Oh yes. I said I would never do it.
In fact, I took a perverse kind of pride in refusing it.
For years I denied myself of it.
What on earth am I talking about?? MASSAGE! Glorious massage and it's many benefits.
I never knew that massage actually SPED recovery. No one ever told me that. Everyone always goes on about how much they hurt and then how much a massage hurts them and I would think to myself, "Why do you do it then?"
I honestly thought that it was a big waste of time and money. That was until a month ago when I got a massage and learned about all things massage from Maryna at Maryna Massage. She explained things in a magnificently simple way -- a tight, contracted muscle is like a closed fist. Keep working that muscle in that state and you can see how your risk of injury goes up.
Massage relaxes and elongates the muscle -- so your range of mobility is back! You CAN achieve the same result with a protocol of stretching/hot tub/hydration, it's just that massage gets you there quicker.
Why on earth did no one ever explain it like that to me before? Other than a nebulous, "It feels good."
(This is the same sense of frustration I feel over Ducks Unlimited. I really have no interest in pictures of ducks in a marsh. I am not motivated to do anything about it. BUT, when I learned that wetlands act as a filter for OUR drinking water -- that they actually serve a real, tangible purpose (something I can wrap my head around), then I am totally motivated to donate! Like, come on people, don't you have marketing execs to get the message out to make people interested instead of the same old commercial of ducks flying around and me feeling sorry for them???? And I am a big animal lover too....I digress. And yes, I managed to tie in Ducks Unlimited with my first massage. Heh-heh-heh.)
I also learned that you should stretch after every activity. I was quick to say, "Yeah, but I don't have the time/energy after all my swimming, biking and running." My "yeah, but" was put to rest with Maryna's rejoinder that the stretching routine can be as short as 1.5 minutes. That's right -- a minute and a half is fine! You don't HAVE to do 3 sets of 30 secs of all these stretches -- you can do 1 set of a 10-15 sec stretch and do your whole body. Now that is something I am motivated to do.
To date, I've completed 9 full iron-distance races and this was the first year I started using massage as a recovery tool. In the past, after every full-iron race, I'd experience severe swelling in my legs, ankles (the infamous Ironman cankles), and toes (sausage toes -- it feels very odd to have all your toes swollen to the point that they are touching one another.)
Maryna suggested I get a massage about 3-4 days after my next event to speed recovery. I did and she was right. The swelling went away and I could actually walk around with relatively little pain (relative is the key word -- it is still an Ironman -- haha!)
She also advised that I get a massage at least once a month -- so, yes, this old dog learned a new trick. Woof-woof!! Massage is now a part of my routine! :) :)