun.
I ran 5.91 miles Tuesday night and cranked out negative splits on the last three miles. It just felt so good. I pushed up the hills and cruised down the hills.
Thursday the taper tantrums really set in. Something set me off in the morning and I was just kind of pissed off all day. I thought I was just pissed. It’s way too early for the taper tantrums.
As the day wore on and on, it dawned on me what was going on. I was in full blown taper mode and I had barely recovered from my long run. What is going on here?
Running with cinder blocks
Now that I’m in the early stages of mid-life, I’ve come to understand mood swings. We all have them; runners have them in spades. When I was younger I surfed the waves of emotion with little control or awareness. If I was running high, whoa! I went with it. If I was in the valley, knife was in hand. Don’t cross me. Metaphorically, of course!
Being older and wiser I can feel the engines ignite. I know what to expect and where this rocket ship is going and that no one else really cares. It’s my freakin ride, step off.
I can also feel the cold dark ugliness of the valley. Nothing is good and everything is bad. If you cross me I’m liable to cut you down in a sentence. You won’t deserve it but I can’t help it.
In full blown taper tantrum, a runner’s mood swings can be sudden, extreme and long.
I think I dove right into my taper tantrums this time because I’m running with cinder blocks. I freely chose these weights and the responsibilities are all mine.
I chose to run a marathon under-prepared and take on a fundraising commitment. I chose to start a business and try to figure everything out. I chose a demanding job. I chose all of this and take full responsibility.
I’m feeling under prepared for a marathon that so many people only get to run once. I worry I’m not showing the respect due a renowned race such as this. The Boston Marathon is not a race to be taken lightly. It is more than a race.
But each commitment and exhausting activity weighs on me. I don’t have time to be bored. Barely have time for lunch or a relaxing drink.
Running with cinder blocks amplifies and intensifies my moods and reactions. I don’t have time for bull shit.
Runners tend to be very focused. We need to get in our training and try to eat right and avoid injury. We are like a guided missile locked onto our targets. Don’t get in our way.
While people around us are tossing idle banter we are calculating the total distance we ran for the week, so far. How to get in a 7 mile run at lunch between meetings and calls. How to avoid a box of Girl Scout cookies in the kitchen. How can I get my work done and get to what matters, running, when everyone keeps bugging the shit out of me?
I love you all and everything you have done for me. But expect me to be in the valley with my cinder blocks a lot these next few weeks.
Run well and please excuse me.