Monday, November 23, 2009

My new Zensah-ation

I was on the verge of spending hundreds of dollars on sports rehab, in a desperate attempt to find a solution to my two-month-old pulled calf muscle injury (which still was hurting in a way that no two-month-old injury should hurt.)

"It will be about one-fifty for the first session, then you'll need a half hour session every other day for two weeks, and those will run you $75," said the charming sports rehab doctor, after breaking the devastating news to me that his clinic didn't take my insurance.

Those "sessions," he warned me, would involve something that sounded "medeival." He was going to use shiny metal devices on my left calf to break up the scar tissue that was preventing my calf strain from healing.

I asked if it would hurt and he paused for a moment and replied, "It hurts so good."


I told him I'd sleep on it, and the next day at my Team in Training practice, I asked my mentor about this clinic, because Doctor Hurts-So-Good had listed her as one of his patients.

"Oh, he's the best," she raved, causing me to ponder whether the expression "marathon runners can be masochists" was sometimes literal rather than metaphorical. "But if you have a calf strain, why not just wear compression hose?"

Compression hose. Those ugly purple Zensah socks I'd bought, wore once before I actually had the calf strain injury, and then decided I already looked clownish enough between my bright orange shoes and pastel running skirts to add Olive Oyl-like hose to the mix?

Yeah, I guess I could try them again.

I tried them out for the first time on Sunday, and after I got used to the sensation of running with my calves bound, making me feel like some small animal was grabbing onto my legs and squeezing them as I ran, I have to say I am a fan of my Zensahs. Although I didn't like it at first, the pressure on my calves actually forced me to run using better form: falling forward, shoulders relaxed and neck long, rather than putting the weight in my calves and running with my upper body all scrunched up. (I knew what proper form was, thanks to my father-in-law Lou, who gave me a book on the Alexander Method, but have to admit it's been hard to kick the habit of running hard on my legs--which is probably what got me into this calf strain mess in the first place.)

So, miraculously, one ten mile run later, the pain is pretty much gone. Not better, but gone! I just asked my husband to press right in the spot that had been so tender before that if he accidentally kicked me there in bed in the middle of the night, I'd scream out in agony. He pressed, and I felt nothing. I don't know where the pain went, but I can't say I miss it.

I'm so relieved that I didn't need to have the scar tissue tortured out of me with stainless steel devices ("hurts so good" indeed) to the tune of almost a thousand dollars.

I just wish Zensah offered the socks in my size in a color other than purple. (Not the pinkish color pictured above; we're talking Flying Purple People Eater grape.)  I'm starting to think that the universe is conspiring to make me look as absurd as possible when I run. It makes me feel a little bit like a court jester--and look a lot like one.


  1. Dont know how easy they are to get in the US but have you looked at the 2XU compression socks ??

    I use the black recovery socks when my shins kill me after a run and they work wonders. I havnt tried the white (race) socks yet but I figure they might suit your orange shoes better than the purple socks ...

  2. Don't you mostly run in the dark anyway?

  3. Your opinion of the colors made me chuckle, due to your post about running the half after getting dressed in the dark.

  4. Hey, Daylights Savings has arrived and by the time I finish up my run, the sun's up, and those kids waiting for the school bus can see me (and probably snicker.)

    Shaun, I haven't seen those socks but they do sound like they'd go better with my white and orange shoes!