Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Community News Network

October 23, 2013

On your mark. Get set. Wait!

As if it wasn't stressful enough to check the weather, over and over, every single waking hour of every single day. And worry about whether someone at work has a cold or, my God, something more contagious. And keep an eye on all those acorns that have begun to litter the ground - a person could slip on one of those, twist an ankle, and all that hard work would go right down the drain.

On top of all that, Beth Graham had to live with the threat that Sunday's Marine Corps Marathon would be canceled altogether because of the government shutdown.

Didn't Congress know that Graham was tapering? How much is one woman expected to take?

"You work so long for one day, and it's hard to think something like illness or weather or the government can ruin what you're working for," she said.

If you've noticed more than the usual population of cranky, antsy, obsessive people in the running world this week, there is an explanation: Thousands of runners are winding down their training for the 38th running of Washington's most famous marathon. In running vernacular it's called "tapering."

It's that period two to three weeks before the big race when runners begin to sharply cut back on their mileage, resting their legs for the big day. Their bodies heal, but their nerves take a beating.

Runners preparing to cover 26.2 miles spend several months getting used to rising before dawn four or five times a week, putting in 50-mile weeks, enjoying the freedom to eat what they want and savoring the endorphin rush that accompanies all that exercise. Then they have to cut back, quickly.

It's as if someone stole your morning coffee, every day for two or three weeks. You might not kill him over it, but you'd consider it. Robbed of their favorite pastime, runners brood about losing fitness, gaining weight, injuring themselves and race day weather, to name just a few of their favorite obsessions.

"I hate it," said Graham, a 30-year-old defense contractor from Fairfax, Va. Her husband isn't wild about it either.

Rich Edson, a 32-year-old Washington correspondent for the Fox Business Network who is training for his first marathon, agreed. "I'm getting anxious and I'm getting nervous," he said. "I want to train more. I want to go out [running] more. But fortunately, I'm working quite a lot."

"This is really my first experience with tapering," he added. "I've read enough to have no idea what I'm doing . . . It's so difficult to hold yourself back when you're just pushing, pushing, pushing all the time, and learning to enjoy it."

In his training bible "Marathon," longtime coach and marathoner Hal Higdon polled his readers, asking whether "taper madness" is real. Seventy-five percent said it is.

"There is no real cure," Higdon advised. "Cross-training is not the answer. Going on an eating binge as a mood reliever is a very bad idea. Using the extra time to reconnect with your spouse might be the best choice, unless your spouse is running the marathon too."

Graham's husband, David, is not running the marathon. (Though he is cheerleader-in-chief. His inside jokes on big posters keep her going during marathons.) So he is calm when his otherwise normal wife turns a tad compulsive during her taper.

"I focus on the logistics of the race," she said. "Familiarize myself with water stops, the timing of where I need to be when. I read a lot of race reports.

"I check the weather. I really like the hourly forecast. But it's a little too soon," she said last week, the disappointment evident in her voice.

"Last year I ran [the] Outer Banks [marathon] and there was the hurricane. That added a whole new layer of weather obsession." Sandy hit New Jersey and New York instead, sparing the marathon.

Part of the problem is that distance runners tend to be a little OCD to begin with. They accumulate months of data on miles, pace and calories on their Garmin wristwatch GPS devices or their iPhones. They leave few details to chance.

Before the Steamtown Marathon in Scranton, Pa., "I can't tell you how many times I called the hotel to say 'Am I going to have a king bed or two queen beds? And am I going to have a refrigerator?,' " Graham remembered. Before she eats her yogurt, she checks to make sure it's not hiding something nasty. Several days before a 50-kilometer race two years ago, she came down with shingles. She ran anyway. "It probably wasn't my best decision," she admitted.

Then there are those pesky acorns on Virginia's W&OD trail, where Graham likes to train.

"All it would take is one perfectly placed acorn and you're down for the count," she said.

Again, Graham isn't like this when she isn't tapering. She leads a normal life. She has a good job at the Pentagon and a cat. She's co-leader of the Vienna-Oakton chapter in Virginia of "MomsRUN This Town," a nationwide running group for women. Her chapter has 500 members.

With the government shutdown resolved, the Marine Corps Marathon will go on as planned. So if you see Graham, or any other thin, intense-looking people dressed head-to-toe in running gear around Washington this week, give them a wide berth.

"It's a very stressful time," she said.

 

1
Text Only
Community News Network
  • Screen Shot 2014-04-16 at 12.51.22 PM.png VIDEO: Toddler climbs into vending machine

    A child is safe after climbing into and getting stuck inside a claw crane machine at a Lincoln, Neb., bowling alley Monday.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • portraitoflotte.jpg VIDEO: From infant to teen in four minutes

    Dutch filmmaker Frans Hofmeester’s time lapse video of his daughter, Lotte — created by filming her every week from her birth until she turned 14 — has become a viral sensation.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Victimized by the 'marriage penalty'

    In a few short months, I'll pass the milestone that every little girl dreams of: the day she swears - before family and God, in sickness and in health, all in the name of love - that she's willing to pay a much higher tax rate.

    April 15, 2014

  • Allergies are the real midlife crisis

    One of the biggest mysteries is why the disease comes and goes, and then comes and goes again. People tend to experience intense allergies between the ages of 5 and 16, then get a couple of decades off before the symptoms return in the 30s, only to diminish around retirement age.

    April 15, 2014

  • treadmill-very-fast.jpg Tax deduction for a gym membership?

    April marks another tax season when millions of Americans will deduct expenses related to home ownership, children and education from their annual tax bill. These deductions exist because of their perceived value to society; they encourage behaviors that keep the wheels of the economy turning. So why shouldn't the tax code be revised to reward preventive health?

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • bomb1 VIDEO: A year after marathon bombing, Boston remains strong

    The City of Boston came together Tuesday to honor those who were injured and lost their lives at the Boston Marathon on the one-year anniversary of the bombing. While the day was sure to be emotional, those affected by last year's race are showing they won't let the tragedy keep them down.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Google acquires drone maker Titan Aerospace to spread Internet

    Google is adding drones to its fleets of robots and driverless cars.
    The Internet search company said it acquired Titan Aerospace, the maker of high-altitude, solar-powered satellites that provides customer access to data services around the world. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

    April 14, 2014

  • E-Cigarettes target youth with festivals, lawmakers say

    The findings, in a survey released Monday by members of Congress, should prod U.S. regulators to curb the industry, the lawmakers said. While e-cigarettes currently are unregulated, the Food and Drug Administration is working on a plan that would extend its tobacco oversight to the products.

    April 14, 2014

  • Search teams will send unmanned sub to look for missing Malaysian airliner

    Teams searching for a missing Malaysian airliner are planning for the first time to send an unmanned submarine into the depths of the Indian Ocean to look for wreckage, an Australian official leading the multi-nation search said Monday.

    April 14, 2014

  • Why Facebook is getting into the banking game

    Who would want to use Facebook as a bank? That's the question that immediately arises from news that the social network intends to get into the electronic money business.

    April 14, 2014

Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video
Raw: Ferry Sinks Off South Korean Coast Town, Victims Remember Texas Blast Freeze Leaves Florida Panhandle With Dead Trees At Boston Marathon, a Chance to Finally Finish Are School Dress Codes Too Strict? Raw: Fatal Ferry Boat Accident Suspicious Bags Found Near Marathon Finish Line Boston Marks the 1st Anniversary of Bombing NYPD Ends Muslim Surveillance Program 8-year-old Boy Gets His Wish: Fly Like Iron Man Sex Offenders Arrested in Slayings of CA Women India's Transgenders Celebrate Historic Ruling Tributes Mark Boston Bombing Anniversary Raw: Kan. Shooting Suspect Faces Judge
Poll

Goshen City Council member Dixie Robinson is asking residents to make an effort to clean up their yards this spring. The city’s Dial-A-Truck program is available to haul trash away. Do you think there are more unsightly properties in Goshen this year than five years ago?

Yes, I have noticed more problem properties
No, I have not noticed more problems
I think the problems are about the same as always
     View Results