Drink more wine? Go shopping? Paint your nails? Walk in a forest without dripping sweat?
I have intentionally avoided structured training over the last few years. I currently embrace the ultra playing mentality. Ultras are my play, fun, and way to make meaning out of life and relationships. Yet, once or twice a year, I am forced to taper back my mileage in order to be fully rested and itching for a main event or race. Sounds like a dream! Resting the body and mind for a few weeks provides time and energy to work on projects, life maintenance, and attempting to fit into normal society. On paper, yes...
Tapering and I do not get along. Although it is essential, I have always struggled with it. Everything that running, playing and exploration brings me, is brought to a halt. The better person running helps me become, is also stuck. I can feel like I am injured on 'run / house arrest.' I also have memories of phantom injuries and niggles debilitating me two weeks before a main event (cue Boston 2013). I find myself with more time than I'd like to over analyze everything, procrastinate, and spin my wheels like a maniac.
I know that enjoying the process of the taper is essential. The taper will do nothing for me, if I am unable to turn my brain off. As our bodies to not differentiate between types of stress, my mind being stressed during a taper is just as bad as going for a 50km mountain run during a rest period. Ironically, running is what helps me relax and turn my brain off. Painting my nails, just doesn't do the trick. There are many bright sides to my taper struggles. Mainly, it is another reminder of how necessary endurance is in my life.
Seriously, what the hec do 'normal people do?' By normal, I mean those people that are not out in the mountains and woods for hours on end discovering chaffing in the more bizarre of regions on their body. What does a 'normal week' or weekend look like? I am truly blessed that I have no idea what being normal means, as I believe it to be a privilege to have found what makes me come alive.
During this taper, I have projects and to do lists. The main one being Vlanning - Planning my van. Yes I'm transitioning my life into a Van, or as I call it my 'Vanicorn.' (More on the Vanicorn later). I also need to sell some possessions I no longer need, move out of my apartment, organize my drop bags, and ensure I have all of the emergency gear for my next event. I'm beyond lucky, as I can also swim in my lake, paddle board, foam roll, go for therapeutic forest walks with friends, and leisurely hike into the alpine mountains in my backyard.
Over the past week, I have dabbled in the above list. Mostly, however, my productivity includes the art of procrastination, sending stupid joke texts to my friends, twiddling my thumbs, going for caesars with friends, spending money I don't have, over posting on Instagram, creeping randoms on Facebook, and doing the odd pushup. If this is being normal, then please don't sign me up. I prefer suffering all day long in the mountains.
Tapering tests me, and although I am extremely unproductive with life these days, I am grateful for this process. I have a few more days left. If you need me, I'll be at procrastination station.
Now, the real test is to rest. (@to_scho)