Perhaps like every female, nearly forty, quasi-athlete, I've been having fun watching Dara Torres's Olympic swimming escapades. You're probably familiar with the story: Torres competed in her first Olympics in 1984, and as a result of super-human skill and super-smart training, last week she qualified to compete in Beijing in two events. At age 41. Not surprisingly, Torres has attracted a ton of media attention, including a long profile in the New York Times magazine a few weeks ago.
The article explains Torres's training in detail. In addition to the usual swimming and strength coaches, she's employing a support crew that includes "two masseuses, two stretchers, a chiropractor, and a nanny." Her stretchers are literally stretchers: people who "stretch-her" for two hours a day, using resistance stretching techniques. Two hours a day! For the last several weeks I've been fighting pain in my IT band on the right leg. Just when that started to feel better, the left side started acting up. I feel like an old lady. My running's gone so far downhill I can't see it anymore. And I haven't been able to get in to my massage person. So the idea of paying someone to come to my house and stretch me for two hours a day, even though I'm not a fancy athlete and certainly haven't done anything to deserve it? My running fantasy.
If you're ever looking for a gift idea for me, now you know. Pool your money, count your pennies, do whatever it takes: I want a stretcher!