Hurt so good

No, I’m not referring to the John Cougar Mellencamp song (or just John Mellencamp these days). I’m talking about the sports massage I got last week at Oakland Massage Therapy. There was crazy good deal on Groupon a few weeks ago — $35 for a 1-hour massage, normally priced at $80. With the Lake Chabot Trail Challenge coming up, I had the foresight of knowing that I’d be very sore and needing some good ol’ TLC. Also, there were a lot of rave reviews on Yelp. Finally, I couldn’t resist a great bargain, so I said why not? Sign me up!

I made an appointment online (so easy!!) with John, who was the subject of the Yelp raves. Yelp was also helpful in managing my expectations — basically, an hour massage is really 50 minutes (10 minutes is used for changing and other administrative tasks). The other thing is that the facilities are not very “spa-like.” In fact, Oakland Massage Therapy is located on the 2nd floor of a mixed-use building on the corner of 18th Street and MLK Jr Way. The room itself was nice enough — cozy, clean, and comfortable, with low lighting and soft music. Just don’t expect to be lounging around in a plush robe, sipping on citrus and cucumber-infused water while reading lady mags. (Truth: I have done this once at a Burke Williams. It was fun but I’d rather have a good massage instead of all of those bells and whistles any day.)

I got to the building a couple of minutes late due to parking issues, and once I got into the building, I waited in the lobby for John to come get me. John was friendly, but not overly talkative (which I really appreciate in a masseuse), and courteous. He showed me to the massage room, then gave me 5 minutes of privacy while I undressed and got under the sheets. I’ve had 2 massages previously, but John was my first male masseuse and I was a little nervous to be honest. As it turned out, I had nothing to worry about. Just as my fellow Yelpers had attested, John was extremely professional and respectful. I never felt awkward at any point during the massage.

Before the massage started, we discussed which body parts would receive priority. Legs, of course, but I also put my neck and shoulders on the list because they are almost always super tense! So, John got to work and spent a good 25 minutes rubbing out my neck and shoulders, and the remaining 25 working on my legs and feet. In addition to the massage, he also helped me stretch out my legs, especially my hip flexors. It was great! I felt like Deena Kastor in The Spirit of the Marathon, getting stretched out by a professional. During the massage, John found that my left pectoral was extremely tight. It was very surprising to me, but then again, I don’t think about my upper body too much, let alone stretch it. John showed me an easy pec stretch to do, so I’ve done it a handful of times since then. Thanks, John!

Afterwards, I felt very relaxed, and the feeling of relaxation actually stayed with me for a long time –at least a day if not two, unlike my previous massages, which lasted only a couple of hours at best. The one regret I have is that I wish I thought more about what muscle groups I really wanted to focus on. I think I would’ve wanted more emphasis on stretching out my hip flexors and massaging my IT band.

I definitely want to go back, and am even willing to pay full-price… but as luck would have it, Living Social is offering a deal at Oakland Massage Therapy through tomorrow! $39 for a one-hour massage or $59 for a 90-minute treatment. The best part is that it won’t expire until mid-December, which means I’ll be getting a post-marathon massage on December 3rd. Woohoo!!

OK, I just couldn’t resist posting this. 80’s videos are so awesome.

Have you ever gotten or do you regularly get a sports massage? Did you think it is worth it?


Howdy! My name is Jen and I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. I like to eat, run, and blog, but not usually at the same time.

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10 comments on “Hurt so good
  1. Jan says:

    How is the sports massage different in technique (as far as you can tell) then, say, a deep tissue massage? I’m guessing all the stretching? You deserve another massage BEFORE December 3rd, by the way, so indulge! I’m sure another Living Social (love) will have another at some point.

    • Jen says:

      Hm, good question. I’ve never had a deep tissue massage, but I’d assume that the sports massage I had is similar. I would guess one difference is the stretching, as you said, and another might be emphasis on specific muscles, depending on the sport. For examples, I’d doubt that non-runners would even feel their IT band being massaged.

      Also, I agree — I’m definitely willing to use that massage before Dec 3rd!

  2. Zach says:

    If you don’t do it, I’d recommend roam rolling and self myofascial release (with a tennis or lacrosse ball). It hurts like whoa, but it works really well. There are tons of resources online for it.

    • Jen says:

      I believe you mean foam rolling. 🙂
      Yes, I’ve been using foam rollers recently and it’s great. In fact, I’ll probably write a post about it soon!

  3. Nicole says:

    Ha, “Hurt so Good” was totally the pre-race cheer my college cross-country team used!

    • Jen says:

      Haha! Seems very appropriate!
      BTW, thanks for making me realize that it’s “hurt” not “hurts.” Going to correct it now. 🙂

  4. Mike says:

    Hmm… “lounging around in a plush robe, sipping on citrus and cucumber-infused water while reading lady mags”? Don’t you mean “girly mags”? I’m starting to think we patronize different massage parlors…

  5. 8junebugs says:

    Well, that was fortuitous. I clicked over from your comment on Shut Up + Run based entirely on the name of your blog; my name is Jen, too, and I’m a runner. (Sort of. I’m a slow, recurring beginner who doesn’t train for races. I just feel better when I run.)

    And, as it happens, I’m just settling back into a running schedule, I live in Oakland, and I desperately need a decent sports massage…and a good deal on one. (There’s a GREAT sports massage therapist off 40th, but she’s pricey and doesn’t do Groupon-type deals.) 😉 So, thanks!

  6. […] the title: thanks to 2 blog posts with titles referencing songs (here and here), I felt compelled to stick with the theme. I scrapped my initial (and quite milquetoast) […]

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4/28/19: London Marathon

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