Three friends -- all of whom are professional massage therapists -- have repeatedly offered me free massages during my marathon training. Naturally, I'd feel like a total mooch accepting their generous offers, so I haven't taken them up on it. Until Monday night, when I finally found myself being mercilessly prodded and pummelled by the always-hunky Robbie, who is even hotter and more muscular than he looked at IML*:
*IML = International Mr. Leather, an annual competition not unlike the Miss America pageant -- only with more body hair and fewer clogging numbers -- held every Memorial Day weekend in Chicago. Competitors and observers from all over the world come to parade around in their leather finery and huff testosterone-filled air as though it were airplane glue.
Anyway, back to Monday. Robbie threw all of his 200+ pounds at my IT bands, which didn't stand a chance. After an hour of intense work, I got up off the table with no pain for the first time since I locked up after my 20-mile run two weeks ago. Of course, the next morning, things were pretty much back to their initial levels of pain -- but for a couple glorious hours Monday night I was able to thank Robbie without wincing. (Does that sentence sound vaguely naughty? Do you think maybe we had sex? Or did I just buy him dinner? Aren't you dying to find out? Will these stupid questions ever end?)
Then today I got a free evaluation at AthletiCo, a totally cool physical therapy facility run by and for sports enthusiasts. Mike, the knowledgeable and experienced marathon runner/therapist, stretched and poked and wiggled my IT bands and my bad knee for a good 30 minutes -- completely FREE, mind you -- and 1) pronounced me able to run the marathon, 2) gave me some stretches and stabilizing excercises to do, 3) advised me what kinds of cardio I should do when I'm in too much pain to run, 4) offered a bunch of advice on the appropriate use of knee braces and 5) alleviated my fears about further injuries and subsequent marathonal failure.
So, in summary:
Marathonal is NOT A WORD.