There are pros and cons about running long distances. But sometimes the cons come before the pros.
After the 15-miler with Jill on Saturday, I got back in Mr. T’s black Malibu and started the 8-minute drive home. I had to stop first to get gas because I coasted to the trail on fumes that morning. I was determined not to be late to meet Jill since she had a much longer drive than me and that would not be very nice if the person who lived way closer showed up super late.
Anyway, I had plenty of gas to get to a gas station afterward, but I still wasn’t sure if I was going to make it. My legs were aching like never before.
It wasn’t just a soreness, they were tightening and I was worried they would freeze up and then I would have stick-straight legs like Kramer in that Seinfeld episode where he puts on those really tight jeans that make him teeter when he walks, like Frankenstein.
I cursed the red lights. Aw, c’mon! I cursed sub-speed-limit drivers. Aw, c’mon! I cursed my shoelaces when I couldn’t get them untied at one of the stop lights. Aw, c’mon!
I started pounding on my thighs with my fists at the lights, and was relieved when I got out at the Chevron station and my legs worked. I also remembered I had some Ibuprofin in my running bag. I took a couple hoping they kicked in sooner than later.
After filling up, I drove the mile home knowing full-well what I was going to have to do.
First, I stretched long and slow on the living room floor. I should’ve stretched more right after the run, but I’m always trying to minimize the amount of time I am away from Mr. T and T Junior, so sometimes I don’t stretch enough right after. T Junior “stetched” with me. The Ibuprofin kicked in, too, and I was already feeling better.
But I had one more trick up my sleeve. Well, maybe it’s more like a remedy, not a trick. This would be the first time I tried it, although I’ve seen other running bloggers, like Chic Runner, do it. (Here’s her brave post.)
An icy bath. Like a polar bear.
Okay, not with ice because I didn’t have any, but I filled the soaker tub up with cold water (and a little bubble bath because, hey, I’m a girl and even cold baths are better with bubbles). I put my bathing suit on — the tankini I’ve had since my Honeymoon (ahem, 8 years ago), which fits (booyah!). T Junior stood by. I felt the water. “That’s cooooold,” I told him.
Then I just stepped in like it was normal. I shivered and crossed my arms over my chest. Then eased into a sit. Oh yeah, that was cold. I thought about another blog post (sorry I don’t recall who) in which the author said she sips hot tea in her ice bath. Next time.
The cold felt good and bad. I had to turn on the faucet again because there wasn’t quite enough water to cover my thighs.
T Junior’s never seen me in the bath before. I think he enjoyed this turn of events. “A Mama a baff.”
The cold was most painful for my toes. They burned and I was worried I would get frostbite in them. I kept scooting my tootsies above the surface to make sure they weren’t hard, white and waxy. I don’t know if you can get frostbite from cold tap water, but I didn’t really want to find out.
I lasted probably 5 minutes. But it was enough.
I got out. No more pain! Ahhhhhh. I turned on the warm shower, then got in to wash away 15-miles of sweat and stink.
But the benefits of the bath lasted and my legs felt awesome. I could walk down stairs like a normal person! My calves weren’t tight. It’s the best I’ve felt after my half marathons or any other long runs. And because we did the Galloway walk/run theory I didn’t feel totally wiped out. I had enough energy left to do family activities, which usually means a trip to Costco, except we didn’t go there this time.
No, I felt like having a date night. I found a last-minute sitter and went to Seattle with Mr. T, although we couldn’t decide/agree what to do and mostly ended up driving around, then landed at Claim Jumper for dinner of all places. I didn’t feel too guilty, though, putting away a beer, a hefty slice of meatloaf and half of my thick, lumpy mashed potatoes.
After all, I burned 2,000 calories that morning.