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Dave Draper, crunches

Life is serious. It is also silly. Hi. I feel like a lump. That is to say I'm overcome with lumpiness, body, mind and soul: a presence neither frightening nor soothing, disgraceful, disarming, right nor wrong. You don't choose it, plan it or prevent it. It just happens like loose change on the kitchen counter, worn knees in your jeans, a tickle or an itch. The "Lumps" is a numb condition or state of being that is partly psychological (mood, attitude, perception) and a very real, almost comforting fatigue, which accompanies accomplishment, successful long term over-coming and a survival of the fittest. I don't know where you live, but here on the central coast of California I am by this time of year a bit beat-up. Nothing of major consequence, not calamitous. Just faintly tattered, mildly frazzled.

It starts every year in October. In fact, the anticipation, a harsh prelude, begins in the last weeks of September. The fall and the winter with all their glory (brisk holidays, snow-covered mountain playlands, crackling fireplace) bring cold, wet, gray, short, dismal, cruel, miserable, sunless days and achy, pumpless, stubborn, gray, toneless, grouchy bodies. October, November, December, January, February, March... SEE WHAT I MEAN ... DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT I'M TRYING TO SAY HERE ... er ... scuz me ... didn't mean to lose my cool. I seldom raise my voice... I don't complain, don't mutter ... I'm stoical... ask Laree... I'll be ok ... give me some air...

March is a welcome month. In its crisp windiness there flickers a light: the light at the end of the endless tunnel. The past few days have been remarkable, sunny and bright and warm. You can clearly see it in the eyes of the people, hear it in their greetings and feel it in the energy they display. Recovery from the lumps is imminent.

Yet, misery lurks and misery loves company. I wander around the gym and wait for the right person to ask how I'm doin'. I say 'great' or 'perfect' or 'amazing' and casually engage in a conversation about the sun, the lengthening days ( Daylight Savings Time... April 2), Spring ahead (March 21st) and the whole summer (175 days total), the good training harvest, outdoors, vacations, tans and beaches. They're all smiles, primed and unsuspecting. Then, I subtly relive the nastiness of the long, hard winter, the flu and colds and viruses (mine in particular as I pretend to be identifying with theirs) and the aches and arthritis (mine in particular as I pretend to identify with theirs) and the fact that this is the time of year when I am at my lowest, pretending to be talking about us so as not to appear selfish or weak. My friend is listening and nodding sincerely. This is great. All the time I babble I notice their expression changing from beaming smile to grin to benevolent concern about what or whom or why, they're not sure. My expression matches theirs but inside I'm jubilant. I've managed to complain, nearly scream in agony as I shared what appeared to be a discourse on "a beautiful day." They'll get over it.

The truth is it has been a good and hardy winter: many fond memories, many steps forward, an abundance of richness (IOL has over 50 active bombers and about 350 stealth bombers... newsletter has like 2,100 subscribers). We together battled through six months of tough times with fewer casualties than had we battled alone.

Ingrid is setting Olympic lifting records, Moke's getting more pleasingly muscular by the workout, Ivan's a live-wire personal trainer, Og's squatting as the doctors nod their heads and shrug their shoulders in unison, Laree benched a clean 140, precocious Joey O has cross-striations in his lower ab, Chuck has lost even more weight and we can't find him. Geno secretly eats Big Macs, Delphene and her darling daughter, Vanessa, continue to climb the mountain hand in hand, Lauri is a free woman training herself with unbridled spirit and insight, Doc is perfecting a highly anabolic ink solution for his robust tattooing art form.

A small miscalculation has been detected and is causing an under-current of discomfort and doubt. It seems I'm not alone in my mild exhaustion; the lack- luster, running on empty training blues that is as short-lived as a sneeze. The thought of "Getting Ripped" this month is ludicrous. Guy's looking at May while Bruce is pushing for July. I was bulking (hit 227 before the notorious March submission), the moderator is coughing less, yet still coughing. Working Hard Ron has the flu in N.Y., a couple of beloved Bills and California Dreamin' Barry in Pa. are attending the disciplines of injury, like cats licking their wounds. As this is a community of the people, for the people and by the people, I put forth the issue for a vote; an amendment to extend our "Abs and Get Ripped Month" 'till May... "May Day". We need to take time to actively pause and review, adjust, revitalize and psychologically prepare for the ripping truth. We've approached the edge too soon. Am I Chicken Bigtime? Tell me the Truth. I can handle it.

All those in favor say, "Aye". All those opposed can talk to Egor the Terrible down in the dungeon.


The names I mention are fictitious IronOnLine Bombers. They may resemble you by coincidence. It's OK.

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