warmed up?

It’s finally here — the start of the Ninth Annual Uncle Crappy NCAA Final Four Challenge (Brought To You By Bocktown).

That’s good news, in and of itself. The better news? If you haven’t yet entered, you have until noon Eastern today to get your picks to me. Email, Twitter, FB, skywriting — any method you can think of will be fine.

Circumstances will force another change to our normally scheduled program. Because I’m shooting a beer show this afternoon, I won’t be able to post the full roundup of entries until late tonight or tomorrow morning. Rest assured: This will leave me even more time to screw up someone’s picks (but yeah, I have yours).

The work thing also means I won’t be able to follow Ohio State’s first-round game against Dayton. So if someone could live-tweet that for me, that would be really cool.

Enjoy the hoops, boys and girls, and good luck to everyone.

23. thanks.

The pictures of food you guys are posting are killing me. Because I’m hungry enough that I could eat my own arm.

But I’m thankful for each and every one of you nonetheless. And I hope you’re having the kind of Thanksgiving that you’ve wished for.

Happy Thanksgiving, you guys.

3. ow.

My left ankle. Both hips. The side of my groin that bothered me a year and a half ago. My left calf, which felt as hard as a baseball for the last four miles.

Yeah, 10 miles hurts.

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But it also feels pretty good.

When I had jury duty last week, Beth and I talked about how different our surroundings looked on foot as opposed to driving through downtown, and I encountered that over and over on Sunday, right from the start of the race, when we had to take a hill — that I didn’t really realize existed — up West Carson Street right at the beginning. Although I know the roads on the course very well, I was continuously surprised that the “flat” course wasn’t especially flat.

So I struggled. And that’s where Fred came in. He pretty much gave up a chance to run his own 10-miler to stick with me, pushing me to run in short spurts to spots up ahead. He showed me a stretch for my hips, which started aching about halfway through the course. And he kept my focus on the ground we were covering, rather than the time it was taking.

And I needed that, because had I been on my own, I would have bailed. I first thought about it seriously as we shuffled off the 16th Street Bridge; I could see crowds of runners, well ahead of us, heading east on Liberty Avenue, towards downtown and the finish line. We still had a long trek east through the Strip, longer than I realized — until the course jogged over to Smallman Street and I saw exactly how far we had to go — uphill — before we made the turn towards downtown. Mentally, I was done, but Fred kept us going, around the corner and back towards the finish line.

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I was aching after the race — I joked about having to do the Fred Sanford while walking back to my car after lunch at Pipers — I’m aching now and I’m sure I’m going to be aching tomorrow.

But I’ve got a 10-miler under my belt. And that feels great.

ouch.

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Georgetown. New Mexico. Wisconsin. Kansas State.

Hooboy.

I’ll try to get together an initial look at how we’re all doing in the Eighth Annual Uncle Crappy NCAA Final Four Challenge (Brought To You By Bocktown) on Sunday.

But for now, I think the title of this post speaks for itself.