I know YOU know what this is.
A bowl of ice, right? But don’t let this cute little bowl of “cold as sh*t” fool you…it has the capacity to cause an abundance of discomfort. (Especially when it’s dumped in your bathtub.) And that’s exactly what it did — caused a truckload of distress — immediately following my 16-mile throw down yesterday.
Nearly all of my Saturdays this year have looked the same: I get up at the a** crack of dawn, hook up with D.R., do the goody bag exchange and head out to lay down some obscene number of miles. (I think anything over 5 miles is outrageous. I really do. That doesn’t mean I don’t do it, but damn folks, that’s a long way to run.) Anyhoo…
I had a pretty good run yesterday. Some miles were definitely faster than others. The first 8 were a breeze, or as breezy as miles can be. Somewhere between mile 8 and thirteen, I unintentionally slowed down. And between miles 13 and 16, I gave myself total permission to do whatever the freak was necessary just to finish. (I didn’t walk, but my pace was more than pokey.)
I spent all 16 miles thinking about three things: work, the women in my 100 Days of Sole Challenge, and if I was courageous enough to take my first ever ice bath. As hot, humid and nasty as it was in Denver yesterday, I knew I had to try.
So after my run, I rolled home and prepared for something you quite honestly can’t prepare for.
Before I dive into the blow by blow of my first ice bath, I’d like to preface what I’m about to share by saying I am damn thankful for a few key peeps on Facebook who helped me take a strategic approach. (Trust me, it could have been so much worse.)
Here’s how it went down:
I filled my blue bowl full of ice. I heated a cup of coffee. I trekked upstairs and peeled off my nasty, sweaty clothes. I pulled on a fleece jacket. (Thank you to the brilliant soul who told me to do this.) I put the stopper in the tub.
So far so good, right?
I set my coffee within arms reach. I bravely crawled in, half-clothed, and sat my bare a** down (in an empty tub). Then came a quick pep-talk with Self.
“You don’t HAVE to do this,” Self said. “It’s not a requirement. We can suffer through another week of aches if you want to bail.” I came back with, “But what if this helps? What if we only feel damn bad for a few hours instead of several days? Wouldn’t this be worth it?”
Self shrugged and agreed. (As did my feet, knees, hips and butt cheeks.)
So I turned on the faucet — cold side only.
The water hits my buns first. Then it inched its way up to my hamstrings and calves. After a few minutes, my lower legs were completely engulfed. I start to shake. Not just a tremor…but full on, “Oh sh*t, what have I done?” sort of shake. I man up and throw in a handful of ice cubes. I do my best to keep the cubes near my feet instead of my a**. I continue to shake. I take a sip of coffee…and in that moment I’m damn thankful I was smart enough to use a travel mug with a lid. I start to laugh at my ridiculousness. I throw in a few more ice cubes. The water is now covering my lower extremities entirely…and it’s almost up to my belly button.
I take a look around and realize I have totally screwed myself. I should have sat with my head and arms next to the faucet. But oh no…that would have been too easy. So I was forced to stand up, turn off the faucet and sit back down. Good God Almighty.
Within minutes, my legs are purple. They are masked in goose bumps. I’m shaking uncontrollably. I laugh again…only this time it’s not a funny ha ha laugh, it’s a “I’ve gone freakin’ mad” laugh. I throw in the rest of the cubes thinking, “Why not? How much worse can this possibly get?”
I managed to stay in the tub until the ice cubes melted. (Fifteen minutes tops.) When I got out, I couldn’t feel my legs.
I did some quick research on how cold tap water is when it comes out of the faucet. Depending on where you live, it falls between 48 and 62 degrees Fahrenheit. Whatever temperature mine was…it was far too f*ing cold. Add ice to the equation and well…now you know.
I flew out of the tub, ripped off my fleece jacket and dove into a hot shower. It took a full hour to regain feeling in my legs. (No joke.)
Surprisingly, I do feel better today than I usually do after a long run. That’s not to say I’m pain free…I’m just saying there is a noticeable difference. Noticeable enough that there will likely be several mean-spirited ice baths in my future.
P.S. Have you ever taken an ice bath? I’d love to hear about your experience! https://www.facebook.com/BrooksFirstMarathon
P.S.S. Don’t forget — if you ran a race this weekend, please post your pic to the the timeline so we can celebrate YOU!
P.P.S.S. The 100 Days of Sole Challenge is off to a rockin’ start! One of the members shared this picture with the group with the following caption: “A little extra inspiration never hurt a girl! This calendar and sign is posted in my workout room. I like being able to see the big picture!” Awesomesauce. 🙂