But really, I’m not a total Type A, OCD triathlete.
Most of the aforementioned personality types dislike taper. They scream of feeling slow, being (more) irritable, feelings of uneasiness, texting me “I f%^&kin hate taper”, bouncing off the walls , and everything of the like. They may blog, tweet (I still don’t “get” all of twitter), or whatever it is that they do.
Me? Whatever. I completely embrace the downtime. Ever once in a while, I enjoy not having to spend nearly an entire weekend day on a bike followed by a run and being shelled for the rest of the day, or a week day trying to cram in two 1-1.5 hour workouts with work, consulting and a side of insanity. Despite the world belonging to the energetic, I relish the opportunity of not needing LOADS of energy to get through everyday – both in the form of mental capacity, and calories (I love eating, but eating all the time does get annoying).
Seriously speaking though, as much “fun” as this stuff is, it’s a lot of work, and sometimes the work, like any kind of work, can be a bit much.
One of the reasons why I love taper is that it has a tendency of getting me charged up. Generally, I am not as tired as I can be during training. I try to sleep – A LOT. I try to incorporate an element of vacation with a race, which can put me at ease. I can, simply put, try to relax after a few days of decompression (while wearing compression gear, of course). In a recent Triathlete Magazine article, Tim DeBoom says “Don’t walk when you can drive, don’t stand when you can sit, and don’t sit when you can lie down.” Rest assured, with the emphasis on rest, I will take those words to heart, because my heart will need it come race day (especially for this Ironman).
Taper also lets me take the edge off a little bit. As training builds, so does fatigue, anticipation, the itch to race, and stress (as training is a stress). Lately, I have been just kind of angry, a sign that my buddy Matt Simpson says, is the sign of needing to race. Yesterday while riding my bike, and minding my own business, I was nearly run over by a car (a guy driving a convertible Toyota Solara no less
While people think anger is a bad thing ("oh Denner, you're so angry") - I don't. It is an energy, and so long as it is controlled and channeled in the right direction (as in, getting me towards the finish line as soon as possible), then it must be embraced. Normally, the lack of inactivity does make me a little uneasy as it does others - but less in the form of the aforementioned actions, and more in the form of getting excited because the next hard workout I do is to actually RACE.
The experience of racing is why I make the sacrifices in my life. I know I said I love the big weekend stuff, but I don’t train just to train - I like racing big "A" races. Yeah, we all do it for a million reasons, but unless we have a race as a target, then we’re just “going for a bike ride” - not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Sometimes though, going on a bike ride just seems like too much work because if I was going to do something fun, I certainly wouldn’t put training for a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride followed by a 26.2 mile run at the top of my list.
The work is done – now it’s time to have some fun. The time, as it always is, is now.
ps- Merriam Webster defines taper as “gradual diminution of thickness, diameter, or width in an elongated object”.
Get your mind out of the gutter.