Friday, June 15, 2012


Normally this is a pretty good encapsulation of a massage visit - cartoon via The New Yorker

I can't remember her name, but she saved my life. Today I gave in and paid a masseuse to relieve some of the tension locked in my taut calves. I've noticed that the more diminutive the masseuse, the more wickedly powerful they will be. This particularly slender and small lady completely destroyed me and did so quietly, working silently without the usual chitchat. I would've confessed to terrorist acts if she'd asked, but she hardly said anything. Torturous. Marvellous. So marvellous I briefly worried I would lose bodily functions and embarrass myself beyond redemption. Fortunately, this was curtailed by a sensation that was incredibly painful. I laughed at one point as the tinkling twee piano music played softly from the CD player, while in my head and muscles I was really suppressing a riot of screams not unlike a Metallica concert (not sure why they do all the "relaxation" stuff – low lights, soft music – which is awkwardly romantic).

Unfortunately, I immediately hopped on my bike and probably undid all the good that was done. I may have to go back and ask for this tiny Sweeney Todd of muscle manipulation by name (Kristen? Kirsten?) for yet another session. It's odd to have a massage that isn't your neck, back or shoulders (though there was some of that). As I lay there, I was picturing an interview I saw years ago with cyclist Sean Kelly (or was it Greg Lemond?) He lay on his stomach as a little Mediterranean man twisted his legs. Apparently it was quite normal to get a massage following a race and to give an interview while this was being administered. I also remember, oddly, that he was naked save for a small towel and his typical cyclist's tan was fully evident.

I'm not sure why but recently, nearly every run has resulted in terrible cramping in my calves while swimming will, at some point, result in a foot cramp that feels like you just jumped on a rock the size of an apple. Usually, my regimen of stretching and laying around keep me free of muscle pain. In fact, I haven't been for a massage in about 18 months. I think my health plan allows up to $500 worth of physio a year which I typically haven't claimed. I think it's time that changed. Take me Kristen (or whatever your name is), my body is yours to do with as you will. Twist, stretch, flatten and flay me until I can take no more, all paid by my employee benefits.



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