I’m not one who usually chooses to be alone. If given the choice, I’ll always be with people than be alone, even if maybe I need to be (social perhaps to a downfall?). But these days, when I am alone, I’m learning to embrace it and enjoy the moments I’m given to do things solo. Like, for example, this past weekend. Mikey was away shredin’ the dread with a group of fantastic guys, skiing for a few days in Revelstoke. I knew he was having a blast when I saw his tweet that read, “20cm overnight, clear to the top of the mountain and every highway into Revelstoke is closed… there is a God.” 😉 Knowing he’d be away with the guys, I had already formulated a plan for my perfect free afternoon post-work on Friday and for my solo time Saturday. Friday’s plans included a LONG run, unhindered by feeling like I should clean the house or time constraints or cooking dinner, but simply being free to run, and Saturday’s included trying Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred which had been on my brain to try lately plus hang out times with a friend later. Both days were perfect! The alone time lead to two milestones: my furthest distance run and a new post-long run ritual: the ice bath. Here’s how it went down – and keep reading through the end – there’s a video in the middle there! 😀
I had been wanting to tackle a really long distance for a while now, but with the snow and ice and cold temps, I haven’t been as motivated to make it happen. But knowing I had time Friday to myself and didn’t have many clients planned gave me the perfect time slot to make it happen. The longest distance I’d run up to Friday in one shot was 13.1 miles, a half marathon, and while my brain likes even numbers and wanted to take me to 20 miles, I decided that would be too much of a jump from 13 miles. Scoping out my route on Map My Run, I decided to do an out-and-back 13.5 miler and finish it off with a 2.5 mile loop bring me to a grand total of 17 miles! I had great podcasts playing in my ears and the day, though not over sunny or warm, was mild and fresh, keeping me on my toes and moving almost the entire time.
It wasn’t easy, but it was enjoyable at the same time. To run without regard for time (I set my stopwatch and let it run, except when I snuck off and went to the bathroom in the trees and when I stopped by my front door after 13 miles, ready to start the next leg, and grabbed a sip of water and a bit of a granola bar!) and without anywhere to be was so liberating! I can see why it’s so tough to train for a marathon – the time it takes to get those long runs in just must take over your life. And yet the longer I run, the more I want to run one, although just recently. [It’s too bad all this running isn’t going into an actual race!] Before I knew it, I was done. And this is how I felt:
Everyone’s definition of “long” is different, and every run that someone finishes is something to be celebrated, whether one lap around a track without stopping, one five mile trot, or a 50 mile race. This is just right where my body was at this day, and it felt so good to challenge myself with the idea of this run, to prepare mentally for it happening on Friday, and then to head out, simply for the challenge of the experience and for the joy of the run.
But then I decided to do something else that I’d never done before…take an ICE BATH! Brrr…
I know that many runners take ice baths as part of their recovery after long runs, but for some reason I never thought I ran far enough to warrant such an extreme ritual. Indeed, as Nikki Kimball, a physical therapist and USATF’s Ultrarunner of the Year in 2004, ’06, and ’07 writes, ” cold-water immersion generally produces a greater and longer lasting change in deep tissues and is more a more efficient means of cooling large groups of muscles simultaneously. The discomfort associated with sitting in a tub full of ice water scares off some athletes.” Well, even though I was scared, I decided to go for it – after all, I was home alone and now was as good a time as any to try it out! So I gathered the necessities:
I stayed in for about 16 or 17 minutes (most articles I read suggested 10 – 20 minutes in the tub) and realized that next time, I need a.) to make it colder, and b.) more ice! I was unprepared, but it was my first ice bath and I was just proud I did it. 😉 I did what you’re NOT supposed to do too soon – took a nice, hot shower! – a while later but now I know for next time and will be prepared – not just with the ice but mentally to get through it without warming up later. 😉 But Saturday I felt great and did an easy 20 minute workout to shake things out. Today I feel good too, and am tempted to run out in the sun but am resting today, gearing up for another run tomorrow!
So there you have it: two milestones for this runner! A 17 miler and an ice bath. If you’re curious to know more about the benefits of ice baths, check out this article by Nikki Kimball, quoted above. I’m curious to know:
1.) Have you ever taken an ice bath?!? What was your experience like?
2.) Do you like being alone? And when you are flying solo, how do you choose to spend your time? I had a great lunch and movie date with a friend Saturday, which was a blast, and Mikey arrived late Saturday night but in one piece. After a good breakfast out with family visiting in town and church, we’re laying low and I’m trying not to be pulled out to run under those sun beams. Tomorrow is another day! And speaking of which, Happy Valentine’s Day!
3.) Do you guys “celebrate” this holiday and do anything special? Have any plans? I don’t think we ever have, it’s just not been a focus for us. But we’ll definitely be heav(ier) on the “I love you’s” tomorrow – why not?! 😀
Live well and be well!