I am totally in love with my new foam roller. I picked it up on Sunday after experiencing some nasty pain in my upper-outer-back thigh (from diagrams, I’m thinking the rectus femoris? #32 in that one). It started hurting last Monday, so I wasn’t sure if it was from my 12 mile run Saturday or the intense resistance training I did for my legs on Sunday. It wasn’t too bad – maybe a 4 on a pain scale – and only hurt while walking. Just a kind of general soreness, as if I had slept on it wrong. On Tuesday it was still sore, but a lot better, and on Wednesday it seemed to be all better. Then I did my Tasti-D run (1.5 miles), and it was a bit sore again for a day, so I decided to take a little running break. Saturday night it started hurting a bit again for no apparent reason (and I was only wearing kitten heels out that night, not 2 inch stilettos or anything), and then Sunday it was hell. I was walking with a limp and it was just awful. That was the reason for the massage on Sunday, and after the massage I stopped at JackRabbit Sports to pick up a foam roller.
If you live in NYC, you simply must visit JackRabbit. It was so awesome. It’s a multi-sport store, and everyone who works there was extremely knowledgeable. Even though I wasn’t buying new sneakers, they did a gait test for me to see if maybe my sneakers or running style had caused my injury. Basically, they gave me a pair of neutral shoes (I wanted to wear my running shoes, which are Asics GT-2110s and are stability shoes and amazing, but he said neutral was better, implying that maybe I had the wrong sneakers. Hmph). Then he put me on a treadmill that has cameras on the front and the back at shin-level. I ran for a minute or so, and then he played the tape back in slow-motion, zooming in so I could see better. It was AWESOME. The guy told me that I was overpronating and needed stability shoes – yes, thanks, already got that checked off, as I told him when he told me to wear the neutrals in the first place 🙂 But he said my gait looked fine aside from the pronation, and that there wasn’t a good reason for my injury, which he thought might be ITB related, but didn’t want to diagnose as he wasn’t a doctor.
I asked him a lot of questions about ITB injuries, and while he had never had a problem, he said a lot of the staff had, and that the foam roller worked wonders for them. Glad to hear that my chosen method of self-correction was the right choice! I opted for the long foam roller, which was $20 – not a bad price. When I got home, I found this handy dandy PDF that showed me how to use it, which I found was pretty much what I had already intuitively figured out. However, the PDF had a few tips for how to not injure yourself with it, so that was good. I probably wouldn’t have thought that a big long foam noodle could injure me, at least, as long as I wasn’t using it like this.
I grabbed my roller and hit the floor with a lot of apprehension, because I had heard many reports of how much it hurt, and I assumed that if my muscles were already in pain, it would probably be a lot worse. But it really wasn’t bad at all! It wasn’t like a shooting pain in my muscle (which is how some had described it). It honestly just felt like… well, like I was lying on top of a round piece of foam instead of on a flat surface like a bed or the floor, so I wasn’t entirely comfortable 🙂 Kind of Princess and the Pea-ish, except apparently I am not a princess because I didn’t find it that bad. (That’s kind of disappointing.) Later that night I did a lot of time on the stationary bike, which I had read at various ITB websites is good. It was awesome! Gave my muscles a bit of bike soreness, but the ITB (or whatever) soreness had disappeared. The next day, I was totally fine as well, so I logged more bike time. Finally, yesterday was the true test.
The NYRR Manhattan Half-Marathon is on January 27 (next Sunday). I’ve been planning on doing this for a while, but hadn’t signed up. I was going to do so right after my 12 mile run, but then with my injury, I thought I’d wait. However, yesterday at midnight was the deadline for the lowest rate for early registration ($20). Because I’m cheap (to be fair, I just started paying off my college loans so I have good reason to be), I wanted to make the decision and either do it or skip it while still within the cheapskate timeframe. Unfortunately, I didn’t know if my leg was okay. So yesterday morning before work, I went and did one quick mile on the treadmill. Just one, in case anything was wrong, but I figured if I had a problem, I’d know that night. All day I paid close attention to my leg, worrying about every little tingle. But no pain! So last night I did 4.7 miles on the elliptical (low-impact, but still running) – still no pain! After much pride and rejoicing, I officially paid the $20 and registered. Hurray! I am also still pain-free today.
So, amen to my foam roller. And JackRabbit. And the little Chinese woman who gave me such an excellent massage on Sunday. Now the rest (actually running the darn thing) is up to me…