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The Iron Taper Worm

The Taper Worm.

Ahhhhh… it’s back.  Hadn’t seen it since September 24th, 2012.  Oh, TW…how I’ve missed you.  I had a good chuckle at this post from one of my favorite bloggers, Jen Hatmaker—where she’s talking about the absolute hell that is the end-of-the-school-year.  I laughed out loud at the line, “What in the fresh hell is this?”  and will henceforth be adopting it as my own (But unlike some Atlanta-area-mantra-and-tagline-stealing people, I give credit where credit is due. Thanks, Jen. A fresh hell indeed.)

Because taper time… it’s seriously a question of what in the fresh hell is this??? 


What is the taper?

Well, it’s a time before a big race where you greatly reduce your training to give your body a chance to recover, and your mind an opportunity to sink into the deepest depths of triathlon fresh hell – full of doubt and fear and general insanity.  Hence, the Taper Worm.  It’s gross and it wiggles and slimes its way across your entire body, finally settling in the little wiggles in the brain, and camping out there… placing its little TW poos all over the place.


I went back and reviewed my post about Augusta 70.3 last year.  And I had forgotten what kind of mess I was before that race.  At least three times the mess I am now.  At least. I wrote:

“I can literally only control what I think.  My thoughts and my attitude.  That’s it. The race preparation and training is done.  The logistics…will fall in line. The race course, the heat, the weather, the marine life and my body… are… all out of my control.”


My kids are so accustomed to riding around with Andy in the car… “Hey Mom… what’s up with Andy today?”

And like before Augusta, I am making my “control” lists.

Things I Can’t Control

  1. The temperature of the lake
  2. How far my body decides to go before it revolts
  3. Pantsing my poops

Things I Can Control

  1. Swimming with a strong mind and freak-like fast windmill arms
  2. Telling my body that it’s will not completely revolt until Mile 140.7
  3. I can take some stinking Immodium, and hope for the best.

I started packing last night.  Well, not really packing so much as piling.  Creating the piles. Pre-race. During race. Post-race.


Not sure about the cactus. He might be coming too.

It’s Thursday.  I will be in Coeur d’Alene in 6 days.

And in 10 days… it’s GO time.  And no matter what kind of fresh hell I experience between now and then, I can keep going back to what I can control… and what I can’t.  Knowing which category to pop the fresh hell into, and let the rest roll off…Bike check... Check!


  • Cameron

    June 13, 2013 at 10:19 am

    I am so excited for you! Will you write a piece about your “piles”? I am curious what you pack for your various stages of the race? I am doing IMAZ in November and I know what I pack for the 1/2 IM can be very different for a full IM. Thanks! KEEP CALM AND IRONMAN ON Meredith!!!

  • I'm mad for you!

    June 13, 2013 at 10:37 am

    I was directed to your blog by one of Jeff Dauler’s tweets while he was training for CNN’s program last year. I have always loved your “keep moving forward” line and could not believe it when I heard on the radio that he created “keep moving forward” bracelets!! That was clearly yours from the start and he didn’t acknowledge you once.

    With that off my chest… good luck next week!! I have loved following your journey! I signed up for the Atlanta Marathon in October and have lost motivation multiple times. Each time I read your blog it perks me up and inspires me to keep going. Love it! 🙂

  • Debbie

    June 13, 2013 at 11:01 am

    Will you provide websites where we can watch it live? Is it three hours difference? We want to see you cross the finish line! Can the expert give us blog updates thru the day?? This is soooo exciting!!!

  • Missiemom

    June 13, 2013 at 11:15 am

    Imitation is the sincerest form of flatter! Besides he isn’t made of iron so what ever he says shatters against you! So proud keep moving forward!

  • Mark Thalman

    June 13, 2013 at 11:48 am

    I’m in fresh hell myself! The taper worm must be contagious. On the same day you are FINISHING CDA I will be FINISHING my first 70.3 in Williamsburg, Virginia! Yet, right now I am a complete disaster! I have ailments, real or imagined, appearing in every limb. I just bought a new pair of goggles for no apparent reason. I cannot concentrate on anything and am convinced that as soon as I get in the water my body simply won’t move at all. It’s been 18 months of training to get to this and I – AM – TERRIFIED! How do you get through these 10 days of utter messdom? What do you focus on to turn all the self-doubt into affirmation? Anyone? Please! Anyone?

  • Carie Arnett Vercelli

    June 13, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    Excited to follow and watch and comment, but I got extra lucky and unfairly and wrongly got put in FB jail also known as Hell so looks like I will only be commenting on your blog and not FB! I worry you won’t do as well without my sarcastic supportive comments since I’m aware it’s all about me so I will do my best to support and watch from behind the scenes until FB gets its act together and stops suspending people temporarily for just liking and supporting people’s pages! I digress…excited for you and can’t wait for you to send me that live feed!
    As always, carie!

  • Andrea

    June 13, 2013 at 8:31 pm

    I bought some immodium but it said on the package it can cause drowsiness so I thought maybe it wasn’t something I wanted to take in a race! Have you ever experienced this? Any side effects with it? Does it work?

  • Sarah

    June 14, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    I CAN’T wait to hear how your Ironman goes. I feel like I’m tapering now after reading your post. SO exciting! Enjoy these moments as painful as they are!

  • Andrea Rainey

    June 14, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    Hey, let me know when you’ll be in town for IM CDA, we can show you around.
    Um, and the lake is about 5 degrees warmer than last year. And the swim start has been improved (we hope). You’re welcome. 😉


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