Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Race Report - Leadville Part 3 of 3, No really, I end it this time

Heading out of Mayqueen, once I hit the single track I actually started to feel better.  The sun was coming up and just feeling the warmth brought back some life.  I had run this section before (at least until I lost the trail on a training run) and felt pretty good.  I knew I had to make some time up so I was pushing the pace and actually passed a couple of people in this section.  The first few miles are really fun single track on the Colorado/Continental Divide trail.  After that, you hit Hagerman road which is a long gradual incline that takes you up to the trail which takes you over Sugarloaf pass.  I actually felt pretty good on this section.  I was power hiking up the hill and felt like I was making pretty good time.  At one point as I approached the top I looked back and could see all the way to the start of the race, past MayQueen, past Turquoise Lake it was a beautiful site.  I actually was pretty happy at that moment to be right where I was, running the race and just being in some wonderful mountains.

Coming down Sugarloaf - photo by Serious Running
If the trip up was my moment of enjoying Leadville, then once I reached the top my racing brain reminded me that I needed to get a move on.  The cutoff was going to be tight and I needed to make up time.  I did NOT want to have my band cut at Fish Hatchery for goodness sake!  The run down was tough. Very steep sections along  the course and my feet were starting to hurt.  Not blisters or rubbing just swelling a bit.  It was a little disconcerting because I was only twenty miles in or so.  This section more than any I felt like not having run in four weeks was contributing to bad feelings and probably mostly my mental state.  Some of the downhill on this section was hard for me to even run do to its steepness.  Once I made it off the hill, I started looking for the Fish Hatchery aid station which we had visited the day before.   It was one of those times where you keep thinking "its got to be around this corner!" and then it isn't.  Rinse and repeat for another mile or two.  I was on paved road and a long straight section when I finally saw someone walking towards me.  It was a race official with a radio.  This fully engaged my freak out.  I was getting close to the 6 hour cutoff for Fish Hatchery, what was going to happen here?  As I approached he looked at his watch a couple times and shook his head at me.  Finally as I was passing by he said "You are right on the cusp of not making it.  You have 1.5 miles to go and a couple of hills.  IF you run HARD the whole way you MIGHT make it."    My response?

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!

Oh and then I remembered how crappy I was starting to feel.  However there was no choice, I was not about to quit and not about to let them cut my band.  So I ran, HARD.  I wasn't moving fast, but it felt like an all out sprint.  As I approached the entrance to the aid station one of the crew was there walking towards me and yelling.  We had coached many years together long ago (wrestling) and I knew by the look on his face what kind of response I was going to get.

Dramatization
 "COME ON ACE YOU NEED TO GO NOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWW!!!  GET MOVING!  YOU NEED TO RUN!  FASTER!  MOVE IT!!!!"  I paraphrase.  It was just what I needed.  I was totally anaerobic/red line at that point and wanted to die, but he and the other crew got me through the finish line in about two minutes under the cut off.  I went through the aid station and medical check (optional I guess at that point because I just walked past,) and they "crewed" me up.  What an awesome crew!  Once again I wouldn't have made it without them.  I ran the last 1.5 miles in under 10 minutes / mile which is smoking for me.   I asked the crew when I made it, "Did I just sprint 1.5 miles so I could go another two hours??"  Their response was "Yes now hurry up!"

Next up was the long straight stretch to Half Moon II aid station.  This section was a mental battle.  The first part is the most boring part of the course, a lot of it on paved, flat roads where you can see out through the entire valley.  I was struggling mentally here to be honest.  My body was hurting, a lot more than I thought it would at this point.   My shin was acting up (though in a different spot) and another cutoff was looming.

I wanted to give up on this section, but I don't think I gave in.  After the fact you look back and ask, "couldn't I have gone faster/done more?"  but at the time I was doing my best.  I was running and walking trying to cover distance.  Mentally I was literally having yelling matches with myself about my pace and continuing on and not giving up.  The people along the way I'm sure were rather disturbed.  The crew met me at Powerline which was a huge help.  The race hits a dirt road at this point and gets back next to the trees.  I had about three miles to go and about forty-five minutes to do it.  The crew encouragement was huge.  I believed I could make it.  Despite having a shouting match with my mp3 player which I was wearing at this point, I was moving on out.  Not long after this, I unfortunately made my next mistake.

MISTAKE #2 (number is probably higher)  MISSING THE TURN

Yeah so I ran right past a turn off.  Whoops.  I was cruising along and looked up and found myself at a four way intersection WITH NO COURSE MARKINGS.  Oh no.  This is not good.  I had no idea which way to go.  I looked on my map and directions, and saw the sign for the Forest Service road I was supposed to be on and started following it.  Still no course markings.  Then I hit another intersection and saw some course markings.  Sweet, I thought, back on the course.  At least I was happy until I saw someone shuffling towards me.  As I got closer I realized it was a guy I HAD PASSED THREE MILES AGO!!  I WAS GOING THE WRONG WAY!

 AIIIIIIIIIIIIIRRRRRRRRRHHHHHGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.  Complete demoralization.  The guy I now met had totally given up and been shuffling and barely walking just past Fish Hatchery and now I had wasted at least a half hour and probably 2.5+ miles going off the course and at times in the wrong direction.  The cutoff time came and went and a race official in a truck came by and told me I was out of the race.  Even the dejected walk of shame brought me back in about 30 minutes past the cutoff.  Just under the amount of time I had wasted being off the course.  To add to that frustration, I talked to a lady in front of me who told me she had seen me go past the turn off and was screaming at me to come back, but I had my mp3 player on and didn't hear her.  *sigh*  I also learned later that several people missed a turn in this area.  The course markings were there, but I would say that  they were not always clear, at least in my stupefied state.  I'm going to ask for giant flashing neon signs so I won't miss them next time.

So there is my race.  33 miles or so in 8:30.  The crew and everyone was waiting for me at Twin Lakes and so they had to radio ahead to tell then I had been forced out.   Disappointment.  Feeling like I had let everyone down was very tough.  Perhaps I will ramble on about the philosophical implications at some point, but here for a way to wind it up are my

Top Ten Things I Learned from a DNF at Leadville

1.  God is Good and His Love endures forever.
2.  Having good friends to help me, even in my craziness, was priceless.  (Though they refused to apply Body Glide to my "nether regions")
3.  You must dare to believe in order to have a chance of success.
4.  It hurts more to fail, when you dare to believe.
5.  I know a little bit better about what it takes to finish this race, and I didn't have it on this day.
6.  I'm still crazy enough to think I might be able to work hard enough to have what it takes.
7.  Consuming too many salt tabs without enough water, when you aren't sweating a lot to begin with = "shouting at your shoes"
8.  My wife is amazing.  (Did I mention she did all this crewing and planning and organizing while she is eight months pregnant?  uhh yeah, hard core.)
9.  I kept my promise not to quit.  You look back and always say, "could I have done more?" but I gave my best effort at the time.
10.  Did Not Finish stinks.  But as Try Running pointed out, Did Not Start is worse.  I trained hard, toed the line, and gave it my best shot.  Now it is time to regroup, reload,  and.......try again?



Part 1
Part 2

Friday, August 27, 2010

Race Report - Leadville 100 part 2 of X (where X > 2)

The gun was off and I was running in the 50 meter fun run!

OK, so that wasn't the race, but I must say that my usual starting line jokes about "This is the 50m fun run, right?" are soooo much funnier when I do it at the beginning of a hundred mile race.  At least to me they are.  There were also a lot off "see you tomorrow"s thrown out there, which doesn't happen at every race (other than my last 5k).


The race started and all was good with the world.  I was running.  The shin wasn't acting up.  We were going downhill.  I was surrounded by 650 crazy nuts with headlamps, how could it get any better?  Oh yeah, having local residents in their bathrobes swinging glowsticks on strings and high-fiving you at 4AM.  Right, that's better. I would have to say that the emotional feel of the group for at least the first hour or so was something akin to giddiness.  There was a lot of joking, and giggling, and making fun of people who were pulling off for "pit stops" in the first two miles.  (I'm not sure what the home owners thought of this...)  Seeing the mass of headlights bobbing, running through the darkness, and chortling about random comments thrown out by,  you know, OTHER people, was pretty fun.  The first hour zipped by.

I was feeling great at this point, looking at the stars, and the near-full moon, trying not to pass people and just enjoying the race.  I hadn't run the section of the race from the beginning to the Turquoise Lake, but I figured it was fairly pedestrian.  That is until I was watching the headlamps in front of me start going up and up and up, until it looked like everyone in front of me was being abducted by aliens straight into the sky.  That is when I realized there was a ridiculous hill in front of me.  This reminded me that this ain't your strange-smelling cousin's pancake marathon, this here is a trail race, in the mountains!  I struggled up the steep hill, (we passed a guy who was futilely trying to push a bike up it, he had to stop and try to carry the thing) and then we were at Turquoise Lake.


My pacing sheet had me trying to make the start to Mayqueen (the first aid station, 13.5 miles) in 2:28.  I hit Tabor Boat ramp which is seven miles in, at about 1:16.  Things were looking good, going good, and I must say even sounding good.  Some runners at the front of the loop around the lake, I guess it is a tradition, make strange hooting animal noises.  As the noises drift across the lake to the runners behind, it makes it seem like you are about to run into a cacophonous jungle full of rabid beasts.  This is strangely hilarious at 5 AM.  Unfortunately it wasn't long until all of those good times changed.

The section around Turquoise Lake I had run before.  It is essentially a sandy, smooth, up and down trail that goes in and amongst a lot of trees and campgrounds.  It was a little difficult following the very dim glow sticks they were using for markers, and I occasionally strayed from the path.  A couple of times I found myself at the front of a long string of runners, and since my $2 headlamp wasn't providing much light I would step aside and join the long train, just so I wouldn't be responsible for turning the race into a triathlon by leading  fourteen people straight into the lake.   This was where my first mistake started causing problems.


MISTAKE #1 - DRINKING A BOTTLE OF EVIL.

OK it was just blue powerade.  Right, like quaffing a jug of Drano will "just" give you mild indigestion.  So it wasn't really the fault of the blue Powerade, but I like to think so.  When I ran the Fargo Marathon back in May, the only non-water beverage they had was blue Powerade.  At the time, this did not sit well.    And by did not sit well, what I mean is, did not remain inside my stomach well.  This was the case here, and I started getting sick.  The most likely cause is that I was hitting the electrolyte tabs regularly, but for whatever idiotic reasons I wasn't drinking as regularly.  By the time I hit Tabor boat ramp, I should have had 40 oz of liquid chugged.  Instead, I was at more like 20 or so.  In addition my first chug of Perpetuem wasn't mixed very well and I wound up swallowing a huge ball of goo.  This, in combination with the salt and, in my mind, the evil of the blue Powerade which was in my first bottle, made my stomach start doing acrobatics.



I slowed to a walk, I tried to puke, I couldn't puke, I kept stumbling along in misery, I stopped and tried to puke several more times, I still couldn't puke, then more stumbling.  This lasted for about twenty minutes.  Finally Mount Krakatoa erupted.  About eight times, plus or minus zero times.  During this process, when I was being passed by 25% of the field, I heard a couple of comments like, "Atta boy!" and "Are you OK?  Because that thing you're doing doesn't SOUND ok."  Mostly I was glad to have all that out of my stomach.  I kept trying to get back to running after the first couple of times, but running + spewing = more than a little messy.   (Reader's note, there will be no more graphic descriptions of bodily functions, for at least the next paragraph or so.  Plus or minus one paragraph.)

I basically lost about forty minutes on my pace during this time.  I also lost my nutrition and hydration plan on the side of the trail.  It was more than a little demoralizing.  I started chugging water and Perpetuem again to try and catch up on the hydration, but I knew I was already behind.  I struggled in the last few miles and hit Mayqueen at about 3:00.

The crew was outstanding!  My plan was to spend two minutes or less at the aid station (quick by my standards for ultras and all-you-can-eat buffet lines).  They had me sunscreened and bodyglided up, bottles and pack refilled, full of encouraging lies ("You look good!") and out of there in under two minutes.  I knew that statistically my chances of finishing the race when coming in at MayQueen in three hours is infinitesimally small (kind of like the size of my optimism at that point), but I wasn't about to quit.  There is no real cutoff at Mayqueen, but I was basically already within fifteen minutes of the cutoff, when I should have been forty-five minutes ahead.

I turned out of the campground and started running again.  It was time for the first big climb of the day, up and over Sugarloaf Pass.

And no, the race doesn't take place in Candyland...

more to come...


Part 1

Part 3

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Race Report - Leadville 100 part 1 of X; AKA Top Ten Things I learned from a DNF at The Race Across the Sky

Wow.  What an experience.  It has only been five days since I toed the line on 6th and Harrison in downtown Leadville, but it already seems like a lifetime ago.

The short-short version of the race report:  DNF (Did Not Finish).

The long version of the race report:

It was really a whirlwind leading up to this.  So many preparations, planning, packing, etc went into just getting there.  We rented a condo at Copper Mountain which is about twenty-five minutes North of Leadville.  So just the going-on-vacation stuff took quite a while to get together, let alone the ultra prep stuff.

Let me interrupt right now and say my wife is amazing.  Her planning, preparing organizing, getting my stuff ready for the crew to use, being the crew chief, getting food ready for 11 people for several days, packing the van, taking care of the kid-crew; the list goes on, - EPIC!  None of this ever would have come off without her.  Thanks baby.  I can't say that enough.  Plus she was a huge encouragement to me and sacrificed all along the way of the last eight months just to allow me and enable me to get to the starting line.  What a debt of gratitude I owe, it is hard to express.

We had so many good friends with us for the days we were there, some who volunteered to crew, some who were there to pace, and wound up crewing, it was just a joy to have them there.  Even though I don't think any of them had ever been to an ultra, they were the best crew I could have imagined!  They were exactly what I needed.  Thanks guys and gals.  And I think some of them might even be plotting to try it themselves next year...
Pre-Race Meeting on Friday- Packed!

So thank yous done, we drove up to Copper on Thursday and got settled in.  I love being in the mountains in the Summer and despite a whole lot of rain we had a nice relaxing time leading up to the race.  The pre-race meetings on Friday were a lot of fun.  We learned a lot, and just started getting the "vibe" of the race.  The author of Born to Run was introduced and was apparently there running?  perhaps scouting movie locations for a Born to Run movie with Jake Gyllenhal if rumors are correct.  At one point during the talk, Ken Chlouber the founder of the race had all the runners stand up and promise not to quit.  He had us repeat the phrase aloud, "I commit, not to quit."  about five times.  I know it is cheesy, but I take giving my word very seriously, and it was a meaningful moment to me.  I already knew I wasn't going to stop until they cut my band or I was done, and this just reinforced it, both personally and as a group.


Protect the Band!
During registration we were given a wristband that had our name, weight and number on it.  This is the band that, if you don't make a time cutoff gets cut by the infamous "Lady with the pink scissors".  I'm not sure why the scissors have to be pink, but so it is.  Thus my mantra for the race became, "Protect the Band" and my previously mentioned "Buckle Up, Baby".  I intended to protect my band from those scissors and never let them get close to it.





On Saturday morning we were up at 2AM, made the last minute adjustments and drove on into Leadville.  The energy on the dark street that morning as runners were getting checked in was off the chart.  It was an incredible situation.  As I stood there, I just thought back to all the work and training it had taken to get there, both for myself and the other runners who were there.  There were apparently 850 runners registered and 650 or so made it to the starting line, making it the biggest 100 miler in North America?  There were quite the cast of characters as well.  I saw some people running in sandals, someone in a pink tutu, a guy with wings on a hat, and people from every walk and stage of life.  

Just past the starting line, downtown Leadville.
As the countdown on the clock approached zero I said my last minute good byes, gave some hugs, said a prayer, and the time was here.  The Leadville 100 was on, and the runners, (hey that means me!), were off.

To be continued...

Part 2


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Monday, August 23, 2010

Busted

DNF. Missed the cutoff outbound at Halfmoon. Covered 32 miles or so. God is good

Blathering on to follow.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Story thus Far

Someone asked me to write this up so here goes...


The Story Thus Far

Hard Choices

On January 1, 2008 I started running.  Again.  I weighed three bills and things were out of control.  Things weren't always this way.  I played quite a few sports in high school and college, all semi-adequately.  Fairly fit.  I didn't like running much but was able to tolerate it in order to do other stuff like playing basketball and baseball, and eating three large pizzas in a sitting and things like that.  

When I got to grad school I hurt my legs (stress fractures?) and didn't do anything at all for many months.  I gained a 'fitty spot.  I got married.  I tried running once or twice and hurt a leg again.  I gained another 'fitty spot.  There may have been Twinkies involved.

Then I decided after waddling for many moons that enough was enough.  Or at least THIS TIME enough was enough.  As opposed to all those other times of self-loathing and starting and failing...

One day I started walking up and down the stairs in our house.  I needed to do...something.  I went up and down the stairs about 50 times.  My kids and wife thought I was losing my mind.  I thought that too after the second time up the stairs.

Then I decided to run around the .175 mile block next to our house.  I ran this loop.  I wore black and did it at night.  I thought the neighbors might call the police.  The next day I did it twice.  I did it a few more times.  A police helicopter spotlighted me.  I remembered how much I dislike running.

I did a couch to 5k program, mostly.  Right before and leading up to January 1, 2008. The couch sounded pretty good.  

Then, I decided to do the hardest thing I could think of.  I decided to run every day for a year, at least one mile continuously.  The first day was torture.  I wanted to quit.  I ran for 670 days.  I even ran a marathon.  

Then I hurt my back.  I was in bed for almost a week.  The running streak was over.  I decided I needed a new goal.  (Besides going to the bathroom by myself.)  The next hardest thing I could think of was running a trail 100 miler.  So I decided to run Leadville.

I've spent this year since January training.  It's been some successful, some not-so-successful.  I weigh a lot less than before.  I ran forty miles in one day.  Despite an injury I'm on track to start this Leadville thing.  I'm realistic enough to know that I'm probably the longest long shot out there to finish, but I'm crazy enough to try and believe anyway.

Here's to choosing and doing hard things!

Also, here's to police helicopters leaving me alone...







Monday, August 16, 2010

5 Days to Go - Never Tell Me the Odds

"After days and days and days....it's time for Leadville."  
   - My three year old daughter, upon waking  from a deep sleep.




Buildings in downtown Leadville, Colorado, USA       





Five days to go.  I am ready.






That is a strange sensation, but it is the truth.  I'm as ready as I'm going to be and I'm ready to get it on.  Typical taper madness feelings I suppose, but this has hardly been a typical taper.  It will wind up being 3.5 weeks of no running.  A little bit of water jogging and that is it.  Hardly ideal, but I won't lack for rest.


I've had an X-ray, but haven't heard anything back.  The MRI didn't happen yet, so I'm skeptical it will at all before we leave.  The leg hasn't hurt in a while, but I haven't run in a while.  
   
Basically, I've done the usual; questioned my training (or lack thereof), the injury, the lack of experience, the lack of elevation acclimation, the lack of a typical ultramarathoner body type, the lack of necessary speed to make cutoffs, dehydration, physical ailments, every reason, valid and sound, that would be the cause for me to not make it to the red carpet by 10:00 AM on August 22.

Right now I say to all of that, Buckle up Baby!  Here is what I know.  I'm not quitting.  No way, no how.  They are going to either A) Pull my corpse off the course or B) cut my band because I didn't make a cut off.  That is it.  I will crawl, I will roll in the dirt, I will scratch, fight, bribe medical check people, whatever it takes to keep going.  I know mental attitude won't, by itself, get me over Hope Pass twice, but a bad state of mind could keep me from doing it as well.  There will be a thousand moments of doubt, pessimism, and surrender.  I'm resolving right now to say those thoughts are going to be defeated and destroyed.  Easy to say now, but that it the plan of attack.

I know there are a lot of reasons I might not make it, believe me I've over-analyzed them all.  I'm done with all those.  Never tell me the odds.  I'm flying into the asteroid field at full throttle.  

p.s. 3,720 to 1.



Friday, August 13, 2010

7 Days to Go - Scanning the system

Hey, I went to the doctor today.

Then I went and took x-rays.

Tomorrow I will be having an MRI.

The doc, an orthopedic specialist, seemed to think that it was most likely a shin splint, but wanted to rule out a stress fracture.  In his estimation, if I try Leadville with a shin splint, I will only "put back my recovery and the state of the injury a LONG WAYS" but if I try it with a stress fracture I could "suffer a serious tibia fracture and you don't want that."  I guess at this point my face seemed to say "enh, doesn't sound too bad" so he repeated for emphasis "YOU DON'T WANT THAT."

What was especially funny was that his wife is doing Leadville for the second time.  So I guess, as he stated, he could relate to my craziness.

So here's to a nice, normal shin splint that is mostly healed by the time next Saturday rolls around.

To replace running, I have been thrashing about in a pool.  Repeating an old high school cross country staple, I've been wrapping a "water noodle" around my waist and doing "water running".  No impact, some cardio is the idea.  Honestly I have a really hard time getting my heart rate up doing this, so I usually wind up doing some swimming (if you can call it that) at the end.  My swimming form is so poor, that going a few hundred meters actually does get the ticker going pretty well.  It also usually inspires a few lifeguards to jump in and try and save me.

Monday, August 9, 2010

12 Days to Go - Race Report! My first Sports "Massage"



Neon Massage Sauna  
I was going to start this off with the title of, Top Ten things I learned from a DNF at the Sports Massage, but I actually finished so I can't say that.


As you can probably tell from the previous post, I felt more at ease going into doing a spur-of-the-moment first time 50-miler than going to my first "Massage" session.  I even had a last minute gear acquisition run to make sure I was properly prepared.

As I stepped into the office and was brought back to the "Massage" room, somehow the whole thing seemed to fit into every bad stereotype I had of "Massages".

Lady Masseuse dressed in fluorescent flowered garb- check.
Dim mood lighting - check.
Strange, soft, Enya type music in the background - check.
What looks like a bed? in the tiny closet of a room that all of this is taking place in - check.
Candles! - check.

Diving Suit in the Vasa MuseetAce - Ready for the rub down
I enter into the room and she starts talking but my mind is racing.  "If she turns her back can I make it out before she notices?"  "Will people in the hallway be able to hear my screams"  "Are there hidden video cameras in here somewhere and is this being streamed to some seedy site in Turkmenistan?"  All of this is suddenly brought to an immediate, screeching halt when the phrase "undress to your comfort level" makes it's way through to may convoluted brain.  !?!?!!?  Comfort level?  How about a three piece suit?  How about one of those world war II dive suits with the big round helmets?  What kind of comfort are we talking about here?  Schnikes!

Everything after that is a blur of awkwardness and "going to my happy place" followed by a whole lot of hushed voices, blanket manipulation, muscle assault and ended with someone rubbing my ears.  Ears?  Really?  Is this helpful?  Will increased blood flow to my lobes help me up Hope Pass twice?  I don't know but I assume it must.

All in all it wasn't as bad as I thought it might be.  Hopefully it was somewhat helpful.  I did feel pretty relaxed, though it could be just a relative improvement from the buttery pretzel knot I was going in.

Would I do it again?  Hmmm not sure about that one, I'll just stick with my new "massage" PR.  One sports "massage" in one hour.  Pretty fast I must say so myself.  What is your "Massage" PR?

INJURY REPORT
Been to the doctor:  No.  (Thank you incompetent appointment schedulers)  I will go this week.
Running of late: No.  I've been thrashing about in a pool for cardio, more on that to come.
Taper Madness: Off the Chart.







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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

18 Days to go - Try running?

Right so I ran today.  It was one mile.  My leg hurt.  Not a lot, but I could feel it.

I was supposed to go to the doctor today.  Only their appointment scheduler didn't bother to tell us that the location of the appointment was different than the office we called, in fact it was on the other side of town.  So no doctor.  And of course based on my usual disdain for doctors, combined with the fact that the leg has been feeling better, means I probably won't go back unless it gets worse.

All that is just background noise however, to what amounts to perhaps the biggest challenge of the entire training cycle and perhaps my entire "athletic" career.  This is a single event that has produced more fear and loathing than staring down a 100 mile run, gutting through heat sickness and vomiting, pushing through the pain of 670 straight days of running, or doing 20+ miles of hill repeats.  And it happens this afternoon...

Teh wifey signed me up for a sports massage.


AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I don't know why I - got signed up for a massage - I think I'll die.

I've never had a "professional" massage.  There are many good reasons for this.  The first is, I don't really care for the touching part.  And I've heard that isn't optional.  Then there are things like WHERE they might be touching and WHO might be doing the touching and WHAT I will have to be wearing (a parka?) during the touching, and for HOW long the touching will last ( one hour!!(#$@%!#$@%!@#%!~@#$%!-good googly).  Seriously.  Who invents these things?  Supposedly it will be good for me.  Right.  I would rather run Leadville with no Body Glide than do this. Anyone have any good ideas for excuses to get out of this?