For months people have been extolling to me the benefits of having a sports massage. So I did some research and went along to a highly recommended physio pretty close to where I live. I have the big race this weekend and having a massage five days before seemed about right.
I met Anna, my masseuse, and after a quick chat I lay down on the massage table. It all started quite gentle as she felt my muscles to see what needed doing. She explained everything quite clearly as she went along and I started to relax. And then it began.
“Try to relax” Anna said. “I may be able to if you take that knife out of my calf” I thought to myself while willing my body to relax. This lady had fingers of steel and time after time they thrust into my legs. “Try to relax” became a mantra and momentarily I think I managed it a bit. At times I was actually unable to talk through the pain but I knew from what I’d been told that the pain would reduce as my muscles relaxed. And slowly the pain did go but of course that just meant moving those fingers onto the next area.
Calf, Calf, Hamstring, Hamstring and Glutes. Each area received the fingers of steel treatment and survived. My IT band had been bothering me over the last few weeks so she worked on that too.
30 minutes later and it stopped. The fingers of steel stopped prodding me and it was all over. I stood up on shaking legs, put my trousers back on and stumbled out.
As I write this 3 hours afterwards my legs still hurt, as I was told they would do, but it’s a warm kind of pain, I sincerely hope that this helps a little bit at the weekend. The last time I had a massage this painful was in Thailand 20 years ago when a Thai lady walked up and down my back but I think that was more about being drunk than for any therapeutic value.
I won’t know whether this massage has done any good until after this weekend but it has put me in a great state of mind which may help me through 24 hours non stop racing, 15 hours of which will be in the dark.
It’s been a month since my last post and that’s because I haven’t really done much. Sure I’ve put in the miles but I’ve also been listening carefully to my body and my body kept on saying rest. So, for probably the first time, I listened and I feel great because of it.
I’ve also been planning for my next big race. The Escape from Meriden in a couple of weeks time. It’s just too far and crazy a distance for my mind to understand which is perfect as it hopefully will mean no pre race nerves. I’ve planned my route from the start to my finish point and apart from a few small sections it looks good for running on. I’m a road runner so the route was always going to be a tarmac one, less chance of mud as I really hate mud. People keep asking me how far I think I will get and the answer is always the same. I will run 105 miles to get home. How much of that I manage in the 24 hours of the race is a different matter, I’m hoping for 90 miles, as the race finishes at midnight Saturday night and I still have to get home. Of course after midnight I do have the option of public transport or a taxi or any friend who is foolish enough to have their phone on, doesn’t drink and has a car.
Laid all my kit out on Sunday just so I can see it all and so I could take photos for Addey. It looks so much when you lay it out but in reality it all squishes down in size.
I’ve decided to do away with the bladder for this run and go with a water bottle belt instead. It allows me to pack more equipment in the back pack but without increasing the weight that I’m used to carrying. Whether that decision is a wise one only time will tell. I’ve also doubled the front and back safety lights I wear: Be seen. Be safe.
The Charity vest is not a vital piece of my kit but I’ve always run with it from my very first race and it’s like a comfort blanket. I’ve also found that people are more willing to help you if they know what you are doing is helping others, and that includes use of toilets, filling up water bottles and cake.
I normally don’t taper well at all but this time it’s different. This time there’s no back up, no aid stations, no 1st aid help on the race. I have to get to the start line in the best possible physical shape, I’m even having my first sports massage next week. Mentally I’m already there waiting to set off, hoping there is a toilet near to the start.