Monday, October 19, 2015

What's in a ShakeOut?

I experienced my first ShakeOut massage, an innovative treatment developed by Jeffrey Spratt,MT, Owner and Principal of Spratt Muscular Therapies after running 7.5 miles back in August. After 25 minutes on the table, fully clothed, I felt refreshed, energized and as though I had not run 7.5 miles.

Since then, I have had my longest run of 9 miles, continue to cross train and maintain a rigorous training plan and am working full time. A lot of my work requires standing and chatting with people about my journey, about Spratt Muscular Therapies and listening to their stories.

"Get on the table and get warmed up," Jeffrey said to me before running the Comfort Zone Camp Grief Relief 5K on Saturday.

After 10 minutes on the table, I felt loose and ready to run the 5K.

The day was cool but the sun was shining. There was a stiff headwind at times and the course was filled with gradual uphill grades that seemed to go on forever. I had no expectations for time but since we were not doing a long run this weekend, I wanted to open it up and see what I could do.

Usually all of my effort goes into running when I am running at race pace and I can't fully appreciate what is happening around me. Saturday's race, which wasn't really a race since there were no bibs and no timing mats, was a very different race for me. I was able to take in everything that was happening around me, chatting with others out on the course and feeling connected to something so much bigger and more magnificent than myself.

I ran swift. I ran hard and yet I ran with ease and comfort. Oh sure I felt discomfort in my body especially my right knee and IT band. Jeffrey and I are working on his presentation for the John Hancock Employees Boston Marathon Team, Preparing for Your Marathon: Tips to get to the finish line healthy and happy. I am learning a lot in the process of preparing the presentation such as really tuning into my body and knowing that I can go into the 7-8 pain zone for short periods of time but if I stay there too long, I am tempting fate and can get injured. I was mindful of how I was feeling and felt like a jockey riding a horse intuitively knowing when to push and when to ease up on the reins.

Jeffrey has a wonderful gauge for talking about experiencing discomfort while running. You feel pain and discomfort but it's the kind of pain that something good is happening; that muscle growth and fitness are on the increase. That is exactly what I was feeling and having that framework to work with boosted my confidence.

When we crossed the finish line my pace improved from the Harvard Pilgrim 5K in July and was just seconds shy of the PR I ran at the Bill Rodgers 5K Run/Walk to Benefit Prostate Cancer last August.

After the run Jeffrey had me get on the table again for another 10 minute ShakeOut.

I could feel my body begin to recover.

As walkers and runners lined up outside of Jeffrey's tent to experience a ShakeOut, I was amazed to hear their comments, "Oh my God, he's brilliant." "I've seen him at the office at the Seaport. You have to go and treat yourself." "I never had a massage before. He is amazing though. I have to go get an appointment with him." "I'm planning to run Boston so I'm going to have to get into see him on a regular basis."

Here are photos of Jeffrey working his magic on Saturday:

While we were out on the run, Tom told me that he wanted to do couples ShakeOuts instead of him having a 60 minute treatment with Jeffrey. I told him that I have a ShakeOut scheduled for Tuesday and he "needed" his time on the table. He reminded me that Jeffrey accomplishes more in 25 minutes than most therapists accomplish in an hour and he wants to make sure that with all of the added stress I am putting on myself that I have the support I need to stay healthy and strong.

Jeffrey worked to restore balance and free up the congestion that accumulated during the past week with increased mileage and increased work load; all good stress but stress none the less.

He worked deep into my IT band on both legs and to release my body's natural ability to heal after all I'd been asking my body to do.

I know that because I am working with Jeffrey, my body can now rebuild, regenerate and heal all that went before while nourishing my mind, body and soul as I take on new and exciting challenges and adventures. What's in a ShakeOut? The opportunity for me to go the distance on and off the roads and reclaiming my advantage and reclaiming my life happy, healthy, whole, vibrant and strong!

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