Taper Madness

One week from today I will be boarding a plane, bound for Las Vegas. Heading towards the event I've been training for for 6 months or maybe my whole life. Maybe that sounds a little dramatic. But that's just where my mind is right now. Oh, yes, I'm dealing with a bad case of taper madness.

For a runner, the taper means to diminish training gradually as the event draws near. So, running mileage is decreased, weights are lightened (well, for some people), and general time spent training is reduced. Let me tell you what that really means: too much time on my hands. 

The energy I've been pouring into my training is now bouncing around my brain. And my moods are swinging wildly. At times, I'm pumped-- enthusiastic and excited, filled with a "Let's DO THIS!" mindset. Other times, I'm anxious-- terrified and nervous, heart palpitating with a "Why did I sign up for this?!" attitude.

I'm having great difficulty even corralling my thoughts and forcing them into some kind of order that makes some kind of sense for this post.

It's so hard to believe that in a week I will be facing the biggest physical challenge of my life. I'm trying to keep positive. To fill my thoughts with strong images (and not that terrifying 30 ft. cliff jump). I'm reading The Champion's Mind by Jim Afremow. I'm remembering all the fun I've had on obstacle courses I've run, thinking of the new experiences I'll encounter, imagining the camaraderie of hundreds of people fighting together through the obstacles, the weather, and time.

I know it will be an experience like no other. I'm ready, I know I am. Or at least as ready as I can be right now. I will fight. I will give everything I have. I will help others on the course. I will pray A LOT.

My fears:
Hypothermia-- desert temps after the sun goes down could be in the 30's. Not that big a deal, unless you're in and out of water and already fatigued.
Cliff jump-- 30 ft. 'nough said.
Doubt-- I will be able to accept failure if my body physically can't handle 24 hours, but if my mind gets involved and talks my body into quitting... that's just not acceptable. And it's a deceptive thing. I've been 3 hours into a GORUCK, shaking from the cold of the surf and the ocean breeze, slightly fatigued from push ups and flutter kicks, and thinking that I can't go any further, considering walking out-- only to finish the event some 10 hours later.

My faith:
Training-- I've never run so many miles and spent so much time over the course of a week training. For Pete's sake, I spent an hour swimming last week. AN HOUR. I hate swimming.
Plans-- I'm spending the weekend mentally rehearsing the 24 hours. I'll be packing individual kits for each lap, including clothing, food, inspiring Bible verses and pictures.
Power thoughts-- I've heard that the best Special Ops guys make it through training by focusing on small increments of time or events. I'm going to focus only on the next obstacle and not on X number of hours or laps left. One foot in front of the other.
Jesus-- Yes, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. And I'll spend lots of time out on the course praying. Probably out loud.


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