The Sacred Spot in the Taper

There’s a sweet spot in a training cycle that I’ve grown to love.  And not just love, but truly revel in.  It’s that sacred spot in a taper where you’re now a week out.  You did your last mini-long run, and you’re dialing it in.

From my solid 10 miler this morning!
At this sacred spot in the taper my body is strong, and I trust my training.
I know that in one week I will be on a trail, surrounded by grit, grace, and community.  My people.  My beautiful, rugged, earthy, envelope pushing people.  We’ll be covered in dirt, some blood, some blisters. We’ll be armed with stories of suffering, victory, anguish, blunders, and lessons learned.
We’ll hobble around the finish line with medals hanging from our necks, connecting with those people who pushed us along the trail, helped us through low points, and not care how we look, or how we smell.  We’ll take pictures with our new friends while the sun filters through the clouds and pine trees around us.
We’ll forget that we spend 5+ days a week in an office in dress clothes, because this is what truly feels like home.  On this day Hokas, hydration packs and singlets are our chosen uniforms.  And we wear them proudly.
We’ll smile with bits of Oreos in our teeth, congratulate each other, savor every drop of our free finish line beer, and quietly wish the day would never end.
On Sunday we’ll hobble around, secretly enjoying the soreness because we earned it.  It keeps us connected to the experience that was the previous day’s 50 miler.  We don’t yet think about the twinge of sadness that comes from that soreness fading, and us becoming ‘normal’again.
And now in this sacred spot of my taper I rest, I visualize race day, I study the course so I know how far in between aid stations, and where the biggest climbs and descents are.
I will have all my race gear out and ready by Tuesday.
My gear I had set out before the 2007 Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco. 
I will allow myself to nap longer, take the rest of life a little less seriously, and I’ll read more.
I will reflect on how fortunate I am to have found something that I love so much.  Something that makes me feel so alive and like I’m exactly where I’m meant to be.

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