25 September 2011

Water + Ice + Naked = AWESOME!

Well, not entirely naked...
Long-sleeved t-shirt rolled up and tucked in... kept me just warm enough to sit up to my waist in a cold-water-and-ice-cube-filled bathtub for 20 minutes. When was this a style? Wasn't it eight grade?

On my long run two weeks ago, SarahLouWou and ReneighRuns and I were discussing ice baths. One of them had engaged in a 'conversation' with someone who said that ice baths were inconsequential and a waste... having no benefit to the ice bather. All three of us vehemently disagreed with this point of view. I checked and there are just too many results in an "ice reducing inflammation" google search for me to pick one, but most indicate that ice will help. And our personal experiences support that claim. I'm thinking that guy just wanted to stir the pot.

My ice bath today came after my 11.1-mile run. It was rainy. It was hilly. It got muddy. But...

I did it :)

I wanted needed a 'no pressure' run. I needed to not think about pace and just make the miles happen. No Garmin. No iPod. Just a watch, and I only brought the watch because I needed to be home by a certain time and was prepared to turn around early if I needed to. Of course, I am compulsive, so I did keep track of my times... but I was also relaxed enough to not stress about being not fast :)

I returned to the scene of my post-Apocalyptic preparation run... brutal hills. Rolling, 'gentle' hills on a dirt trail with a net gain and lots of tree roots for the first 0.78-mi followed by The Widowmaker ... 0.75-mi up up up. 

It was overcast and misty when I started. By the time I was a mile and a half in and at the paved road at the top of the hilly dirt trail, it was truly raining. I did the 4-out-and-4-back, taking my first-ever caffeinated* GU somewhere along the return. HOLY CRAP! That thing sent me flying! Whoa! My pace uncontrollably quickened by about a minute per mile. I was really excited as I neared the end of the paved road because the last 1.56 miles is all downhill! 

What I wasn't banking on was the mud :P

This was not your 'slogging through the mud' kind of mud... it was 'stick to the bottom of your shoes and collect in a gigantic lump the size and shape of half a football' kind of mud! Stability was a real issue. I spent a few minutes trying to scrape it off and then another few trying to shuffle it off... and even though I have only taken two soil science classes and didn't have my sample test kit with me, I would venture the guess that it had a very high clay content because it kept balling up and sticking like mad. Sure signs of clay.
This is after the run and after I have walked some of it off.
Very camouflaged ... looks just like the muddy, gravelly ground.

It was seriously about 3X thicker than this at some points in the run.

But I made it without falling... even though I was laughing so hard at how awkward the mud was that I could hardly see! I finally hit a weird groove about a half mile from the end and felt like I was really motoring... but who knows? 

What did I learn today?
  1. Mud and rain are absolutely not the enemy!
  2. No-goal, pressure-less runs are useful and can be fun!
  3. I really and truly LOVE ice baths!
  4. Caffeine in my system is freaky stuff...remind me not to take it when I need to talk to people!

Second-to-last long run before Long Beach Half...
done and logged :)

*I can't normally do caffeine. It turns me into a freak. Like Hammy in Over the Hedge. I guess a long run/race is an okay time to be like a coked-up squirrel.

How do YOU feel about immersing your body in cold water? 
I am only in it for the therapeutic effects... my husband and my daughter like swimming in it!

What has been your experience with caffeine?
It is seriously like speed for me. It is scary stuff :P

Remember to give some love to my friend Catey from Random Thoughts from the Zoo! She is the super gorgeous and amazingly nice mom of 8 kids :)

Not only will she be running her first marathon this coming weekend (St. George in Utah) but she needs your votes! She is a finalist in the Hapari swimwear contest and you can vote for her in her zebra swimsuit by going HERE and "liking" her picture. And she is looking to maintain a top 10 place in the Top 25 Big Family Blog Contest at Circle of Moms...vote for that one HERE


  1. I read all about the benefits of ice baths, but I haven't brought myself to it yet. I'm running more frequently than I thought I would in my own "off season," and I'm getting some nagging knee pain that's going to cause me trouble when IM training begins in earnest. I think I need to make friends with the ice...

    As for the caffeine, I have a glass of green tea every other morning or so. I don't handle it well -- any/all caffeine has to be consumed prior to 2 PM or I can't sleep that night.

    GOOD LUCK at Long Beach!

  2. good work on your run!

    i've never taken an ice bath. i started running just this year, and through my marathon training etc. I have had no access to a bath tub. Oh well.

    Caffeine has literally no tangible affect on me. I could drink four shots of espresso and go right to sleep. It sucks. I'm jealous of people who get a kick from it!

  3. Nice job on your run girl! And I swear by the ice baths! You're gonna get some interesting hits from this title. :)

  4. I used to take ice baths (or use my ice bucket) religiously! It's been a while, but I do think they help :)

    I ran 11 today too! We should coordinate next time, I would love to go play in the mud!

  5. Total believer in ice baths.

    Caffeine? I am way addicted. Need.to.stop. But never drink it before I run - it causes all kinds of issues. Almost immediately afterwards though...

  6. Ice baths definitely make me feel better after a longer or harder run. I'm also less sore the next day.

    As far as I understand, caffeine is legit. Here's where I read about it - http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/26/health/nutrition/26best.html

    Ugh, that mud looked NASTY! Good work making it through!

  7. I love ice baths as long as I have a cup of tea with me.
    After drinking hundreds of gallons of coffee, I still don't know why I drink it. Addiction is probably the answer because coffee does not seem to have much of an effect on my performance or sleep.

  8. Nice job on the run! Ice baths are awesome, but I haven't done one in a while.

    I'd never survive without caffeine. I can get the over the top feeling, though, if I drink too much of it. But I have to have at least one cup of coffee to be coherent in the morning.

  9. amazing run int hose conditions! I'm still deathly afraid of ice baths, you'll have to teach me your ways. I can barely handle caffeine. It makes me sooo jittery.

  10. That mud is insane. I don't mind running in mud, but I hate cleaning it up.

    I've taken 2 or 3 ice baths and never really felt any huge benefit. But, I'm not very good about making time for it. Perhaps if I was more consistent. Nah, it's just too cold.

  11. I've never actually tried the ice bath thing myself, but I'm a believer. I plan on trying a few next spring when I'm training for the HIM.

    Your run story had me laughing - all that mud just sounds like a fun, carefree run!

  12. Awesome run! Sounds like you had a lot of fun. As runners I think we need that every once in awhile! I was just thinking about ice baths this morning. I think I need to start! Have a great week!

  13. After the recent naked back bra post, I was a bit afraid to check this one. Love the 8th grade shirt style. I think I did it younger than that! I've never been brave enough to ice bath, but I don't log the crazy long miles either. I'll keep it in mind.

    I'm a caffeine addict. I'm working on drinking less, but I haven't really given it up. I totally laughed at the Hammie reference though. Perfect image! Almost time to taper...hang in there!

  14. I've recently been reading that ice baths don't do much, but, since I don't partake, I ahven't really researched it.

  15. Since I dont drink caffenine, when I take some, I am bouncing off the walls

    Ice baths, they suck, they hurt, but they are good for you, I have done some research on them, and a cold water bath has the same healing effect as a bath full of ice, this is the method I use

  16. During my big volume running and cycling weeks ice baths become invaluable for the recovery process. They suck when you first sit down but are so worth it when you finally stand up.

    I have been doing my long runs on Saturdays from my gym. They have an indoor lap pool and keep the water pretty cold. I usually jump in after the run (yes, I shower first) and do 500-1000m. I usually grab a kick board and splash the legs around for a few laps too. I cannot even begin to tell you how beneficial this is to my legs and allowing me to run more because of the increased recovery!

    I am addicted to caffeine so I use it all the time!

  17. Nice job on the muddy, Garmin-less run, girl....those runs are the best - sort of soothes the soul! My favorite runs are the ones I leave everything at home, even the cheapy watch, and just me and my iPod run for awhile. Hard to do when marathon training but on easy days I do try to do this more.

    I like ice baths when my legs are achy. I'm not sure they help in the long run but they definitely help immediately and if there's any inflammation, the ice certainly helps. And if it helps you mentally feel better, than that's the best therapy out there!!

    Caffeine. I don't drink coffee but I have been known to drink tea or a Diet Coke before a run and I think it gives me a little short-lived boost. I also try to pick gels with caffeine in them. Works for me :).

    I hope you have one fantastic week, girl!! :)

  18. Wow on the mud!

    I'm a wimp and don't like cold, so I don't think I could stand the ice!

    Caffeine tends to affect me a lot b/c I don't drink it often.

  19. I've read that about ice baths (not being effective) but I still swear by them. In my head or not, I will continue them after the big runs (if I ever get to do them again).

    Caffeine is hard on me too, sometimes. I only ever have one cup at a time and never after noon!

  20. I am training for my first marathon and have taken an ice bath after every long run...I swear they've saved my legs! Im a BIG believer in the ice bath!

  21. You are a running machine! I've been out of shape my whole life and had just started running when I bruised my knees. It's taken me forever to heal up, but I got back out there yesterday!

    And BOO to ice baths. Just the though makes my stomach turn.

  22. Holy begeebus, those are some muddy shoes. Great job on the run, and glad you mixed in a fun, means nothing run :) Those are always a good time.

  23. holy mud Batman! Glad you stood your ground on the ice bath issue. THey are the bomb. I swear by them for more rapid recovery.
    I used to be like that w/caffeine and literally could not speak on the phone once my brain was so addled from maybe 3 oz. Sadly I've acclimated and that no longer happens.

  24. First, that's a LOT of mud.
    Second, you never have caffeine? As in no coffee, no Coke?! How the heck do you survive! ;)
    I drink coffee first thing in the morning and ALWAYS before a race.

  25. I can't believe it, but I have yet to try an ice bath. I need to give it a shot -- the problem seems to be just making time for it. When I come home from a long run or big race my husband is pretty **ready** to hand over the kid reigns to me. I'm going to make time for it after my upcoming marathon - I have just heard so many good things about them!


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