Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Touch

It's rare that I'd be tempted to post about a massage, but that's what I'm about to do. I had a full 1.5 hour session yesterday with my longtime muscular therapist, Gale.  Never done the "long" session before. Typically, I'll schedule an hour on an as-needed basis.  Say for a sore calf or a tight hip flexor. And, that's pretty much what she'll focus on.  Not the case yesterday. Just left it up to her. While I got a full normal session on the legs & hips, the extra time allowed for work on the back and shoulders. I haven't had anything approaching a back/shoulder "massage" in a decade probably. And, let me tell you, it quickly became obvious that it was long overdue. I lost count of the adhesions throughout my back and neck - issues arising from accumulated stress and poor posture that I had become dulled to over the years. When the time was up, I was little more than a limp noodle, barely able to move off the table. Did it help?  Well, I slept like a rock, woke up without most of my usual aches and pains, and ran my 5.8 mile route nearly 25 seconds / mile faster than the day before. Not a coincidence. 
 
On a more fundamental level, I find these sessions rewarding for the same reasons I find running rewarding - because during that period (be it an hour or longer), pretty much all the outside interference melts away and I am focused (intensely sometimes) on the absolute present. A common question from non-runners upon finding out that I run is "Don't you get bored? What do you think about?" My answer is "No, not really." I suspect like most runners, I think about how I'm feeling. Breathing. Stride. Aches.  Perceived effort. And a lot of times, nothing much else. Sessions with Gale are the same - the focus is purely on what I'm feeling.  A knot in the calf being worked (usually painfully). Quadriceps kneaded like dough (just heaven). That chronic tight right hip flexor stretched out slowly & progressively. As much as I benefit from the physical aspect of these sessions, they also provide a wonderful mental cleansing.  A form of meditation. Alas, not a cheap form of meditation. If I was a rich man....      

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