The Sports Massage

Andy Luke
Monday, 20 August, 2012

I’ve always been keen to try new things and experience something at least once in my lifetime.  One such thing that has evaded me for my 34 years of life so far and my 12 years of running is a sports massage.
Don’t get me wrong.  It’s not that I’ve never wanted one.  I’ve just never got round to actually booking a session.  Thankfully I’ve never suffered from any niggles or bad injuries so this could be why I’ve never got round to doing anything about it. Operation Ultra has given me the opportunity to meet some magnificent and knowledgeable people.  One such person is Mr Paul Hoborough, the physiotherapist for Operation Ultra.  His Physio & Therapy clinic in Teddington was the setting for our training day at the end of July where we were all introduced to him.  As fate may have it, Paul is from my neck of the woods – the North East and he travels to and from London on a weekly basis.  He has a Physio & Therapy clinic set up on the outskirts of the wonderfully tranquil town of Corbridge, Northumberland.  I’d studied the directions from the website which was a good thing as my sat nav had other ideas on where it was taking me.  I parked up and walked up the drive to be greeted by the ever friendly Paul.   

No pain, no gain

  After running over a few questions and checking that I’d been doing my stretches (which I have been!), I was asked to lay face down on the massage table.  Now I had voiced my concerns that I’d heard a sports massage could be painful.  Sadly, Paul agreed that this could indeed be the case especially since it was my first one.
Initially things started off gently whilst we exchanged banter about training and occupations however gradually things started to get more uncomfortable. Whilst he was pressing my calf muscles, the feeling was similar to that of the onset of cramp so I was trying not to flinch and concentrate on breathing deeply.  It reminded me of when I’ve had tattoos done in the past.  You attempt to ignore the pain and carry on bantering as if nothing is wrong however, on the inside; you’re trying your hardest not to cry out in pain.  After my left leg was done he turned his attention to my right and the same scenario ensued for another 15 minutes.  I didn’t realise at the time but I’d been sweating profusely throughout the session.  When I was instructed to lie on my back, all the tissue paper that was lining where my face had been stuck to my forehead.   Another 10 minutes of upper leg manipulation and some stretching Paul announced that the session was over.  I silently breathed a sigh of relief.
I left the clinic feeling somewhat invigorated and after a short drive home I was out for a 50 minute recovery run (which I had been advised would be fine).  I returned home after an easy but satisfying run.
I’m writing this blog two days after I had the massage and my legs are still recovering.  Apart from the feeling that my thighs had been smacked with a baseball bat and two three inch bruises have formed at the top of them, I’m still satisfied that I’d had the massage.  Despite the discomfort it’s done me the world of good and I’m looking forward to my next appointment – which is in two weeks’ time.  This time though I’ll know exactly what to expect.


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