Right now it's rubber room time. I call it that because I feel like locking myself in a padded room to prevent any injuries, illness or fatigue from befalling me.

The first three days of the week I spent carbohydrate depleting, a process of eating mostly proteins, reducing carbohydrates and continuing with moderate training. By Tuesday night I would have killed for a pizza or a pile of spaghetti. To make matters worse, Michelle Mitchell, an Olympic diver, had received six crates of Federal Expressed tortilla chips, salsa and bean dip from her native Phoenix.

The contents of the crates were devoured in a feeding frenzy that most sharks would have feared. I abstained but consoled myself by sniffing the empty salsa bottles.

By Thursday morning I was more than ready to switch over to carbohydrates and I've been stuffing myself ever since. I pushed myself away from the dinner table long enough Friday to go to the track and watch the patriarch, Henry Marsh, run a masterful race, beating all but five of the best steeplechasers in the world.

After the race he put his hands on my shoulders and said, "Ed, it's worth the pain when you can feel good about your race when it's over."

While waiting for the start of the steeple, I poked my head into a tent in the warmup area. It was loaded with sprinters and a TV set. On the screen was the first round of the 4X100 meter relay. The U.S. was running well but our final handoff looked pretty shaky.

The French sprinters immediately started laughing but I noticed that Carl Lewis, who was to run the anchor leg on that same relay the next day, was not laughing. When they showed the exchange on slow-motion replay, it was obvious the U.S. was out of the legal exchange zone.

Carl, stone-faced, walked out of the tent, having just seen his gold medal lost by a disqualification for a lousy baton exchange.

There has been another rumor circulating in this rumor mill we call the Olympic Village. Apparently, security is being beefed up these final days of the Olympics with special care being paid to the marathon.

Some students allegedly have planned a demonstration that may interfere with the men's marathon - so there may be a real need to run fast Sunday.

Along with the pace car, we very well may have a military escort for our date with destiny. When all the factors are added together - strong field, fast course, good weather, and the potential of a student demonstration - it sounds like that blue line could be traced in record time.