Friday, March 2, 2012

My First Runner's Massage

It’s official…I’m signed up for the 2012 Marine Corps Marathon, my third marathon in three years! I deferred the race last year after getting into the New York City Marathon. The race was already paid for so they contacted me about re-registering.

Considering I couldn’t run more than a mile without pain, I didn’t see how a marathon could be in my future. Even if I was healthy, did I want to do another one? The marathon involves a lot of time and mentally you have to be totally committed to put yourself through the many miles of training it requires.

Sometimes, though, setting a long-term goal (the marathon is Oct. 28) can be just the motivation you need to push forward. This meant getting treatment for my IT band injury, which had nagged me since my last marathon three months ago. I’m not sure why I had put it off…denial or a fierce independence that I could fix my own problems.

I got my free injury consultation with club sponsor Physiotherapy Associates. They told me I needed to start physical therapy immediately and they recommended going twice a week for 4-6 weeks. My health insurance, however, was going to charge me $50 for every visit. Come up with an extra $400 a month or never run again. I didn’t like either option.

Club members Belinda and Deb said my money would be better spent on seeing a certain massage therapist who deals with sports injuries. Belinda said she had the same injury and has been pain free for two years. Running without pain…dare I hope?

I ran the Freezefest 5K (doing a run/walk with another rehabbing triathlete, Jody) and then headed to my first appointment. Brian, my therapist, was surprised I had never had a massage. I guess I had always thought things like massages and pedicures were extravagances that I didn’t really need. Brian explained that this massage was not for relaxation, but to correct the problem that was causing my injury.

I didn’t know anything about how strong or deep a massage I should get, but I did have the mindset that it should hurt so I knew it was working (Brian said that was wrong too). He told me to tell him if anything was painful.

I felt a little nervous being half-naked in a room with a guy I didn’t know, but for the next hour he worked his magic on my legs and hips. There were a few “tender” spots but afterwards my legs felt so light! My first urge was to go run, but Brian said to go for a walk instead. I needed to adjust to my “new” body. I also found out that the worst thing for me is sitting at a computer all day. Can someone tell my boss that?!

I left the office with a foam roller to use at home. A couple days later I went for a run. I kept waiting for the IT band pain to come, but it never did. I only ran three miles, but it was the first time in months I had run without pain. Could it really be this easy?

Brian had me schedule another appointment for a week later and after that, he said it was up to me. Just going once a month during the season may be all I need to stay on track (as well as my work at home). Stretching, stretching, stretching! I guess keeping my body in running/tri shape was going to require a little more effort on my part. I couldn’t just go out and run. Do I have one more marathon in me? We’ll see….. 

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