In the taper phase of my marathon training now, I'm doing everything I can from getting what a friend of mine calls the "taper crazies."
Taper crazies are what you get when you worry you didn't train enough. Or you aren't fast enough. It's the period of self-doubt that seems to creep in when our muscles get the smallest little bit of time to rest in preparation for a big day ahead.
One of the things I did for my half-marathon training I've taken to doing again is leaving my RunKeeper app off during the last week before a race (apologies, RunKeeper, I'll be back, this is just my thing).
So why, during the taper days where you'd think I *most* want to know my pace and distance and time do I shut everything but my music off?
Because it helps me remember the reason I started running, and the reason I've stuck with it is for the sheer joy of it.
Races are fun, don't get me wrong, but they do not feed my desire to log more miles. Health, too, is key for me, but that is not what makes me get out even on the coldest days with running gear ready to go.
What does keep me going is the simple act of putting one foot in front of the other, looking around, and feeling alive in the moment I am running.
That sounds way more mumbo-jumbo Zen than I normally am, but gosh darn it, it's true.
This morning, instead of listening to my pace being announced every mile, I cranked up my favorite songs and made a point of making my left foot strike the ground on the downbeats in time to the music. Instead of listening to how long I'd been running, I picked one of my favorite routes and decided to just go until I felt like turning back. Instead of worrying if I am actually ready or not for my marathon, I took the time to think that a year ago I started out being able to run less than a mile.
Today? Today I just ran. Race day I plan to do the same thing -- with no goal other than moving ahead just a few more steps than I was.
And I'll leave my tracker behind for just a little bit longer.
Truth is the only tracker I really need is myself.