I had no idea what to expect when training for a marathon. I had chosen a very aggressive training plan for the BAA Half Marathon, which kind of mimicked marathon mileage so in my mind, I thought this, would be a piece of cake. WRONG. So wrong. Training from the get go has been borderline horrible. It started with a broken metatarsal bone, then it was crippling cold temperatures which basically caused me to run like a busted up grizzly bear, then there are the creepy black toes, the bunched up neck muscles and the inability to eat a variety of foods. HOWEVER, there are silver linings. Trust me. My body has changed in some really miraculous ways. I haven’t lost any weight but the proof is in the pudding. I look different. I am shaped differently, which brings with it a new-found confidence. Also, making it out the other side of the training, almost in Spring, almost in April, means I hit the ground running really strong. Last night, I had a beautiful, euphoric run. One that made me finally see what all of this hard work has been for. I scaled up some really high hills without even thinking twice about it: fast. I felt good. I felt great. I felt like a winner.
But running isn’t the only thing that has gotten me to this place.
I try to listen to all the warning signs going on in my body. After my fifteen mile run a few weeks ago, my body just shut down. I couldn’t move my neck at all. Not to the right, not to the left. And the pain was something I have never experienced. Oh my goodness, it was terrible. It was debilitating. I couldn’t focus on so much as my children speaking. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to be overly dramatic and go to the hospital so I thought, let’s try a massage, maybe that will iron out these kinks. I called Nine Stones in Portland, a spa I frequent anyways. But I had never really gone there seeking help for anything, the massages have always just been for relaxation, not really for maintenance. And I was skeptical. Could this really help? I made an appointment with Wit, because he was the only one available and it ended up being one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I laid on that table, after describing briefly what was happening, and Wit just knew what to do. It was like he could read my body as if it were a book. Everything was perfect. The pressure, the placement, the focus. I could not have asked for more. I walked out of there feeling a million times better and immediately made follow-up appointments. Now, I have never been one to relax. It’s like, virtually unheard of. I just can’t stop the clock in my head or the list from rattling in my mind. I am an anxiety ridden, crunch monster, who can’t stay still. But during my next appointment with Wit, I could have fallen into the table. I have NEVER felt so at ease in my entire life. My mind was empty. My thoughts ran silent. My heart went quiet. I let my shoulders drop. I let my body go. It was like 30 years of stress just fell to the floor. I can’t say that it was any particular thing that Wit did. It’s just his way. He tunes in and helps you to tune out. Great energy, I guess that’s the trick. Allison, my training partner, also had a massage by him immediately following mine and her consensus was exactly the same.
As a runner, I think taking a time out for yourself is essential. Massage hasn’t had any medically proven benefits but who cares, I know how it has helped me and that is good enough. During this training, having a massage on a regular basis has made the world of difference. It helps me to calm the beast. My body is tired. I feel like this is my way of giving back to it. I plan on seeing Wit every two weeks until I reach Boston and for the month following Boston. But truthfully, it’s not just Wit, Nine Stones in general offers something really spectacular. I have had massages by other therapists and they have always been top-notch. I have also had facials and body scrubs there which have been fantastic. They have worked hard to cultivate an environment which breeds relaxation. Just sitting in their waiting room puts me at ease. They also sell some incredible skin care products, most of which I have purchased, tried and fallen in love with.
There are people out there that have never treated themselves to a spa day or even a massage. You have to get to it people! As busy people, in a society that is always plugged in, you need to take a moment and just release. Life is short. Reward and treat both your mind and your body. And do it at Nine Stones, because, well, they’re the best.
Nine Stones is located on 250 Commercial St. in Portland.
*Photo courtesy of Trip Advisor.