Sunday, July 31, 2011

Egg Shell Syndrome

As you may have read earlier, I hate the taper. Just like most runners, tapering is one of the hardest things to do leading up to a race. You've trained and trained and now you suddenly feel like you're stuck in mud. Personally, I think I'll be skipping the whole taper thing after my next race. It just doesn't sit well with me and it makes me go a bit mental. And I don't think it will help me that much. However, I do think a recovery week will help me rest a bit and heal a bit before a race. But that's a future experiment.

Today's post is about the odd phenomenon I've discovered that I go through in the days leading up to a race. Especially a big race or one that I'm very nervous about. It's the Egg Shell Syndrome (ESS). ESS is nothing more than the sudden increase in paranoia that anything and everything you do could injure you in some way. An injury to your feet, legs, toes, or something along those lines that will take you out of the race. With ESS, everything becomes a potential landmine. Legos on the floor. Socks on the kitchen linoleum. A careless kid that steps on your toes. A hidden divot in the yard. Any sort of cough or sniffle or sneeze.

ESS almost entirely mental. Yes, there are certain hazards that we are required to deal with in our daily lives. Some deal with more, some with less, but they are always there. That hose waiting to trip you on the sidewalk has been there for a month. But in the days before a race, ESS makes that hose look like a military obstacle course.

Unfortunately, I've found no treatment for ESS. Just like tapering, it happens. There's no way I have found to conquer the sudden change in mental state. No medications, no therapy, no treatment. You just have to deal with it and push through. It's just part of training.

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