Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Taper Time

My 70.3 is in a week and a half and it's taper time. I've only had a couple "real" tapers, a couple two week tapers for 70.3's and a couple one week tapers for half marathons. I can say there is a difference, at least for me. At the start of the two week taper, my legs are absolute toast and 3 mile runs feel like there is no way my legs can carry me 10 more miles, specially after already being on the race course for four hours. Then comes the niggles, aches, pains, and other injury type feelings in a bunch of new places all through my feet, ankles, calves, knees, quads, hamstrings, etc. you name it, and during taper it's going to develop a brief bout of feeling like a race ending injury just popped up. I think it is just the body repairing the cumulative damage that months of training has inflicted on my body, at least that is what I hope. Then there are the thoughts, "did I do enough?". Well, if I didn't, it is what it is. Some like to say the hay is in the barn. I'm feeling pretty good about my base training. A quick comparison against what I did for my first half Ironman shows ...

NOLA 2011
Door County 2012
My conclusion? First, It is tough to compare graphs of different scales. Second, don't look at your graphs a week and a half out from a race :-(. Seriously, it looks like my knee injury hurt my base building period significantly and joining an extreme fitness class hurt my already pathetic swim volume significantly. I guess comparing the graphs is valuable, even if you don't like what you learn.

So besides the taper madness, I've had some other issues leading to the need for taper and rest. After my last tri, I developed an extremely runny nose that I'm not sure if it was allergies or a cold (I'm still not sure). This lasted for 3-4 days then turned into an extremely gooey nose that as kind of thick and caused snot rockets to be gooey stringy messes like two year olds get. This lasted for 4-5 days. Then it moved into my chest where it currently resides. I think it's getting better and fear it's too late to do anything about it anyway. Besides the cold, I had some lower back pain for a couple weeks that seems to be on the mend. Besides the back pain, I've been extremely busy with travel, work, and house guests.all good stuff, but none very good for rest and recovery. Besides the business, I finally stopped denying I have athletes foot and started treating it. I've had peeling, cracking feet for a few months and wrote it off as being due to doing exercises on a rough pool deck with my wimpy feet. Well my skin started getting thicker and itching and burning. It finally reached a peak on Saturday and after some self diagnosis on the interwebs, came to the conclusion I have athletes feet. So I bought cream for my feet, a liquid for my toe nails, powder spray for my shoes and Epsom salts and started treatment.

Shoes after being sprayed with powder. I did take pictures of my feet, but spared you.
So in my research I found out that I violated every rule I could find about avoiding athletes foot. So, don't be like Mike and do the following:

- keep your feet clean and dry

- wash your feet with soap every day including between your toes

- completely dry your feet after they are wet including between your toes

- wear clean socks

- let your shoes dry out between each wearing

- always wear pool shoes or sandals at the pool and in the locker room.



I did none of these and went further by wearing dirty socks to work out, sometimes still wet. I figured when doing two a days, why not? Well now I know. I also use to wear cycling shorts multiple times until last weekend. Turns out the same grunge can end up in the nether regions. Who knew? The not re-using bike shirts was a precautionary change. No jock itch here :-).



I also did some research regarding peeing in the shower preventing athletes foot. Well, it doesn't, and I have proven it by peeing in the shower every day for at least a year (don't tell my wife :-)) and still getting athletes foot. Before you knock peeing in the shower, entire countries are recommending its citizens pee in the shower to save water. Plus, it saves time :-).



Ok, enough about that. Back to tapering......



16 comments:

On the Right Track said...

OMG, OMG, OMG...I love you!!! If you ever read my "random things about me" ...I too love to pee, maybe for different reasons, but whatever...

i absolutely love your honesty and love your blog...period! I think you will be great on your tri and I think that you will find yourself amongst the top in that race! Your post was almost like a good book cover...it really wanted to keep us reading about????hmmm???

Best of Luck to ya ;)

Michael said...

Well I'm right here with you in week 2 of taper...only 2 more days til race day. Last week I was feeling totally unprepared...but now I feel ready. I guess the race day will tell me for sure. I know my swim volume has not been nearly enough, but it will get me through the race and that's all I need. Good luck with yours!!!

Kovas Palubinskas said...

Sounds like you have the perfect balance of complaining and accepting the taper. Nicely done.

Kate said...

What a combination of TMI and hilarity. I can't believe Door County is so soon! HOw exciting! Yeah, the volumes were different, but maybe your (surely greater, right) fitness level will make up for that. And I would totally compare graphs after it was way too late to do something about it. :) Nobody's paying us to do this (unfortunately), so life getting in the way is just something we have to accept and deal with. Sounds like you've done just that.

Jill said...

When ones bladder gets really old and it encounters running water, it naturally wants to pee it out - a shower being one instance. I'm not speaking of experience here since mine's a young 29 years old ;)...but I heard that and when my bladder gets old and I have to pee in the shower because I can't hold it, then I'm going to just tell everyone that I'm doing so to save H2O :). Kinda like peeing in the open water when I started doing these swim races at the lake this year. Then the cool thing is that you then end up with a mouth full of that crap. No wonder I've had a stomachache for the past two weeks! :)

Anyway, enough about peeing....

Sounds like tapering for a half IM is about the same as for a marathon....questioning everything going on with the body, especially the mind. The period time when the pace of life is traveling at a velocity inversely proportional to the desire rate of rest. I always like to think of the taper madness as a way of honoring the race we're about to embark on. It deserves our nervousness beforehand...but once the race starts, then the race is ours!! You're going to do fantastic, I just know it. Well, as long as you still have skin on your foot to bike and run, that is! :)

JFord said...

Taper weeks drive me crazy as well, especially the did I do enough thoughts! I have faith in you, I know you will do great!

Kathy said...

Grrr ... Athlete's foot and jock itch!!! Hope you clear that quickly!
Peeing the the shower??? Seriously? I'll take you work for it! ;)
Best of luck with you IM half!!! You are going to do great!

ajh said...

Okay I do none of those things you recommend for not getting athlete's foot. Yikes. And I absolutely wear bike shorts again. I don't want to wear out the padding washing it or is that an old wives' tale?
Good luck with the tapering madness. You will do great and I can't wait to read about it.
Just reading about all the peeing in your report and the comments makes me need to go pee.

Mike said...

Washing bike shorts will wear out the pad. I wash them on delicate.

Mike said...

Ha, no jock itch here. I am washing the shorts more to help prevent it. I fixed the post :-)

Kepa Wong said...

Wow, I really hope your taper helps your recovery. That is a laundry list of items that is affecting your body. I know what you mean, though, it seems like all the training aches and pains rises to the surface just before a race. Somehow, though, I know that I will be reading a great race report from you when its all over.

Anne B said...

I had a bout of athletes foot about 10 years ago and thought I would never be rid of the evil scourge. Not even sure what I really did to get rid of it, it just kind of went away. But it was awful.
Enjoy the taper for Door County! i will eat a donut for you tomorrow!

Laima said...

Too funny! Happy taper:)

Teamarcia said...

Wow taper madness indeed! Yes we don't need any more grunge. The peeing I'll allow but not the grunge. Glad you've got the AF under control.

Deb said...

Hahaha, glad you spared the foot picture, no offense.

Come race day, you will feel so much better then now. In fact, you should be glad that cold has hit now. It will force you to get extra rest, and better now then race day!

Can't wait to hear all about it!

Swim Bike Mom said...

Love it!