... RUNNING A MARATHON
DEENA KASTOR Long distance runner
The 2004 Olympic bronze medalist won the Oct. 9 Chicago marathon, but her body shut down in the final miles, slowing her to a shuffle. "I went to bed at 11, got up at 5 a.m., and the walk to the bathroom was as ugly as the last miles. My glutes and hips were incredibly tender and tight, to the touch. My lower back and the balls of my feet were sore. It felt like all the muscles were still contracting, as if I were still running. I thought I'd feel better as the day went on, but it got worse. Sitting down, standing up. Each time felt like getting out of bed for the first time that morning."
The New York City marathon begins on Sunday at 9:35 a.m.
... FIGHTING 12 ROUNDS
BERNARD HOPKINS Boxer (far left)
He's 46-3-1 in his career, 9-2-1 in 12-rounders. "You don't remember getting hit on your shoulder or the back of the head, but the next day by late afternoon the pain is so awful and throbbing that you can't see. Your body goes through a trauma and a shock. You remind yourself you just boxed one individual, not 10 or 11. It is important that you soak in Epsom salts or alcohol for about 40 minutes to get your blood flowing and your muscles relaxed. I don't get massages that day because the body is still bruised and sore."
Has Dec. 3 rematch of a 12-round loss to Jermain Taylor.
... RACING 500 MILES
HELIO CASTRONEVES IRL driver
He won the '01 and '02 Indy 500. "If you drive poorly, the adrenaline's rushing and you want to do it again. But the pain's extraordinary. Your neck and shoulders are extremely sore, and your chest can feel like someone punched you over and over because the belt was strapping you in while you were jerking on the turns. Your right leg and right butt [hurt]; you sit for three hours, full throttle with your weight leaning right. I get headaches because concentration is so intense while racing. You focus 100 times harder than normal."
He's off until the IRL season begins on March 26.
TOM STRATTMAN/AP (CASTRONEVES)
CHRIS CARLSON/AP (HOPKINS)
TANNEN MAURY/EPA (KASTOR)
LAMBERT/HULTON ARCHIVE/GETTY IMAGES (HEADACHE)