I went out and bought a The Stick yesterday.
For people that don't aren't familiar with it, there's a difference between a stick and "the" stick.
A stick is free, and made of wood.
A The Stick is made of plastic, and costs around $30. I probably could have gotten it for cheaper, but it all seemed like it was in crisis mode.
See, the taper's not going well. Not for any vague or general reason, or because I've been missing the running or yelling at people whom I shouldn't be yelling at. Rather, it's because I managed to hurt myself while going on a trail run last Thursday. Nice, easy, trail run. What could go wrong? But I managed to jerk my left leg up to the side, resulting in an uncomfortable sensation. I thought that it would go away, and even continued the run; things felt fine, I wound up running the next few days. But Saturday night it was hurting just to walk around. This was worrisome.
So taper turned to extreme taper. A 10-mile run, with a few marathon-paced miles, turned into an easy 30 mile bike ride. Followed by a rest day. A rest day on which I went to Philly Runner and bought The Stick.
I've often been critical of the stick (which I'm going to stop capitalizing). I've been using "the dowel," which seems to serve the same purpose, and we have one in the house. I've also pondered using "the rolling pin," which could double up for baking purposes. But with Saturday's race bearing down on me, my thigh hurting, and me stressed out, the thought occurred to me: can't I solve this by spending money?Ok, so the thought didn't present itself quite like that. But that's what it came down to.
Has it worked? Well, I ran seven miles today. Some discomfort, no pain. Did the stick help? I think so. But did it help enough?
I’m pretty sure that, on Saturday, I'll be ready at the start. I'm also confident that, at some point, my leg will start hurting, in exactly the place that's hurting now. The question is, when and how much.