Well, it’s taper time. Only 13 days left until my marathon. I took it easy this weekend with a fast six-mile run on the trail near my house. There are still a few decent workouts scheduled for the remainder of my training, including a 10-miler at qualifying pace, but nothing even close to what I’ve been doing recently.
Runners will tell you that they hate taper time. They can’t stand being inactive for two weeks. It makes them antsy. By the time marathon day rolls around, they’ve driven themselves (and sometimes their family members) crazy.
For me, it’s like Christmas. Two-to-three-hour blocks of time become mine again, sleepless nights before long runs cease. Aches and pains, blisters, and chafing all get a chance to heal. When I know that I’m doing all I can to prepare for my marathon by not training, I couldn’t be happier.
This is just one reason why I contend that I am not a runner.
Sure, by any literal definition, I am one. In two weeks I’ll have run my sixth marathon, and just maybe I’ll have qualified for Boston. But when I line up at the start amongst all the real runners, I’m going to feel like an imposter, just like every other time.
I don’t love running like they do. I don’t do it to unwind, to have some time to myself, or because of some mysterious runner’s high they tell me exists. I don’t have many runner friends. I don’t spend much time shopping for running shoes, craving new running gadgets, or reading running books. If I don’t have a race scheduled, I can’t get myself out the door to run. And, as I said in my very early post How to Not Hate Running, I just don’t like it all that much!
I run for two reasons. I run to stay in shape, and I run because there is something in me that gets a major rush from training to do things I think I can’t do. For me, that part of it is extremely rewarding, and that’s where my passion comes from. After Boston, whenever it happens, there will be something else. Maybe a 50-miler, maybe a triathlon, something. It will surely involve running, but it won’t be about running.