Step 1: Obsessively check the weather every 4.2 seconds. Because obviously it is going to change that quickly. Decided that it’s horrible weather and you are screwed no matter what the forecast actually says. Have an irrational anger toward weather.com for not having a forecast that goes further than 10 days out.
Step 2: Convince yourself that every small ache and pain that you are feeling is a major injury that will keep you from the start line. Surely than small pain in your foot is a stress fracture. And that headache? A brain tumor! Was that a cough? Pneumonia for sure! Or Swine Flu! (Is that even around anymore?) Drive not only yourself crazy, but also your significant other and your dogs crazy as well.
Step 3: Convince yourself that you’re going to fail horribly and that everyone will judge you. Somehow you’re going to end up living in a van down by the river (please tell me you get that reference!). Put yourself into a major shame spiral. Decided that wanting to run a marathon was the dumbest idea ever. Strike that. Second dumbest idea. Telling people about running a marathon was the dumbest idea ever.
Step 4: Review all of your athletic clothing. Promptly come to the conclusion that it is all terrible, uncomfortable, chafes, and is somehow causing world hunger (even if none of that is actually true). Consider possibly running naked for a brief moment. Then start shopping on Amazon.
And now for the last and final step. Listen to this one, kids. It’s the most important one.
Step 5: Realize that you are going crazy…but it is completely normal. If you google taper madness, oodles of articles pop up. People paranoid about getting sick, paranoid about injuries, worried about training, worried about weather…the list goes on. And it is all perfectly normal. After going through weeks and months of training, it is understandable to be anxious and stressed. There is a lot of work that has gone into training. But one race will not make or break you. You have to trust your training and trust your preparations. And you have to accept that you can’t control everything. Like the weather.
Even if you don’t finish, you at least had the courage to start. There will always be another race. And your family and friends will always be there to support you no matter what happens. I can tell you that no matter what, my Fella and monsters will be cheering for me the entire way and waiting for me at the finish line. And they will love me and be proud of me like I won the freaking marathon…no matter the outcome.
Have you ever had taper madness? What crazies did you experience?