Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Racing Stripes

Today was the Hingham 4th of July race - a 4.6 mile point to point race down Main Street in Hingham, MA.

Ever since I rolled my ankle at the Harpoon 5 miler last month, it's been a bit tender and sore but no big deal for the most part. At the start of the Hingham race, a chiropractor who also does kinesio taping was there. I figured "what the hell" and asked him about the taping and my ankle. I sat on the table and he felt around the outside of my ankle (where the problem is) and had me flip over so he could tape it up.

I should note that kinesio taping is a Japanese thing. The Japanese are not only very aware of the body but of the mind and spirit as well and everything is infused with a level of philosophy. Because of this, color plays an important role in any treatment of anything so while most research will tell you the colors of the kinesio tex tape makes no difference, it was clear this guy had studied that piece of things and chose to use both pink (active) and blue (passive) tape. He made a point of telling me that I was the only person he was taping with two colors... everyone else was either one color or the other.

The tape itself is a cotton/elastic latex-free based tape and, unlike white sports tape, is designed to give full range of motion to the muscles while balancing the flow of lymphatic fluids (according to the literature I looked up after I got home).

Whether or not all that is true is another story - but I do know this much, after 4.6 miles, my ankle feels just spiffy. In fact, it's one of the few times I haven't had that nagging soreness I often feel after a run. So whether it's in my head or has something to do with the racing stripes I don't know, but I do know I'd like to learn how to do this properly for myself.

Of course, in looking all this up I did note one thing, in true American fashion, it was suggested that a) the color makes no difference and b) the tape was a perfect vehicle for advertising and sponsorship.

The race itself is a hometown race. People set up water stops on their front lawns and have hoses going so that runners can run through the mist to cool down if they'd like. There are lots of flags and patriotic bunting. So on that level it truly was a fun and enjoyable race.

The downside was that the beginning was highly disorganized and chaotic. Because it is a hometown race, there are a lot of small children (and by small I mean like kindergarten/lower elementary aged kids) "running" with parents. There are also a bunch of those pre-senior citizen types who walk the race. All of this would be fine if there was a level of basic race etiquette among these folks, but kids would scamper off while mommy peeled off for a conversation and I'd just miss tripping over little darling as they sprinted across the road with no supervision. Some of the walkers and semi-runners would weave back and forth across the road like drunken college students winding their way home from a party, making it hard to pace myself as I couldn't get past them.

In fact, this is one of the only races I've been in where the people with the jogging strollers were polite and acted the way you'd want them to ... staying off to one side, announcing passing intentions, etc.

Don't get me wrong, the downside stuff really was minimal in comparison to the feel of the race and the scenic course. It truly is a joy to run a race where people are sitting out on decorated lawn chairs or setting up home made water stops every few feet or so. It was a race where you feel connected to a community and that is a true joy.


GB said...

That Japanese ankle wrap sounds very cool actually! I'm glad it worked well for you today. The race did sound like a little nightmare, but at least you had a good time. I wish we had more hometown races like you do!

Tampa Zephyr said...

Hey pika!

Boston fan here, too! Nice to meet another Free Agent. :)

You keep up the good work, too!

Jenn said...

I think I read about Lance Armstrong using that taping for his marathon. I could be wrong. I remember looking it up after reading SOMEWHERE about it. It looks really good if nothing else! I like the idea of the tape being so flexible. I am glad it worked for you!!!!

It's been a while since I visited :) Glad to see you are still plugging away!!!!!!