Training: Tapering Hypochondria

Stretching as the sun sets.

I’m one week into my pre-race taper, and two weeks from race day. Coach Tim warned about phantom pains and hypochondria coming to roost in these slower weeks. Maybe I’m excessively paranoid because I never got a chance to taper last year, but I’m terrified of a season-ending injury or illness.

Case in point: on Tuesday night, I went to our weekly track meetup and ran so slowly that you could barely call my pace running. My brain wanted to go faster, but I knew that slow and steady would prevent me from doing something dumb. And so I lumbered along, surprisingly comfortable with channeling my inner wimp.

I followed the same philosophy at our long, slow Saturday run, taking the “slow” to heart. I shuffled along for 60 minutes on legs that never fully energized, just because I wasn’t going to take any risks.

And illness… do you know how hard it is to know that my kid is in kindergarten and surrounded by little germ generators? I’m sure that I don’t stand a chance. But those, of course, are just the common illnesses. Since the taper began I’m acutely aware of every story of illness: 30-year-olds who have strokes; pulmonary emboli; rare and terrifying cancers. I realize that I’m more likely to worry myself into some sort of cardiovascular ailment than I am to have something happen by chance.

The funny thing (if there is a funny thing) is that I’m not usually like this. I’ve worked for companies specializing in cardiology, oncology and a variety of other device and healthcare companies, and I’ve never had a problem with hypochondria before. I swear it’s worse this year because What If I Have to Bail On This Race Two Years in a Row?

So for the next two weeks you’ll find me living in my little plastic bubble, shielding myself from race-ending dangers.

Does anyone else go through tapering hypochondria?

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2 Responses

  1. karen F says:

    I sure do! I feel like Im going insane! Im not made for this! I just want to get to that start line healthy and injury free!

  2. Alisa says:

    Oh, I love the quote you posted on your blog!

    “Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.” Shel Silverstein

    I absolutely needed that today. Will I have a chance to meet you in SF?

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