Friday, April 16, 2010


Wow, 2 weeks since my last post, and now 2 weeks until St. George. Obviously, I have one thing (or really, 140.6 things) on my mind. Here. Now. Over. Done! Seriously, taper time is seemingly more difficult than the 18 hour weeks!

I have gone through 10 major tapers in my life (7th grade - collegiate senior year) plus all of the mid-season, summer-season, ymca-season mini-tapers. All swimming tapers. I would say I had a 99% success rate. I'm pretty sure I got faster in at least one event every year, luckily ending up "retiring" on top (200 yard backstroke - 2:05.95 - without trying to sound cocky, I just shocked myself remembering how "fast" I was). Anyway, this feeling of taper is all too familiar, and I should trust my past results, but I can't help but freak out a little. It's me.

Signs of Taper:
1) Sleep. Or lack there of. Since I'm not pounding myself into the ground, I'm sleeping like crap! I wake up at 2:50 or 3:50am and think it's time to wake up, but not refreshed.

2) Random Twitching. My muscles want to move. I am not moving them as much. So they move involuntarily. I thought my involuntary heart was annoying (at 207 bpm) but quad convulsions jolting my body awake...not cool.

3) Hunger. It doesn't leave. But again, I'm moving by body maybe I should give the stomach a break. :) Baxter isn't calling nearly as often. Keeping in mind Racing Weight.

4) Movie Watching. On the list: Rocky IV, Rudy, and Ironman. I have watched Rocky IV every year since my first Section carbo-load at the senior captain's house in 1996. There is something about Silvester Stallone's training montage for the match of his life vs the Russian that really got us going. It sounds crazy, but it was tradition. You wouldn't dare suggest anything else. We watched it at my house before my senior year section meet in the fall of 2001. I brought the tradition to college and watched it all four years with my roommate, Missy, who introduced me to the great story of Rudy. As for Ironman, Santa gave that to me 2 years ago as inspiration.

5) Music. On my iPod: Jock Jams. The original. "Are you ready to rumble?!!" Again, not kidding. This was the "soundtrack" to every home swim meet. I specifically remember one meet, where the opposing team got into the office and changed the CD to perform their choreographed pool deck dance. Not cool. We shut them down. You didn't want to mess with the Thunderhawks. Na na na na na na na na na THUNDER! (ACDC anyone?)

6) Doubt. Fatigue. Dead Legs. This is where it gets dark. You doubt your training. You doubt your preparation. You doubt your leg's ability to carry you (or back then, the shoulders ability to rotate). But you manage. You have coaches to tell you it'll be all right. To tell you the training will work. To give you proof. To email your "Training Hours Summary" with pie charts and line graphs.To tell you to trust. To let you know you'll hit your taper. And it'll all be better. At the finish line. With a smile.


Stacy said...

Trust and believe in yourself! The word on the streets is you are in amazing shape for this race! You're gonna do awesome!

Jennifer Yake Neuschwander said...

Thunder!!!! I love it. You are an amazing athlete and individual. Enjoy your day. It's going to be great and you earned it.

Heidi said...

Hey Rach! I am very excited for you! What a challenging, memorable day it will be for you - and I am sure you will do awesome. You always do! When I did my IM it was like 97 degrees and had the highest dropout rate of any Ironman ever. I couldn't run with out getting goosebumps or stopping at the John. I probably walked 21 of the 26 miles. But I finished - barely. Know that no matter how much your legs are burning, how much you want to puke, or how chapped your ass is - you can do it! Believe in yourself and the hundreds of hours you put in! No matter what your time is - it is an accomplishment! I wish you the best for this race and always!
Take Care,