Saturday, March 12, 2011

Ice Bath aka Torture

I've heard all of the benefits of the ice bath, but I tried it once and jumped out after about 15 seconds.  Holy crap, people willing do this?  I'm sure it would be an effective form of torture for our military. 

However, after hurting for nearly a week after the New Orleans half, I decided I would have to give it another try.  I'm proud to say I made it 15 minutes today!  Of course, I'd have gladly spent that 15 minutes running more, but I don't think it would have had the same effect. 

Here is my ice bath survival guide:

- A positive attitude - this is for your own good (definitely didn't have this on my first attempt)

- Warm clothes (t-shirt and my hoodie on top of it)

- Hot hands warming patch - ok this was probably overkill, but the first attempt was a disaster so this actually did a lot to keep my core warm

- Steaming hot drink - I chose pear tea...YUM

- Ipad and facebook (facebook could easily be substituted for Angry Birds)

I got in the tub with lukewarm water and gradually increased the water to all cold and started adding ice.  There is NO way I could get straight into an icy tub.  I stayed in for 15 minutes.  I've heard if you don't stay in a minimum of 10 minutes it's not doing you any good.  Since my first 2 minutes weren't really cold, I decided to stay 15 minutes. 

Now an hour later my hips, legs and feet are still cold despite being under a blanket for an hour.  I'm taking this as a good sign.  Hopefully, sore muscles are not in my future!

Tom King 2011

Tom King last year was my first ever half marathon.  I remember being so nervous and afraid of not being able to finish.  This year's race was my 8th half marathon.  I finished 5 minutes faster this year.

My goal in the race was just to finish faster than last year.  After setting a personal record in New Orleans less than a month ago, I knew it would be hard to do it again so soon, so I decided just to enjoy the run and beat last year's time. 

I feel like I've come so far since last year.  Last year I struggled, and by mile 10 I was sure I was never running again. This year I was calm and confident. I will probably never say running a half is easy...but it is definitely enjoyable.  I know I smiled ear to ear this race.  Why?  Because I can run.  Because I know I can finish. Because it encourages others.  Because even with the pain it's worth it.

So many of my friends ran this race and it was so good to see them before and during the race.  Two of my friends were even crazy enough to run the half and the 5k that was before it.  Pretty sure if the 5k was after the race no one would be running it.  

Mark at the finish! He had a hard run, but
I'm so proud of him for finishing strong!
The best water stop of the day was, of course the Fleet Feet/East Nasty stop at miles 1 and 12.  It is always so good to see smiling faces of people you know and hear them cheering for you!  

I think Tom King will be the one race I do every year...and hopefully, every year will be faster than the year before! 

Sunday, March 6, 2011


An alternate title for this blog post was going to be "How I Fell Off the 28 Day Challenge Wagon."  It's disappointing news I know.  And it KILLS me to tell you that I didn't make the 28 day challenge.  I did every day up to the Mardi Gras Half.  I even got in more than a mile walk the next day. 

So what stopped me from doing it the next day?  I was sore.  And not just a little sore. I've been sore lots of times, but never like this before.  I've been trying to figure out why since the race.  In addition to being sore, I was exhausted! 

This was the first race I've ever run that I feel like I treated it as a race.  Every other time, I feel like I've treated it as a training run with a medal at the end.  Not that there's anything wrong with that, I just wasn't prepared for the toll it would take on my body.  Usually during a race, I do exactly what I do during training runs. 

Not this time. I ran the half a minute faster a mile than I run my training runs.  I also ran a lot more than my intervals.  Frequently I skipped the walk interval or at least cut it short.  I think the additional running and speed (I have to laugh a little when I say speed, because I'm by no means fast!) made me really sore and tired.  Now I understand why you need rest days after a race.  The general rule is one day per mile.  I took about 10 rest days. 

Other contributing factors to my overly soreness:
- rough terrain - the last 2ish miles had lots of gravel on the road, essentially making it a run and a core workout
- lack of hydration - I was plenty hydrated before and during the race, my mistake was not hydrating properly after the race
- walking lots for 3 days before the race - I have no idea how much we walked but I would guess it was at least an equal distance to the race

After being so sore, I'm slightly worried about the back to back races I have planned (and already registered for) on April 30th and May 1st.  Hopefully, I've learned from my last race.  I won't be trying to set a PR at either race, so I'll have to tell myself to take it easy.  I'm also planning to try the feared ice bath and hope it helps. 

My next race is Tom King this Saturday.  I'm hoping I can stick to my plan and not be sore the next day.  I really need it to build my confidence for my back to back races.

I'm so proud of everyone who started the 28 day challenge and everyone who stuck with it and completed it, especially my little sister!