Sunday, July 31, 2005

Magic Ice

First the disclaimer:
1) I do NOT have a license to practice medicine, dentistry, nursing, chiropractry, podiatry, osteopathy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, or hairdressing, so you can’t sue me for bad professional advice nor for bad hair advice.
2) I used to have one of those licenses, (did not renew it when I changed professions) so I have tried to apply accepted theories to the following advice:

Thank you to runners everywhere, for all the great things I have learned. Allow me to pass on my favorites.

ICE - Until you try it, you will never believe the curing power (or the intense pain) of ice. It is more effective than anti-inflammatory drugs for sports injuries. You know that professional sports teams have ice baths in the locker room, right?

  • Do not place ice or plastic directly on skin. I mean it.
  • Ice for ~20 minutes. Do this three times a day, even if injured area does not hurt, and go easy on running (don’t quit, just go easy) You will feel improved within one week. I have passed out with ice packs on and woken up 40 minutes later, so you can leave bags on longer than 20 minutes. Twenty minutes is the "officially recommended" time. Twenty minutes is also about as long as you can stand it, if you are conscious.
  • Tea towel or other non-terry towels are good for holding ice bags. I found pillowcases to be very practical.
  • BEST, CHEAPEST ICE PACK – 3 cups water, 1 cup rubbing alcohol (less than one dollar for a bottle). Use food coloring, if you want, to immediately know when bag leaks. Put liquid in a gallon ziplock bag, squeeze out the air, and freeze. Use. Refreeze. Use. Refreeze. Use. Refreeze. Colder than plain ice when frozen; stays frozen longer; pliable and conforming to shape of your body part; re-usable; cheap; able to leap buildings in a single bound. The ice-alcohol mix can be used when frozen only until slushy for very pliable pack, or used when frozen hard for stiff but not rock-like pack.
  • Put ice-alcohol solution in Snack-size ziplocks and freeze. Keep in cooler at race/run sites to which you drove a car, and put the frozen mini’s in the bottom of your shoe while you drive home after the race/run.
  • Bath. Yes, it is agony to get into a tub of really cold water, so don’t add the ice before you get in. After long runs (over 14 miles) get in tub of cold water. Keep knees submerged, and move as little as possible. Best not to move, because you torment yourself all over again. When you can breath again, THEN have someone dump the ice in for you. A bucket or two is fine. Sit in ice bath 20 to 30 minutes. Tomorrow your legs will feel like you’ve taken two weeks off running.
  • Other ICE. Get over the cutesy idea of “Boo-boo Peas.” You are a runner, not a three year old, and you can’t eat that many thawed peas, anyway. Frozen paper Dixie cups of water are often recommended for plantar fascia problems. Rub on bottom of foot as you peel away the paper. I tried this famous and common runner’s trick once. Too messy and inconvenient for me. Also try gel packs for your various injuries, but gel packs are too expensive for me.

Friday, July 22, 2005

First Marathon

My first marathon? Thank you for that question. (Well known stalling technique while thinking of answer.)

My first, and only, marathon was the 2004 Marine Corps. The course is beautiful, really, except for one section. I have a map of the course framed on my wall, and sometimes I look at it in amazement that I ran the whole way. Separate sections of the course I remember, in a dream-like way, without remembering the pain or effort.

Another thing I learned from running my first marathon (if this counts, since I learned it when I started training, really) is that I must have a compatible running companion. When I ran my first marathon, my friend, Ying, ran with me the whole way. I could not have finished if he had run off ahead of me.

Last night my friend, Buzz, told me she'd use her Marine Corps entry this year to walk the last five miles with me this October 30. That is a great motivator to continue my training, since I have to be worthy of her sacrifice. So to be worthy, I will continue to take my chondroitin and glucosamine (hey, can't hurt, right?) and ice my knees, and do my maintenance runs, and get up early to go do the Saturday long runs.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


Hard to believe I will run 16 miles this Saturday, because it seems too far. Also, I don't feel like doing it, but I guess I'll just go to the training site, mill around, then go out with the group and hang out with them until 16 miles have gone by.

How does that saying go about "just showing up" being half the battle, or some such?

My running buddy, Streak, is a blogger here somewhere about her running. We don't know each other REALLY well, but seem to pull each other through the long runs with ease. It certainly reinforces the truism that women are co-operative by nature. (The corollary being that men are competitive.)

The wobbly goal of bettering my last year's marathon time continues to motivate me to show up for the training runs, but the motivation is wearing thin. . . .

Mantras are good. I heard a new one recently about "Afterward" which means to envision yourself post-accomplishment. I have forgotten the good ones I used last year.
Does anyone want to share a mantra?