Saturday, December 4, 2010

Ice Baths: A New Form of Torture

Picture yourself running, run-walking or walking for two and a half hours in the freezing cold. Then picture immersing the lower half of yourself in a tub full of ice cubes and cold water for 10-15 minutes (or just plain ice cold tap water, if you're a weenie like me), while wearing a sweatshirt on your upper half to keep warm. Doesn't sound very fun, does it? Supposedly, it helps with your recovery after a long run.

The last time I attempted anything remotely like this was after I finished my first marathon, at Walt Disney World in January 2010, and that was only lukewarm water. I just attempted it a few minutes ago with ice cold tap water. Interestingly (and fortunately), I didn't freeze my ass off. However, my upper leg muscles would not stop shivering and quivering like a bowl of flesh-colored Jell-O. It also helps if you set the timer on your watch for 10 minutes instead of 10 hours. Fortunately, I checked the clock on my bathroom wall before I got in!

Whether it helps with my recovery remains to be seen. I'll have to see how I feel when I wake up tomorrow morning. Right now, though,I think I'll go and sit on my radiator for a while.

Funny Congratulations Card for Marathoners - Ice Bath
(I can't believe they actually sell a greeting card featuring an ice bath on Amazon!)

A Lovely Stroll Along the West Side Highway

If you would like to make a donation to support my Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team in Training fund raising efforts, please go to

Today, our training session consisted of a lovely stroll along the West Side Highway. For those of you who do not live in the New York City area, the West Side Highway runs along the Hudson River, and there's a very nice, scenic and most importantly, FLAT running and biking path that extends pretty much along the entire west side of Manhattan. It's a really great place to get out and go for a walk, run or run-walk. It is also right on the water, making it really cold out there on days like today, when the high temperature is 40 degrees or below. (NOT to be confused with 40 below - I think I'd kind of have to draw the line and say "NO WAY, José!" if that was the case!)

I went through this particular form of torture last winter season during training, so I had a pretty good idea of what I had to look forward to today. I started trying to get myself psyched into it around 7:00 PM last night. I made myself get my clothes, sports drinks, a change of warm clothes for afterwards, etc. ready, so that all I would need to do when the alarm went off at 5:30 AM would be to get dressed, wash my face, brush my teeth, throw some make up on my face (yes, I try to spare my team mates from seeing me without makeup), have some coffee and spend some quality time on facebook before I have to leave the house to catch the 7:20 AM bus to the Main Street Flushing subway station (more on that later). So, everything was all ready to rock-'n'-roll before "Judge Judy" time.

Fast-forward to when my alarm went off this morning. Now, any other morning, when I don't have to wake up at the butt-crack of dawn, I am up, semi-alert and half-caffeinated usually before 6:00 AM. For some reason, whenever I have to be up at that hour, I need to set both alarms on my dual-alarm clock, and hit the snooze button several times before I actually get out of bed. This morning was no exception. The only difference this morning was that I allowed myself to chant "I hate this part, I HATE this part!" about twenty times OUT LOUD before getting out of bed. I scared the crap out of my cats, Tigger and Gateway! They just looked at me and ran out of the bedroom at about 90 mph. For some reason, it worked. I got out of bed, put the coffee on, fed Tigger and Gateway (not necessarily in that order), and turned on my computer and my cell phone. Sometime after I shut my phone off for the night, I had received a message from one of my coaches in response to something else and part of it said:
"...for what it's worth, you are earning a hell of a lot of respect this season. Well deserved, too, I might add. Keep up the good work."
I quote that text message not to pat myself on the back, but to illustrate the difference between how I see my training efforts vs. how others see them. That, and to show how, whenever I need an extra shot in the arm to keep going, one magically seems to appear at just the right time. How could I possibly not show up for this morning's tort... I mean trainining session after that???

The NYC Mass-Transit Gods were with me again this morning. Not that he reads this or anything, but I have to give a huge shout-out to the driver of the 7:20 AM Q65 bus on Saturday mornings. The man is always on time. He's like clockwork (and yes, I've thanked him for it!) Ditto for the MTA #7 train crews for keeping those running amazingly well on Saturday mornings. I can honestly say that mass-transit issues are not a regular part of my Saturday mornings. Everything runs like clockwork on Saturdays.

So, I made it to Central Park on time, and with a bit of trepidation, took off the fleece vest I had been wearing under my jacket and left it with the rest of my warm clothes at bag watch. Did I mention it was COLD outside??? At any rate, it all worked out amazingly well. I had basically decided that my goal this morning was to show up, and that anything else was a bonus. I had planned on walking this morning instead of run-walking, so I had two walking buddies, one of which was my fellow blog-buddy, Joanne. Having walking buddies really helped all of us keep our minds off of how cold it was and how much further we had to go. Surprisingly, it wasn't as cold as I thought it would be, and didn't get that cold until we were on the way back and got near Chelsea Piers. I also surprised myself by run-walking a good portion of it, although my "run" was more like a slow jog today. I started run-walking it when I started feeling my hamstrings getting a bit tight, and it really helped. I'm still not sure what my goal is going to be in terms of run-walking for the Walt Disney World Marathon. Am I going to try to run-walk the entire thing, or just use it as a tool when I need it to keep me going? I may not know until that morning, and that's okay. I'll pack my Gymboss either way.

The end result was that we did it. Two and a half hours and 8.75 miles later, we were DONE!!! Now, I just have to decide if I want to attempt a 10K race tomorrow morning in Central Park, or be a total slug. Stay tuned...