If You Can Do It, So Can I

I don’t like the cold – never really have and likely never will. But this year, I have learned to accept it, not embrace it by any means, but simply take what Mother Nature dishes out.

In January, I plunged into the cold 0C water of Lake Ontario for the Polar Bear Dip. I have done several long runs in snowstorms, windstorms and, if I’m really “lucky”, a combination of the two. Recess has become my favorite time of the day because I can escape from the warm school walls to the chilly outdoors for my run and return feeling awake, ready to take on the rest of the day.

However, there is cold and there is cold. Every time I heard my running buddies talk about their ice baths, I shivered. Dipping into ice cold water and sitting in it – for approximately 10 minutes – just doesn’t appeal to me. I tried it in the summer and lasted two, perhaps 3, minutes and I vowed never again.

Last weekend, when driving back from Hamilton, the boys talked about having yet another ice bath at night to help recover from their 34K run (I ran 27K). I listened and said nothing, but I banked the idea for later.

Later came the next day. I did my recovery run in the afternoon, cycled that night and decided that I should probably try it again. Bathtime suddenly became an adventure.

Little Ironman was bathed, his hair was washed and the tub was drained. Then, he ran to put on his swimsuit. Already in mine, I pulled a bucket of ice from the freezer, filled the tub a few inches deep (I don’t like cold, remember) with cold, cold bubbly water – bubbles to make us think it was going to be rather comfortable. I got in and LI followed. We shrieked, giggled and emptied the ice bucket only to laugh some more.

Little Ironman is a tough little dude. When I asked if he wanted to get out, he replied, “No, I just want to eat an ice cube.” And he did – several soapy ice cubes. I’m surprised there aren’t bubbles coming out of his mouth in this picture.

Ten minutes later – and, believe me, I was watching the clock – I emptied the tub and pulled on some warm clothes. Little Ironman? He wanted to fill up the tub again, but with warm water. Apparently, he didn’t have enough playtime in the bath.

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9 comments

  1. Ice baths are great but I'm a cold water wimp, so I use a couple tricks:

    1. I sit in the tub while it is filling with cold water. Once the water is over my legs I put the ice in and start the clock (I stay in for 15 minutes). This helps my body adjust gradually to the cold, rather than the sudden shock of hopping in a tub full of ice water.

    2. I wear running shorts, a long sleeve top and a winter hat. It helps.

    3. Warm shower after.

    Welcome to the wonderful world of ice baths!

    Like

  2. I also have been attempting ice baths over the past couple weeks. One trick I learned was to keep my toes out of the water. They freeze too quick and make you want to jump out. Hope it paid off for you.

    Like

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