I know some of you have done that inner thigh roll with the foam roller. You know, the one that looks awful and is likely to emotionally scar any small children who happen to walk into the room. Yeah, that one. It’s a necessary evil and as mileage builds and muscles tighten, the need to release tension in certain areas becomes readily apparent (God, that even sounded awful).
Well I’ve found something even dirtier. I’ve been bothered on and off (mostly on) by this phantom hip pain for the last three weeks. It’s not in one place but several, at different times of the day, and triggered by different motions. Weird, right? I went to my sports massage voodoo wizard on Tuesday and the diagnosis was an overly tight psoas (pronounced so’ ass, which it also gives you). What is a psoas, you ask? It’s a muscle that runs from the front of your lower spine through your pelvic region and connects to the top of your femur. If it gets irritated or tight it can basically pull everything from your lower back to your hip out o’ whack.
She works on a lot of Western States runners, and said that she normally sees this when runners suddenly take on higher mileage, suddenly up their speedwork, or start running a LOT of hills. It just so happens that my stupid reckless behind has been tackling all three lately, being excited to start ultra training and all. But let’s get back to the point…
There are only two ways to “roll” a psoas. One is with a tennis ball, which you lay on the ground and lay on top of, trying to strategically position yourself just right to effectively whimper in agony. The other is what traumatized my wife last night.
You take a foam roller, position it on the ground parallel to your core, and lay on it, digging the edge into your inner hip til the pain comes. In essence, there is no way to perform this particular maneuver without looking like you’re doing unspeakable things to a giant twinkie. Next, you have to slowly rock back and forth, grinding the poor thing whilst unsuspecting family members recoil in shock as they enter the room. I calmly explained that this was really a legit exercise that I was instructed to do by a PT professional, but I don’t think DW quite bought it. So now I’m the perv that ruined our foam roller. Fantastic.
Running cultivates many attributes: strength, patience, determination, yearning for excellence, but perhaps the most valueable trait is the humility to sacrifice a bit of pride for the sake of our continued ability to run. We do a great many silly things for this running game, but man is it worth it!
On a side note, I sold my ’67 Mustang about a year ago, and an extra wheel for it has been loitering in my garage ever since. I decided it needed to go, but instead of trashing the whole thing my Earth-friendly side took over and I decided to make something out of it. I still tossed the wheel itself, but a little power tool work and some cordage from the ol’ rock climbing bag and look at what the tire is now!
Who knows if I’ll ever actually run in them, Tarahumara style, but they’ll at least make some awesome yard work sandals in the coming months!
Happy running, friends!
I know what pic you were looking for.