Oct 3 2006

The Magic of an Ice Bath

All serious runners know that ice has special properties and is a critical part of one’s recovery regimen (e.g. “Sore muscle?  Ice it.”)  However, I only recently discovered the magic of an ice bath.

Last month, immediately after running the Albuquerque Marathon, I went back to my hotel room (the bridal suite at the Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town – we asked for the “best room”) and immersed myself in a 10 minute ice bath.  Amy, Raj, and Stef  (my traveling marathon fan club – at least for this race) were in the other room watching the US Open (tennis, not golf) and were subjected to an outburst of “holy fucking shit” and 60 seconds of maniacal laughter as I got used to the temperature.  The last 9 minutes were fine, although I was disoriented and bemused when I got out of the tub.  I felt great the next day, although I forced myself to take a week off from running (every time I thought about running, Amy said “Brad – rest” using her best golden retriever command voice.)

On Saturday, I was in Bells, Texas at my parents farm for the weekend.  If you know me and my love of land, you’ll be able to trace it back to my parents farm, which they bought when I was in college.  There’s nothing like 100 acres that is yours to wander around on.

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My dad got up at 6am, drove me 15 miles away from their house, and dropped me on the side of the road.  He drove back; I ran back.  I had a kick-ass run (a mile / minute faster than normal due to the lower altitude, plus I felt great.)  When I finished, I went upstairs, filled the bathtub with cold water, and dumped two huge bags of ice that my mom had bought at the gas station into the tub.  My outburst was even more colorful this time (“you’ve got to be fucking kidding me”) followed by peels of laughter as my body got used to the cold.  Again – I settled down – and this time hung out for 15 minutes in the tub reading 24: Trojan Horse.

Four hours later, I felt great and was ready to go for another run.  I managed to hold off until the following morning when I did a very comfortable hour run (at least for my legs), although I slept too late and ended up in 90+ degree heat.

I’m two for two with the ice bath, and am now a complete believer.