This is a story of a foam roller.
One of the first bits of running advice I received was, 'Get yourself a foam roller.' So I did. I marched myself to Paragon Sports and asked an employee which foam roller was the best. The knobby one? The short, smooth and stout roller? The long and lean one that had softer foam? The foam that was rock like? I asked fellow runners. I Googled. There was no definitive answer, no consensus of opinion. In the end the short blue roller ended up in my possession. I figured if I felt the need to bring it to London, it was short enough to fit in a bag. Logical.
And so I brought my new roller home. I removed it form its plastic and I tried it out. What ensued was comical. I rolled off the roller. I found it shortness in length a problem. I had no idea if I was 'rolling' correctly. And I soon realized that rolling took upper arm strength, muscles I lacked. But I tried again. I read running magazines, I YouTubed a few videos. I tried to see the correct position to roll. And I wondered how the the heck one gets to the inner thigh, balance and roll adequately. I fumbled. Basic running stretches and yoga poses were easier to handle. And so I left the dark blue roller on my floor, staring me in the face while I stretched the good ol' fashioned way.
Many friends would inquire how training was going. My coworkers saw me after my long runs gruff at the thought of climbing stairs or sitting in a chair. 'I'm great I'd say, it's going well. My thighs are a bit, um, tight though.' And every time they same reaction, 'Oh do you use a roller?'
Then this past Tuesday I took a day off work to run a glorious 20 miles. (What a way to spend a vacation day - but run I did.) From Central Park, stiff legs, tight thighs, I inched home happy at what I had accomplished and perfectly aware how vital it would be to stretch out my aching muscles. And yet, my exhausted self had no desire to use its last ounce of energy to roll. My arms ached, my hands had swollen fat and my body wanted a break. I sat on the couch staring at my bookcase, right at the spot my little blue foam roller sat comfortably waiting for me. He teased - 'You need me. Yes, now more than ever.'
So I stooped to it's level. I winced as I rolled my quads and hamstrings. The most important muscles to roll outright hurt. Next my back, but it welcomed the released of the knots. Then I switched to that darn inner thigh. Womp, fell off. And with that, my patience was gone. My last ounce of strength had dissipated. And my arms screamed you need to use weights. Thighs of steal and arms mush. Bottom line: rolling is itself its own little workout.
FYI - If you're reading this from the New York City area, come have a at Mother's Ruin (Spring and Elizabeth Street, in SoHo) on Tuesday 4/14 from 6-8pm. 100% of proceeds go to The Waves Trust. Mother's Ruin was kind enough to let me host my fundraising event + it's one of my favorite bars.