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One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Or: Yes, I’m tapering. Thanks for asking.)

by Carilyn on December 21, 2015

I’ve said it before, too many times to count, I know, but I hate, hate, hate tapering. I love the idea of tapering (sleeping in, not having my schedule taken over by my always-looming next run, wearing something besides spandex tights), but the not-running part? Not so much.

I really love to run.

I love to move within my own sphere. I love to have control over my whole body, pushing it faster or pulling back, as I wish. Race, relax, rush, roam, repeat. And it’s all up to me. No equipment, no list, no rules.

When I run with friends, I get to be part of someone else’s life. I get to know her kids, find out how he feels about getting older, share in those inevitable scrabbly life moments of loss and joy. I don’t get that over lunch or on the phone. I only get that on the road with the other cant-help-themselves movers who choose to spend the hours before dawn running up and down dark streets for reasons that don’t matter to the people still asleep in the houses we pass. We are the people who have to move and have to talk. (Loudly, apparently, I’ve often heard from those sleeping people. But that’s another post for another time. Like when we are discussing how not to wake up grumpy.)

We are the runners.

So, with not much running happening for the next week in anticipation of Across the Years 72 hours, I find myself wide awake at 4:30 contemplating important matters such as: Why didn’t the stars from Murphy Brown find more success after the show? What was Miles’ last name, anyway? Is coconut milk really as good for you as everyone says? Why do people think eating Sprees while running is bad for you, but consuming Shot Bloks is healthy? You know, all of life’s important questions. Yes, my friends, I am a deep thinker, in case you hadn’t already noticed.

And I still have no answers to the questions.

So what do I do? I get myself out of bad, have three cups of coffee (which I will regret deeply later) and bake. You knew that was coming, didn’t you?

And why? I have no freakin’ idea.

Maybe it’s because I love to eat so much. Maybe it’s because it makes the people around me happy. Or maybe it’s because it’s orchestrated doing, much like running, that involves movement, timing, thoughfulness, and fun. Just like running, but without the pounding that I’m supposed to be avoiding because I’m tapering and I hate it and it’s driving me crazy so I will just keep baking all day making brownies, toffee, coconut bars, cinnamon rolls and lasagna!!!!

Sorry. I told you I would deeply regret that third cup of coffee.

And because I was in such a state, I have no decent pictures. I have crappy ones on my iPhone with terrible lighting that makes the treats look more like roadkill than chocolatey goodness, but none that will make you go, Mmm..yum. Which let’s be honest, that is my goal.

So, at some point (because there is a whole week left until my race), I will have way too much coffee and not enough miles, and I will bake again. And I will photograph. And you will then have photographic evidence of my insanity (like you needed it).

But, because you are most surely a runner, too (unless you just stumbled upon here after Googling “nervous breakdown” or “caffeine poisoning”, and then, I’m sorry), you probably have a random half-dug vegetable garden or a half-read copy of War and Peace left from your last taper and you won’t judge. Much.

Because we know the desire to move squared off with the need to rest. We know the fine line between training and overtraining. We know the place where the goal is alive and bright and where it turns to burnout.

So we taper. And we complain. And we drive the people around us (and on our blog) crazy. And then we bake, or garden, or read.

But then, at the end of the taper, we get to run. Thankfully.

Happy Holidays, my crazy running friends! We’re all in this together and I love you for it!

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