Surviving the winter “blahs” and a taper

So as much of the country has been experiencing plummeting temperatures, long, cold grey days, and ice, freezing rain and snow, its sometimes hard to stay sunnybeachmotivated.   I think about the summer and my trip to the Outer-banks of NC.  I love the sun, I love the heat.  I grew up north of Boston, and when I went away to college I knew I wanted new surroundings, and SUN! I went to the University of Arizona in’s that for sun!?

I still miss the desert, there is nothing like the pinks and purples of a desert sunset, or the smell after a monsoon rainstorm after it quenches the parched desert…but I digress…

This week is the start of my taper for Mount Mitchell Challenge, a 40 mile run up eastern, and back down America’s highest point.  I bought my first pair of micro-spikes to tackle the ice and snow, and I can’t wait to get my Altra Lone Peak’s out there, to see how they do in the mountains.   I’m a mix of excitement, and nerves.  I know 40 miles is no problem to finish, however, the snow and ice and cold are my biggest adversaries…oh not to mention how I HATE tapering.  My dog Emmitt would like to mention, he also hates the taper, and does anyone want to take him on a long run in the woods? How long do you taper?

I have been keeping myself busy by designing and drawing shirt logo’s for local races.  The one below is a rough draft for Philosopher’s Way Trail Runs, a race my trail running club organizes every May.  Its supposed to be a hobbit-like map of the trail system the race is run on.

IMG_20140205_100052shirtThe blue shirt is from a fatass 50k this winter.

I have also been day-dreaming of ultra races that I’ll do later this year when its warmer.  Two that I am very excited about is Bighorn 50 in WY, and the Barkley Fall Classic 30.  I realize neither is a 100 mile race, which are usually my big “A” race of the year, but I have never been to WY and I hear that this race is as beautiful as it is challenging.  The race starts at 8,800 feet above sea level and boasts 360 panoramic views and seas of wildflowers.  A group of almost 30 of my closest running friends are all signed up for the races (100m-30k.)

As for the Barkley Fall Classic 30, I have a few friends who have attempted the Barkley, both failing, but the idea of that race has kept me quite intrigued.  So when I heard about the shorter version I had to sign up right away.  Funny to have a 30 mile race with 20,000 feet of elevation change, not to be confused with gain.  It must be a beast to have a 13 hour and 20 minute cut off for a 30 mile race!  Very excited! Bring on the warmer temperatures already!

Anyway, back to my taper.

How long do you taper for?   How do you stay motivated though the short, cold days of winter?


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