Monday, August 13, 2007

Frozen and Tough

Since the middle of last week I've been mopey. My mileage went up and so did the heat and humidity. I went from feeling all zippy-legged and great back to heavy-legged and sluggish. Even on a day when my legs felt strong, my brain was heavy and sluggish.

On Friday I had to go to the park for my long tempo run. My heel was a little sore after the xc race, so I wore my heavy trainers for extra cushioning instead of the zippy light weight jobs I usually wear for faster runs. Even on my warm-up, I was having trouble getting up to my slow pace--instead of the rock-bottom pace of 8:40 that's supposed to be my slow pace, I was having trouble cracking 9:00 pace. Of course this did not bode well for el tempo. Whatever. After my 4 mile warm-up I picked it up and got cracking. I felt clompy and heavy and slow even though I was working hard (partly the shoes, partly my wussitude). I was supposed to run 7:01 pace, but I only managed 7:05 for the first mile, which is exceptionally lame considering the 1st and 5th miles are the easiest miles of my route. I picked it up a little bit after this but only manages 7:05, 7:06, 7:06 through the fourth mile. I was annoyed so I switched from the road to the bike path to change it up and ran a slightly better 7:02 for mile 5. I took out my frustration with the slowness on the last mile and clomped out a 6:48. I did my 8 strides and finished out my cool down feeling pretty lame.

I went home and picked up mrp and we headed out for burritos. We talked about it some and he made me feel better. I'm training for a marathon. It's supposed to be hard! Training is about adapting our bodies. If we don't push them, what are they going to adapt to? With no pushing they will just stay the same and we will plateau in our performance. Plus, mrp always says that pushing through bad workouts do the most good. That always helps me deal with the bad ones too.

On our way home we stopped at the gas station to get ice bags. It's time for Salty to start her weekly ice bath ritual (yes, I just referred to my alter ego in the third person--again!). I wasn't sure what to expect. "It will probably feel refreshing," I thought. I decided to buy two big bags of ice. That should be enough. So we hauled the 44 pounds of ice (!) home and filled up the tub. Mrp was pretty amused at the idea that I was going to sit in a tub filled with freezing water and 44 pounds of ice for 15 minutes. Actually, I think he was a little worried about me doing that by myself!

Anyway, I put my foot in. "Ow!" I howled. "It's SO COLD!" Mrp laughed. He called me a wuss. Them's fightin' words to me. I was hell-bent on doing it now!! So, as hard as it was I climbed in, the whole time shaking with cold and wincing in pain. I finally sat down. I started my stop watch. I asked mrp to hand me some catalogs to look at to take my mind off the pain. I tried flipping through them but it wasn't enough to keep my attention off my agony. My toes hurt so bad! I asked mrp if I could get frost bite. He assured me I couldn't because the water was warmer than freezing (you know, since it was water and not ice). To ease my suffering, Mrp and I started to sing songs. That helped. We yowled some cheesy Phil Collins song and Under the Boardwalk which was playing on the radio when we pulled in the driveway (well, I chattered and yowled, mrp just yowled).

Finally! 15 minutes. See ya suckers! I jumped out of the tub. Well kind of unkinked myself from the huge frozen knot I was in and stiffly got out of the tub yowling some more. Mrp was laughing. I wasn't. It hurt worse to get up at this point!!! I dried myself off and dressed myself in warm pajamas and my winter bath robe. I started to shake and shake to get warm. I ended up shaking for about 1/2 an hour!!! Mrp insisted I was being wussy for whining. So, I insisted that HE also take an ice bath. So in solidarity he agreed. Of course, by now, my body had melted most of the 44 pounds of ice, but it was still damn cold!! So he put his foot in and "OW!" he yelled. Heh!! He had a harder time getting in there than I did!!! He whined and winced and tried to get out of it, but finally settled down for his 18 minutes (because he had to redeem his tough street cred after the whining--heee!)*

Besides learning that 44 pounds of ice is probably a little much (I did another bath yesterday after my long run with 21 pounds and it was just as effective and much less painful, though still mildly uncomfortable), I learned I am tough. I might think something is impossible--like running the right pace one day when I'm tired, but if I insist on not being a wuss I can toughen up and get it done. And to be a good marathoner that's exactly what I need to do.

*In case your wondering, the ice bath does wonderful things for recovery. My legs are feeling great since and mrp said his run after the ice bath was the best run he's had in a long time.


GP said...

Thanks for explaining the ice bath benefits — I'm the world's biggest wuss when it comes to getting into cold, moderately cold, lukewarm or on-the-cusp-of-being-somewhat-warm water. So, my first thought was "WHY ON EARTH...?" But I get it now! I don't know how I ever survived as a swimmer. Brrr.

But I'm glad that you made it and that you have someone to support you and, you know, make sure you don't freeze!

Thank you, also, for all of your praise, support and enthusiasm for my big tri! It was an awesome experience... and I think it could only have been better if I had my pink Huffy in the race (it couldn't have hurt)! Maybe before the next one, I'll figure out how to ride a bike. But at least I know I can do the other two legs of the race! Well, one and a half...

Jim said...

Brrrrr. Although given all the heat we're seeing of late, an ice bath does sound appealing. I'm curious, Salty, of the specifics of how an ice bath benefits you after a workout. Can you enlighten me? It seems counterintuitive to me - doesn't cold constrict blood vessels? Or does the cold water make the body pump more blood to the extremeties to warm them up? I'm such a nerd when it comes to wanting to know the physiology of stuff.

Tall Girl Running said...

I'm a big fan of ice baths myself. I don't do a run over 6 miles without taking a cold dip afterward. I don't use nearly as much ice, though... I just dump in whatever's in my icemaker box (thought I usually try to prepare and have it as full as possible).

Is more ice really more effective, you think?

E-Speed said...

this post guilted me into an ice bath last night.

In college I was in the ice water whirlpool almost every day. I was over trained and my legs always felt like lead so the ice bath was my saving grace. It was nice there though they had neoprene booties to put on your feet so your toes weren't quite so cold!

My method at home now has been to sit in the empty tub and let cold water fill up to my thighs then dump in the ice and start the watch. I have too hard of a time taking a dunk straight into the ice!

Robert said...

I'm a believer... I ran 9 miles without an ice bath and hurt for four days, I then ran 18 miles and ice bathed and was pretty much fully recovered 48 hours later. I'm going to invent a neoprene cover for more than my feet though. :-P

DaisyDuc said...

You are tough girl! I did the ice bucket thing for a rolled ankle and it about killed me and it was just my foot in there!