Tapering is the practice of reducing the distance run leading up to an event so that the body and mind is fully rested for the event. To me tapering is like the prescription for fasting as a means of cleansing the system before the big feast. I do not like it.
My thoughts are dominated by the upcoming 24 hour stadium run in Bangalore. Twenty four hour run is an unknown territory for me for I have never run more than 13 hours (Bangalore Ultra and the Nilgiris Ultra). The biggest unknown is the sleep factor, guess will take it as it comes.
Today’s thoughts were on when to start tapering for the run. If I look at the duration of the run of 24 hours and budgeting 4 hours of run per day, six days of taper is called for which would mean starting tomorrow itself, but, that is too early. I would be a nervous wreck by the time I get to the start point.
The other factor is the rainy weather making my running clothes wet. To have at least two sets of dry clothes for the 24 hour run, I should taper from Thursday at least. This is subject to change in case Sun god shows mercy after 8 AM so that he spares me the heat during the run, but, comes in full force for drying my clothes (Am I being too greedy!)
The memories of the 12 hour run at the same venue when I had to rush in by flight after attending my daughter’s convocation late at night for the run to commence at 5 AM next day is still fresh. My wife was to follow by train and the delayed run meant she came only by 3 PM. She still blames herself (not exactly, actually me, for the Indian Railways getting the train late!) for the severe cramps I was laid low with for more than an hour. It is a different matter that I rose from the debilitating cramps thanks to the able ministrations of Kavitha. I came back to run for the last two hours and finished on a high.
I exorcised the ghost of the cramps in the Mumbai 12 hour run two weeks later. All these thoughts were rushing through my head during my run today. I am all the more concerned because my motive power (read wife) would not be able to supervise my run owing to some work at home.
Though, I do not have any distance target for the run, but, only that I should be able to run for the duration and finish on my two feet. There is, however, an unfinished agenda when we could not complete the 100 mile run from Mysore to Bangalore last year. If I stay strong and the landmark is anywhere near sight by the time I am into the 20th hour, I plan to take batting powerplay and go for broke. Now, I have seriously stuck my neck out, would it have been better to stay shut and let the action speak for itself! Now, the deed is done, I just hope by saying it out loud, I commit myself!
Today’s run was a different kind of Khadi-Khaki interaction. Normally, I cross the army contingent from the opposite direction, but, today as I turned from the war memorial into the flag staff house road I could see two groups of jawans running. I was not trying to overtake them, but, stayed close to them for the stretch till where the Mount road meets Sivananda Salai, where I turn back after my 16th Km. Without making it a competition, I finished ahead of them by the time I finished. It was flattering to see that Ram on his bicycle (recovering from injury!) witnessed my burst towards the end and he passed me with a word of encouragement.
Today again a jawan who crossed me on the Rajaji Salai on my second loop commented that I should take periodical rest with a smile. It was like a sign from heaven and my wife would concur in glee that I should seriously think of tapering.
Thanks to the burst of running with the Khaki, the Khadi finished 32K in 3:17 hours today.