Last night (actually at like midnight because time got away from me yesterday) I did 16 miles on the bike and pushed myself fairly hard. But despite wanting to keep going, my bad knee said "nope, you're done." So I struggled through my sixteenth mile, collapsed on the couch for a while, and contemplated bringing ice to bed with me. Until I stood up. Once I stood up I realized how stiff and sore both of my legs were, and realized that there was really only one choice: ice bath.
I've been putting off ice baths for a while. In all of my running training and tri training, I've read a lot about ice baths. Marathoners do them regularly, and other athletes find them beneficial. But sitting in a tub of cold water for 20 minutes? There's really nothing that sounds less appealing to me. It always makes me think about the scene in The Secret Garden when the kid has been using his atrophied muscles too much and they force him into an ice bath. Get that? I equate it with torture. I'm the type of person who takes long hot leisurely showers because I CAN and would rather skip showers than take a remotely chilly one. So for me to take a bath that LITERALLY has ice in it? You've got to be freaking kidding me.
But I did it. I sat in that tub for twenty minutes. The first three minutes were the worst. I was shaking so bad that my back was starting to hurt and I realized that I need to just chill out (hahah, punny. ...Sorry.) and let the ice do its magic. So I relaxed. And yes, the ice bath sucked. I'm never going to tell you that it's FUN to sit in a tub of ice. However, I vibrated my way into a hot shower after that (since I was still in need of washing my workout off) and even though the difference in water temperature made it feel like my skin was melting off, I realized that I already felt a big improvement. I assumed it was just because I was numb, finished my shower, and got in bed.
And then I woke up this morning. I could MOVE. My legs didn't hurt at all and my bad knee, while feeling a little stiff, felt FINE.
So that's that. I'm officially a believer. I'm officially going to be one of those crazy idiots who willingly takes baths in ice. I get it now, and I'm in. And I officially feel like an athlete... and a whackjob.