All the king’s horses and all the king’s men, couldn’t put Humpty together again
I often feel like Humpty Dumpty in training for an Ironman. Just the training schedule alone, not even considering the race, just tears the body down. That’s why ironman athletes, and other endurance athletes, know how important it is to get regular massages. I’m not talking about the “ooh this feels so nice and relaxing” type of massage your husband might get you for Valentine’s Day. I’m talking about deep tissue, get all the knots out, painful but worth it, medical massage.
I am incredibly blessed to have a friend who is not only a respiratory therapist (and makes sure I have my inhaler with me all the time) but is also a phenomenal massage therapist. She’s a tough biker and a former triathlete so she knows athletics and the body. Her name is Char Sweat and she owns MassageXT. I see her every other week now, but as my training increases, I’ll need her every week. No serious injuries, thankfully, but I always have spots that are sore or out of alignment. Unlike Humpty Dumpty, she only needs an hour to “put me together again”. I’d say the king can keep all his horses and men!!!! I’ll keep Char! Seeing Char regularly is injury prevention part one. I also know that she’s given me a plan of strengthening and stretching that I need to do on my own- part two.
I’m not in the medical field by any means, so I asked Char about exactly what she does- besides working miracles with my over-trained body! Here’s what she does: What I call “getting the knots out of my muscles” is really muscle retraining from insertion to point of origin. She smooths out the muscle fibers, unfolds them, stretches them, and then puts them back where they should be. Muscles have memory like we do and they can be trained. So I keep coming back for retraining. She’s training and retraining my muscles to keep the muscle in an uninjured state. The Ironman training I do- swimming, biking, and running- shortens the muscles on the anterior side. This causes overstretching on the posterior side which causes structural changes (meaning my shoulder blades or hips or both are poking out!!!!). So as she works on the muscles and the tendons that attach the muscles to bones, she’s putting me back structurally to where I need to be. This greatly improves my comfort, but it also prevents sprains and strains that will stop my work outs.
The other thing that Char does very well is to teach her clients to be self-aware. I’ve learned more from her about how my body works than from any physician I’ve ever seen. She’s all about preventative medicine! If I don’t understand my body, listen to its cues, and do the stretches that I need to do, I’m bound to have an injury that could be event ending! ( Meaning- Do what I’m supposed to do or I may not race.) I’m about 14 weeks away from my next Ironman which means I still have 12 – 14 hours of uninterrupted time with my friend, Char. That’s cool! I can ignore the pain she temporarily causes (most of it, that is) because we talk the whole hour. How many of you can say that you get an hour every week of quality, undisturbed time with a good friend? I’d say I’m doubly blessed! Thanks, Char!