Alright folks, here it is: that rather predictably timed taper-meltdown blog post you’ve all been waiting for. And because this time I’m tapering ahead of a 55-mile run, I feel that I have a good reason to ponder such fundamental questions as “is there really such a thing as eating too many pancakes?”. On the plus side, the fact that I’m going to run a little less over the course of the next two weeks means that I should hopefully have a little more time to update my blog here and there!
(I’m sorry that I’ve been such a bad blogger lately – I’ve been too busy running in cool places like this.)*
But back to my taper-related ponderings. Although I genuinely don’t know how on earth it’s possible that I am tapering again already, I am really very pleased with how my training went. I remember two months ago, when every glance at my training plan was enough to cause a minor fit of hyperventilation. But looking back over it now, I can’t deny that it’s been a very consistent training cycle for me and I did pretty much exactly what I had set out to do. What is more, I really loved the training, especially the beautiful long runs, each of which felt like a journey in its own right. I always knew that tackling an ultra would primarily be a mental challenge, but I did not expect how much spiritual growth would also occur along the way and on the trails. I can only hope that it will be enough to see me go the distance on the day.
And this brings me to one of the most humbling aspects of all of this; for the first time in a very long time, I’ll find myself at the beginning of a road and genuinely not know if I’ve got what it takes to make it to the end of it. It’s thrilling; exciting and intimidating in equal measures.
In all honesty though, I’m very much looking forward to the challenge. I have prepared by body as best I can, clocking a consistently high mileage for the past few months. I think that’s all I really could do to prepare myself for my first ultra: run a lot and be open to learn what I could along the way. I don’t think there’s a formula for completion; for me it’s primarily been a case of getting used the idea of dealing with the unexpected.
I’m looking at the run itself as a journey in its own right. I’ll hopefully enjoy a lot of it, but I also expect a lot of weariness and don’t for a second think that I’ll be able to escape a certain amount of pain. I’ll just have to trust that my mind and spirit will be strong enough to keep going regardless.
I love how Becky has put it to me before: “Go forth and meet your demons”. I like the sounds of that.
And as for the pancakes (and in the interest of carb-loading), I’m think I’m going to put my original question to the test and find out exactly if there is such a thing as too much, and if so, how much is too much. Wish me luck!
*(I’m not sorry.)