Not really over. Not over over. And it's definitely not over over over.
But the minute I was done with my last 20-miler Saturday, I breathed in deep, with a calm, relaxing sense of relief. Of course I was relieved to be done with 20 miles. But it was more than that.
The training is done.
I'm tapering now.
In case you don't know what tapering is - and since many of you are gambling, boozing poker bloggers you may not - it is, to put it simply, much easier than the training I've done for the past four months.
I've still got plenty of runs to complete, but I'm only running for a half-hour tomorrow. I'm only running four miles on Friday (last Friday I ran 10). I'm only running 12 on Saturday (I know that sounds like a lot, but it's not 20), and it only gets better from there. I only run 8 that next Saturday, and in the last week before the May 9 marathon, I've got the running schedule of an overweight guy trying to get in shape for his softball team.
This means a lot more than a break, though, let's be honest, I need the break. I've been sick more this winter than I used to get in five years, and two of our kids, of course, have strep throat right now, so I need my immune system to be more Superman and less Clark Kent.
((If I would have a nemesis villain, his name would be strep throat, an evil guy who scraps my throat sandpaper-raw and makes me want to lay on the couch and watch bad TV and can only be defeated by a trip to urgent care and a prescription for pills that have to be taken with food. I've had it, no shit, at least 50 times in my life and twice this year)).
I've always been active. I climbed mountains, ran half marathons and even played softball!!!111. But the training for this changed me. I went to bed before 10 p.m. most nights. I turned down poker games and left others early (I have missed far too many Mookies and will probably miss more despite the awesome offer of the BBT5; I'm not linking it because everyone else already did). I basically lived like a monk, and when one of my best friends asked me at a poker game Saturday what else was going on in my life "besides running," I had a hard time answering. There's nothing wrong with being healthy and working for a goal, but the training and being a Dad have left my life a little unbalanced. I'm ready to cut loose a bit. Maybe I'll stay up past 11 p.m. when this is over.
No, the last run means a lot because it means I made it through relatively unscathed. Sure, my knee hurts a bit, but it's already better, and it should be fine by race day. Yeah, I've been sick, but I didn't miss too many runs at all. I'm a bit tired too.
But that's what the tapering is for. It's to build you back up and get you strong again after you've torn yourself down. It's to help you get out there on race day and kick ass.