Wednesday, April 30, 2014


Tapril.  It's Taper + April, see?  Tapril!  I really ought to have that trademarked, registered, copyrighted, all of that.



Because I've registered to run the Mini for eight consecutive years (missing two due to a broken leg), I'm always tapering in the last couple weeks of April, which makes taper and April 50% synonymous for me. It's an exciting time because it means the race is nearing. It's an awful time because the potential for me to experience taper madness is high.

For nonrunners who are wondering, taper is the time period before a race when you "taper off" your high mileage to give your legs a rest before Big Race Day. Sounds awesome, right? Wrong. WRONG. When one's body becomes accustomed to high mileage, one's body craves high mileage; and when the mileage drops, it starts experiencing symptoms similar to withdrawal. Aching legs, extreme appetite, a sore throat, and utter exhaustion are my top taper symptoms that manifest physically.

However, the worst part of taper is the psychological drama, which is tenfold with this admitted worrier. I worry that I've not trained well enough. I worry that I'll have a bad day on the day of the race. I worry that the weather will not be optimal. I worry that I'll be at the start line and realize I've forgotten something important. I worry that I'll come down with some terrible illness and be unable to perform well. I worry, worry, worry, usually about things I can't control. I've even dreamed that I was shot by a sniper while running the race.

Calm Down
Running happy since 1983
The truth is, I've had a GREAT April. It's the first month in 2014 where I've been happy with my mileage. The weird edema in my heel finally gave up a few weeks ago, though there are vestiges of pain left behind. I had a great 15K pace run, and I was able to join Amelia for her big run. My fitness is right where I want it to be. Wendy and I have a solid race plan for Saturday, and our friend Becky is going to join us. I couldn't feel more prepared and confident. When my mind starts darting to the doom, I try to focus on that confidence.

Truthfully, as important as the Mini and my performance in it are to me, I know that even if I have a bad race, it will be a good day. Any day I run is a blessing, which sounds cheesy, but is a known truth to runners who have been injured. The Mini is my favorite race of the year, and I can't wait to run it with my friends. A PR (sub-1:54:19) would just be icing on the Mini cake. If I focus on the fun, the rest will fall into place.

Month Four
Here are my statistics from the fourth month of 2014, Tapril.

Miles Run: 88.88
Runs: 14
Hours Run: 14.45
Average Run Distance: 6.35 mi.
Average Run Pace: 9:45.39
Average Run Duration: 1:01:56.4
Average Temperature: 49.9°F
Longest Run: 13.10 mi., April 19
Shortest Run: 2.75 mi., April 1 (Three parts: 1, 2, 3)
Favorite RunApril 5, 9.30 mi.; and April 19, 13.10 mi.
Total Lifetime Mileage: 3,222.35

(I swear the 88.88 mi. happened on its own. I didn't do it on purpose.)

That I ran the most mileage I've run all year in a taper month says a lot for my rehabilitated injury. This body is ready for a PR on May 3! Be sure to download the Mini app to follow along on Saturday. Just search 500 Festival in your app store, and search for Jo Cobb, Bib #1301. Good luck to all my running buddies who are racing this weekend!