Today was my long run for the week. 18 miles. My longest run since the Grand Rapids Marathon in October. I was not looking forward to it as it was. And then good old Mother Nature had to drop by and dump a boatload of snow on us the past two days and lower the temperatures into the teens.
I got up early to shovel the driveway before Jennie left for work, so I was all geared up to get the run done early and out of the way. Unfortunately, I got caught up with work stuff and didn’t get to leave until after 10:00.
The first few miles of the run were very slow going. The plows had been down most of the roads, but they were still covered with a slushy, snowy mixture that is like running in sand. I did a lap around Reeds Lake, which was occasionally clear, but more snow than pavement. 6 miles in, I got to Calvin College’s campus. The sidewalks and paths through campus were in great condition compared to the roads. I ended up basically doing laps around the campus for 6 miles to take advantage of the sidewalks. I was even able to duck into the gym and refill my water bottle at one point.
After doing about 6 miles on the campus, I headed back home via the same 6 miles I started with. It was amazing how much the roads had improved in the hour I spent at Calvin. They still weren’t perfect, but it was much easier going than when I started. I ended up finishing in 2:36:28 for a pace of 8:42. I was actually surprised to be under a 9 minute pace considering the road conditions, so I’ll take it.
Not leaving until 10:00 led to an all too familiar problem. I got halfway into my run and I was starving. I ate breakfast when I got up, but by 11:00, my body was ready for lunch. So, as I ran, all I could think about was food. That didn’t help; it just made me hungrier. I really need to work on better nutrition and eating habits before my long runs.
When I got home, despite being hungry, my first priority was to take an ice bath for my legs and to shower. During my run, I had a great idea for my ice bath. Why pay for ice when Mother Nature had provided a yard full of snow? And thus, the Midwest-Style Ice Bath was invented (patent pending). Armed with a plastic container, I filled it up with snow and readied the tub with water.
Previously, for my ice baths, I would add the ice to the water before getting in. However, taking a cue from Chic Runner, I got into the tub first and then added the snow. This helped minimize the shock of getting into a freezing tub. I started by just taking handfuls of snow and adding it to the tub, but that was slow going and freezing my fingers. So I dumped the entire container in at once. YIKES! It was instantly freezing. Colder than ice. I basically had a mound of snow on my legs. I suffered through it though and it was definitely worth it. I am pretty much pain free now.
I was sort of worried that the snow would melt too fast and wouldn’t be as effective as ice. I was wrong. Here is a picture of the snow that was still left in the tub AFTER I sat in it for 10 minutes.
There was even snow left in the tub after I took a hot shower while the water drained. Next time, I don’t think I need as much snow. Lesson learned.
So, there you have it, a Midwest-Style Ice Bath; something that all you warm weather dwellers are missing out on. Or not.
Next week is another light week; only 20 miles total. After 41 last week and 43 this week, I am very much looking forward to it. Hopefully the lighter running schedule will give me more time on the trainer, which has been lacking.