"taper syndrome 32094b: becoming more germ-phobic than Howard Hughes. 4:20 P.M. April 24"
I share this because it's so true. That's so me. I was off the charts this morning when I had to take one of my kids to a doctor's appointment. That waiting room was absolutely a teeming mass of germs.
I really believe the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders needs to add a section on taper hypochondria for marathon runners.
I'd define it thusly:
A (hopefully) temporary mental disorder in which a runner believes any little thing he encounters in the week prior to the race will throw off all of his hard work. Any little sniffle sends him to the medicine cabinet for zinc supplements. Anyone around him who has the temerity to sneeze is looked upon as being a carrier of a combination of the Swine Flu and Black Plague. Other symptoms include feeling phantom pain in parts of the body which had not given him pain during 18 weeks of brutal training but now bother him because he is NOT running huge mileage. Pain usually lasts several hours, then mysteriously disappears as quickly as it came, only to be replaced by soreness in the other leg. Sufferers also show signs of nascent, fleeting eating disorders. He irrationally believes he will gain weight by reducing mileage but, as race day nears, then has the opposite fear that he's not eating enough. All traces of the condition usually go away three (or, if it's a bad day, four) hours after the starting horn sounds.
There is no cure for taper hypochondria, But researchers are working on drug trials featuring super-skinny, neurotic lab rats. Plans are being drawn up for a telethon to benefit T.H. sufferers. Please, dig deep and give generously. They'll take any donation of GU or electrolyte replacement drink.
Together, we can beat this. Thank you.