One of the things that I've tried recently, in my never-ending attempt to improve flexibility and decrease stiffness, is a foam roller. Jan the Physio recommended this the last time that I saw her. It's meant to mimic the effects of a sports massage; basically, you have to support your body weight with your arms whilst moving said body back and forth over the roller. Here's a view of what it's meant to look like, as demonstrated by a very fit person with a very flat stomach. It doesn't quite look like that when done by a more normal-sized person who is still suffering from shoulder impingements and can't put her arms behind her.
Because I was finding it next to impossible to roll myself, a couple of nights ago I asked Bassman to roll me. (Get your minds out of the gutter; this isn't that kind of blog!) He used his superior strength and endless patience to roll the roller up and down my calves. It was absolutely amazing. I don't think that my calves have ever felt that relaxed, and there was a very obvious knock-on effect for my achilles tendons too. The advice is to use the roller pre- and post-run as part of the warm up and cool down, which I'm happy to do but Bassman won't always be around for rolling duties. So I did what any geeky gadget girl would do and looked on-line for something that would let me attend to my own massage needs.
Hello, The Stick. I ordered one, and it arrived today. I had some experimental rolls of my calves and hip flexors, and I think it will do nicely. It's no replacement for Bassman, of course, but sometimes a girl just has to be self-sufficient.
Running update: Following yesterday's debacle, I took today off from running. Instead, I went to the gym and did 20 minutes on the exercise bike and 15 minutes on the cross-trainer. Less impact on my joints and other bits while still getting my heart rate up. Tomorrow is a rest day, and Friday is 10 miles. Plenty of time to Stick myself.