OK, so I'm not really replacing my best friend. Or even my best training buddies.
I am, however, adding something new to the mix. Two words:
Oh. My. Goodness.
I've only had one small glimpse into the world of massage (because the quick shoulder rubs in choir class back in the day don't count). After I finished the Huntsville Marathon last year, I got about a 10-minute massage from a massage therapy student who was on hand for runners. I know it definitely helped me walk for the rest of the day, but the massage itself was pretty painful.
I kept reading about the benefits of a good sports massage. Sure, I'd love to do the spa thing and get all pampered and have some super fancy massage. But let's face it... I'm kind of too frugal for my own good sometimes and can't bringe myself to splurge on something like that.
But a sports massage? Now that just seemed practical. I ran a marathon as my last LSD for my Memphis training. I only have 4 weeks in between races. I want to take at least a week off and then be able to bounce back with some light running. A sports massage just made perfect sense. It should enable my muscles to recover more quickly from the marathon-length training run. It should work out some of the soreness. It should improve my circulation and range of motion and etc. etc.
It took very little to justify spending $50 on a sports massage. I mean, this wasn't just any old massage. It's a massage with a purpose. It's a massage that many other runners claim as a necessary part of training. So, if I must...
I got one last night. It was amazing. I had some pretty intense knots in the back of my shoulders that I KNOW are from running. I always feel tense in those spots toward the end of a long run. She worked those out. She worked on my lower back. She worked my arms. And then she worked on my legs. Oh my. It was amazing. I could immediately feel my muscles loosening up. It was almost as if I could feel the lactic acid being pushed out.
I tell you what - I wouldn't mind having someone around who could give me a good massage like this more often. I will definitely go get another one after my next marathon. I walked out of there feeling like a new person. I was moving better. I didn't feel stiff.
Today I have a little soreness from where she worked on the knots in my shoulders, but she warned me I might feel that. I'm trying to drink water like crazy to keep things moving in there. My ankle that was bothering me during Saturday's run is still a little tender, but I'm trying to follow RICE and am hopeful that it'll be feeling better before my next run.
My plans? Do some light biking today, maybe swim some laps tomorrow, yoga on Thursday, and then 6-8 miles on Saturday to see how I'm feeling and try to work myself back into running for the next couple of weeks. I'm definitely in taper mode so I'm excited that all my remaining runs will be nice and easy. I definitely want to get to the Memphis start line feeling well-rested and with fresh legs.
But seriously... It's only been one day since I got it and I'm already convinced - sports massages rock. I totally recommend them!