Respect the Run: Earning the ice bath, taking the walk of shamePosted: 2012/03/30
Could also be called ; Why is the crazy curly haired girl taking ice baths? or even What kind of loser has to “thice” after only 4 miles? Why the fuzzle (stole this from him) would I ice bath? To flush out toxins, lessen inflammation and hopefully speed healing. Apparently my body isn’t as badass yet as I would like. I shall now apply randomness and logic to this little bit of chaos in order to unlock it.
Running has been, shall we say, difficult lately. So difficult in fact that it has really been testing my, there are no bad runs, theory. It all started the weekend of my Birthday when it hurt really badly to run the 10k. Then this week I bailed on a run in the middle. I haven’t bailed in the middle of a run in over a year and when I did I think I did the distance either on the elliptical or walked it to completion. So I suppose if we are going to get all detailed and logical about this, this week I bailed on my first run.
Running well is a combination of a bunch of different parts choosing to work together. I’m pretty sure all runners try to push themselves to get better and I am no different. Therefore, whenever I am running I am trying to find a comfortable pace that I can maintain for the entire distance of the run. I would like that pace to be as fast as possible and as easy as possible. I’d prefer if it continued to drop and I continue to train and though I wouldn’t call myself pace obsessed, some people are very pace obsessed, I have a goal of finishing the 13.1 at under 12:00 minutes per mile. I want my heart rate, muscles, and lungs to all be in sync with no complaining. Heart rate too fast? Breathing too hard? I have to slow down and let those two catch up. The worst running condition for me is one where my breath and heart are in sync, but my muscles just can’t keep up. The absolute worst is when I find myself in this condition within the first 500 yards. During this month I have put in 49.7 running miles for a total of 117.5 so far training for this race. Our short runs are 4 miles two days a week and our longs have been multiple 6’s, a 7.5 and an 8. These middle miles are killing my thighs. Sure my calves and hamstrings are sore and tired as well but nothing like what my quads and other front of thigh muscles are going through. If I’d been less busy over this month I would of written a running post about how 6 miles is my Kryptonite. I have slogged through 3 sets of difficult 6 mile runs with tight legs that aren’t cooperating. Not only that, but also my thighs are often tight and unhappy for my 4 mile runs. So on one hand this has been demoralizing as fuzzle because I don’t really like being consistently at the way back of the pack, it limits my ability to have girl talk b/c everyone is in front of me and it starts to wear on my confidence. On the other hand I have gotten REALLY good over the last 4 weeks at making myself keep running with tight legs in the hopes they will eventually loosen up and stop hurting long enough to have some good miles before the end. I have tried to make sure I stretch, and hydrate and foam roll in various timings and combinations all to no avail. Most runs equaled tight legs and inner mind battle for perseverance. All of this was starting to catch up to me last week, and after Wednesday’s awful 4 mile run I wanted to cry. To be fair it is bitch week this week and my stress level has been very high lately so I probably wanted to cry anyway. But I didn’t cry, I went into the wellness center and busted out my push-up, made rolly love to one of their foam rollers, and stretched.
As I came out into the hallway I saw my favorite Kenyan coach, he isn’t my coach this year but we bonded last year. He runs the advanced group I was invited to no longer participate in (thank GOD) and I only see him now in passing. He is always passing me 🙂 There isn’t a distance I wouldn’t try to run for that Kenyan. He is the best Lola pusher and he does it with the almost magical quiet way. He has these dark eyes that bore right into you and he isn’t a big fast talker like me. I ran into him and he asked me how I was. Ok was my answer but then he just looked at me and didn’t say anything, this is the magical quiet trick, and then started crossing the hallway over to me and I knew I was busted. So I told him my troubles and we decided I should ice my thighs before the half way run. Renewed emotionally I went home and “thiced” for the next two days. If I’d been less stressed this month I’d of written about what kind of loser has to “thice” after a 4 mile run. Ahem, this one. But you know what? It worked because last Saturday when Babu and I completed our 7.5 mile half way run, I felt great.
Great enough to take an ice bath! While thicing I remembered this post from Another Mother Runner. Eureka, I will take an ice bath on Saturday after my run I thought to myself. I declared my intent to Babu, I made him purchase me not only a giant Diet Mountain Dew, but also a post run 22 pound bag of ice. A bag of ice so big it barely fits on the back floor boards of the Lexus. I didn’t want to fuzzle it up so I Googled a little bit to make sure I knew the proper steps, Ice Bath (triing2survive.wordpress.com) helped me make some good process decisions.
I put on my favorite Colts Hoodie; the only item of Babu’s clothing technically mine now because I got it in the Almost Divorce, I started running a cold bath, and I had the evil minions on stand by for ice duty. I waited for the water to get a couple of inches high and then I lowered myself gently and daintily into the chilling water without only a little smirk and absolutely no cursing. This is a lie, I screamed crazy uncontrollable things for at least 10 seconds. I think I even made the evil minions go away until I got into the bath so I could be alone with this crazy torture the first time through. Once I was of course demurely settled into my bath position I let them come in and add roughly 10 pounds of the ice a little at a time directly to the water. I have since had a 2nd and 3rd one of these, they got the coveted ice job again last night. It’s very cold. I stay in for a minimum of 10 minutes and no longer than 20. For the record I’ve probably made it a grand total of 17 minutes so far. I’m getting better at making them colder and being able to tolerate it, but not at staying in longer once I do. I kind of look forward to them actually. After Saturday’s run and ice bath my legs felt great. Even the 4 mile run I had on Monday felt great. I was suddenly excited about running again instead of feeling like I’m living an ongoing science experiment to tweak things in the hopes of finally getting a great run in. Come Wednesday I was anxious for the 8 miles. I noticed that my hip was bothering me a bit and my legs were pretty tight on Tuesday and Wednesday at work. So much so I have been wearing, gasp, flats and when I walk it looks like a combo penguin waddle, lame limp. But I stretch before the run and I’m confident I can make my body go through 8 miles.
It doesn’t work like that, as soon as I start my legs force a reduced pace. My left hip hurts, my left foot hurts, my thighs hurt. I can breath, my heart is fine but my legs simply will not go any faster. I am barely even sweating. After 1.9 miles of playing let’s see how I feel after we get to X on the route; knowing that we were over 12:30, that I was robbing Babu of having a really great run, and that it actually HURT to run at barely 2 miles in, it was time to bail on this run. I wasn’t upset, I wanted to make the right decision, so we talked about it. I need to know I’m not a wussy if I bail on this run, don’t complete the miles and walk back to Y. I told Babu I wanted to feel like I earned my ice bath. He officially questioned my sanity at that point. We decided I had plenty of time to get in plenty of miles; we run a 15k next Saturday, and that I needed to be smart not stubborn. The second I stopped to walk I knew I made the right decision. This felt just as badly as that run 4 weeks ago when I was also sick. I walked as fast as I could back and just decided to take in the beautiful and sunny day and weather. I got to jam out to my tunes and just let my mind wander. I suppose it was a not so shameful walk of shame. Never been on one of those before, swear. Once I got back I did my push ups and came home for my earned OH Sweet Baby Jesus Mother Mary and Joseph that’s cold ice-bath.
I also….. went to the chiro, found out I was really jacked up in the pelvis area, got that adjusted. Looked up my stats and discovered this is the most I have ever run to train for something. 117 miles have been put in on this race so far and most of them have been running. There is no injury mandated elliptical training or running buddy mandated interval pacing on this race. I have run the most and the longest in my life so far. No wonder the middle miles are killing me. I’m running 3, 4 milers in a row before I run that 15k, earn my next ice bath, and hopefully at the roughly 11:30 pace I’ve managed to cultivate from the 12+ I started with a few months ago.
- Ice Bath (triing2survive.wordpress.com)
- Week 11 + “ice” bath (marathonmolly.wordpress.com)
- The Ice Bath (roadrunnersblog.com)
- Really? The Claim: An Ice Bath Can Soothe Sore Muscles (well.blogs.nytimes.com)