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Blog 8- Skeleton Props and Digestively Speaking

 Skeleton finally has the opportunity to train before racing.  The track was slightly improved on Wednesday by smoothing out a few curves. It is a men’s and women’s training day.  Being in the start house with skeleton versus bobsled is so different Think Classical music versus Classic Rock.  The training room of the Skeleton competition is very peaceful, bobsled is mostly louder and more grunting.  Yes grunting.  The German team is the King of all grunters. The German women are loud just before competition but nothing like their male counter parts. German Skeleton was not full of grunters. Another difference is that only a one person per sled and each country has 1-3 athletes per team, it cuts down dramatically the number of people in the start house.  Bobsled has two to three teams with 2-4 men/women in the start house. Training day is worse as both men’s and women’s teams are in the start house.

Skeleton is relatively new to the US and many people I ask if they know Skeleton are unfamiliar with the sport(need to change that). I always explain that Skeleton athletes run fast, bent over while holding onto a sled and lunge belly down head down onto the sled going upwards to 80 mph with nothing but a helmet and and flimsy lycra body suit for up to a minute.  You should see the looks I get. Most think that the athletes are all completely nuts.  Well, I think it does take some fortitude, but each one of the athletes are so calm and for the most part quite. They have all focused really hard to get where they are at.   Matt Antoine achieved a Bronze medal in 2014 Sochi. Kyle Tress liked it after an Olympics  and decided to try it and went to Sochi for team USA. Kyle Brown is not racing this track but rather fore running (tests the track before the actual competitors go down) and getting practice runs in.  Allen Blackwell was brought in to race the two weeks that I am here.  Skeleton athletes for the most part  are long and lean,more narrow in the shoulders with very powerful legs.  Very fast twitch muscle fiber for the 4-6 seconds they explode off the blocks.  Annie O’Shea and Savannah Graybill (women’s skeleton team) proved no different in slight stature but maybe a bit less long!   It is elegant to watch their starts.  Many people are cheering along, but the sled glides so effortless over the ice in the grooves with just the crunching of the ice under the spikes on the ice.   It is quite remarkable to fully take in the sights and sounds.  It is an amazing sport to watch!

I was at the track all day because bobsled had training as well that afternoon.  There was not too much time between the two training sessions so I hung out till bobsled pulled in. We all got sack lunches because it was an earlier day for them training wise. Sack lunched consisted of a piece of fruit, applesauce squeeze, some sort of dessert bread and then a sandwich on a 6 in fresh baguette that had butter, tiny dill pickles( yum!) and a lunch meat. The food was still amazing. I was still eating bread at lunch and dinner though I decided early on that I could not eat the pastry in the mornings.  The one thing that there was not a lot of was fresh green veggies.  I have to say that is a big part of my diet that I was missing.  Knowing that no greens was a possibility, I packed an anti oxidant drink Green Energy that I like and then I love it when I add a tart raspberry lemon magnesium powder called Calm to it.  I brought small containers of each but no scoop.  For those of you who do not know the wonderful properties of magnesium citrate is that it is used in over 300 different enzyme processes in the body and is a natural muscle relaxer.  It is very powerful and does not require much, maybe a teaspoon or two max per day if you use it regularly.   I use it in patients with headaches and insomnia, leg cramps, PMS etc.   I also use it off label to stimulate the bowels in people who are constipated (which I was not thanks God).
Since I did not have the scoop, I just tried to dump a little from each container into my blender bottle…Crap, that is A LOT more magnesium than I was really planning on… I haven’t had any since I traveled 5 days ago, I probably need it…  Mind you I drank this yummy sweet tart concoction at breakfast.   Rick comes down to the track at lunch time with the bobsled team.   I start to feel my guts percolate…Uh, where are my charcocaps (Activated Charcoal)?… This could be bad… That afternoon my stomach was really churning and talking to me.  I had some stomach aches at times too that I was trying to hide but fully practiced some deep natural breathing like I learned for pain control during labor.  Then it hit, the SBD (Silent but Deadly).   I was thanking God that the room was FULL of really stinky sweaty athletes… I cannot be the only one with gas… more charco caps please….  By this time in the week and later in the day, the facilities, that are co ed I remind you, are not fully stocked with toilet paper.  I  quickly learned to take my kleenex and hand sanitizer in the bathroom with me.   I was crop dusting like you would not believe. Not proud of it but there was nothing LOUD and deadly.  I would have been even more mortified.
Rick and I are packing up to leave and as we get in the car, he turns on the nut warmers (seat heaters) and my stomach is still rolling.   Now it is warm and my muscles are relaxing because of the heat.   I am panicked.  I squeeze my cheeks together like I have never squeezed before for the 15 min ride ahead of us. He says as we got on the road  “Well wasn’t that the nicest bed of roses you have ever smelled in the start house” very sarcastically.  I am dying at this time internally trying to not laugh but then not fart at the same time.  I knew the odor was distinct and I would have blown my cover of crop dusting.   I just barely made it out of the car and made Rick walk in front of me as I pretended to lag behind with my bag.  Full disclosure disaster averted (well, until now. I can guarantee that Rick is losing it as he is reading this post) !   No more magnesium for this trip!