Friday, September 13, 2013

Foam Roller Foamer

As I mentioned in last week's Tri Barry post, I suffered a severe calf cramp a few miles into the run. I was hobbled, but I gutted it out to finish the race. Had I not been racing, I would have pulled the plug and called for a ride. It was that bad.

My calf muscle was very sore for a few days following the race but has made good progress since. I owe a lot of this to my Foam Roller coach, whose prescribed methods of foam-roller therapy has smoothed out the knot that the cramp created.

Wait, what's that? A foam roller coach?

Yes, you heard it correctly. I have a foam roller coach.

I have lots of coaches.You're already familiar with some of them. There's coach Shim (cycling), who yells "pedal faster" when I need to pedal faster. And there's coach Mod (Cyclocross). Actually, Mod doesn't know he's coaching me. I've been secretly poaching Mod's 'cross workouts from his Strava feed. Shhhhh. This is our secret now. Don't ruin this.

Well, in addition to these two, I also have a foam roller coach on the dole, and his name is Dr Peter.

I first met Dr Peter years ago on a Wednesday Night Worlds group ride. At the time, Dr Peter was in his 50s, and he was killing it. In a strong headwind, he had broken away from pack, soloed up the road and was holding off a chase group for a good ten minutes. It was an impressive effort. Especially for someone like Dr Peter, who's of smaller stature and weight (5'7 and 135 lbs). But there he was, 200m off the front and putting the hurt on the group.

A few years later, I bumped into Dr Peter again, this time at Omaha Masters Swimming. I may not have recognized Dr Peter at first. But on that day, Dr Peter didn't have proper swimming gear. Instead, he swam in the next best thing: over-the-shoulder MWCC cycling bib shorts. If the suit fits...

As I got to know him better, I found out that Dr Peter is very competitive. Allow me to illustrate.

Earlier this Spring, I began doing a couple bonus sets of push-ups at the end of swimming practice to strengthen core and upper body. I did this on my own initiative and without telling anyone about it. But people took notice. After a couple days, some started asking questions. Dr Peter wasn't one of them. Instead, he began critiquing my push-up form: my arms were too wide, my back sagged, my nose didn't touch the floor, yada yada yada. But telling me how simply wasn't enough. He then preceded to get down and show me how a manly-man does push-ups.

The problem was that Dr Peter was conducting this impromptu push-up clinic in the locker room shower after practice. He was also quite naked.

"Hang on a second," I said. "Let me get my camera and take some photos for Facebook."

Laughter erupted in the locker room.

Dr Peter retorted, "No way, that'd be too kinky."

"I'm afraid it's too late for that."

More laughter.

Anyway, what Dr Peter knows about push-ups pales in comparison to his experience with foam rollers. He owns at least a half dozen of them of different shapes, colors and sizes. Yes, we're still talking about foam rollers here. Anyway, he swears by the effectiveness of a foam roller massage, and rarely skips a day without using it.

Unless you really want to know and you have the time for a five minute 'speale on the benefits of foam rollering, don't ask him. You'd be cheating yourself of a good education, and more importantly, the opportunity for Dr Peter to tell you about it. He's passionate about the foam roller and pitches it like the As Seen on TV® guy.

If you had the time, it might go something like this:

"Hey Dr Peter, I was doing some push-ups the other day and felt a slight strain in my upper back."

"Oh, push ups, huh? How many? Last night, I did three sets of 20: hands wide, hands under shoulders, and hands together. Let me show you --

~ You catch Dr Peter mid-stoop and wave him off ~

"No, I know you are awesome and that my push-up form sucks. What I need is a little advice on foam rol--"

"-- Foam rollers?"

~ you may be imagining it, but you swear he's beginning to foam at the mouth ~

"...did you say foam rollers?!" He's nearly frothing now. "I foam roller! Every night. I have a several --"

"Yes, yes, Dr Peter, you have a half dozen of different shapes, colors and sizes. You've already told me. Anyway, I was wondering if you could recommend a particular set of roller exercises for my upper back..."

~ Dr Peter takes a step back. The lights directly above him power up a dazzling 400% while those above you fade to black. Suddenly, his voice crackles with the electricity and static of one of those chintzy road-show kiosks ~ 

"The Body Solid Full Foam Roller can be used in a variety of different ways. Enhance your body awareness, muscular flexibility, dynamic strength ..."

"Let me get my camera," you say to nobody in particular. "At least this can be posted on Facebook."

1 comment:

  1. um.....
    Have you ever been to a Turkish prison?
    Do you like movies about gladiators?