Pace Yourself

Well, we made it. As of 11:04 am Saturday morning, I am officially in taper – and you guys, it is GLORIOUS. I ate 7 meals between the hours of noon and 11pm, all while maintaining a position no greater than 45 degrees from horizontal.

Quick refresh for the 3% of you who are not running Boston/have not received any of my previous odes to taper: after our longest run of the season, we cut down our mileage and ramp up our peanut butter intake to make sure our bodies are rested and ready for race day. Taper is both the best and the worst part of training. On the one hand, you no longer have to block out 12 hours for your run/brunch/nap combo. On the other, you suddenly have VAST EXPANSES OF FREE TIME in which to perfect your neuroses.

And your memes, apparently

My personal approach to the inevitable taper freakout is to become convinced that I’ve neglected a critical aspect of marathon preparation and cycle through a series of ill-considered quick fixes. Four weeks to go! I mean, I PROBABLY have time to develop “300” abs, right?

And if I do, you’d better believe I’m custom ordering one of these bad boys RIGHT quick

And I’ve been meaning to eat more chia seeds maybe I’ll eat nothing but chia seeds and transform into Tarahumara tribesman??? OR POSSIBLY I WILL READ THROUGH AND IMPLEMENT EVERY SINGLE ONE OF RUNNER’S WORLD’S MARATHON TRAINING WORKOUTS…AT ONCE?

Luckily, I have gone through this enough to (eventually) realize that all the chia seeds and pull-ups in the world aren’t going to make a difference at this point (which is good news, because chia seeds look like frog eggs and I cannot do one single pull-up). Marathons aren’t made in the last four weeks; they’re made in the months of training that lead up to it.

I’ve had to remind myself of that a lot, lately. A few weeks ago, a close friend and teammate’s father was diagnosed with lymphoma. For all the years I’ve run with Team in Training, this is one of only a handful of times that someone I love is actively fighting the disease we’re trying to cure – most of the stories we hear on Saturdays, good or bad, are in the past tense. And my first reaction was pretty similar to my taper panic: we have to raise all the money we can to help Zac’s dad RIGHT NOW.

But the truth is, even if we hit our $1.25 million goal (and we will), that money will fund research that takes years to show results. Which is why it’s so important that we hit not only this goal, but every goal, every year, until we find a cure. And hopefully, the money that we raised back when I first started Team in Training in 2006 funded research that CAN help Zac’s dad right now.

One of the reasons I love Zac so dearly is his unrelenting optimism (that and his ability to consume more cheese in one sitting than you’d think humanly possible). I got to hang out with his dad this January, and unsurprisingly, he is exactly as optimistic and lactose-tolerant as his son. Talmadges are tough. Their hearts are even bigger than their stomachs. And I know they’re going to get through this, but I also know that they don’t want anyone else to have to. So eat some cheese. Send some love. And donate.

Love with a wedge of buffalo cheddar,


(Ahem. Local celebrity and multimedia superstar Cait.)