Tag Archives: wine

The Curious Case of Non-Stiffness

When the rain comes (3)

Originally uploaded by VeNiVi

My long slow run yesterday was 19 kilometres in 2 hours and 10 minutes. It rained the entire time, by the first five km I was thoroughly soaked. At the 1:40 mark, in the middle of our second 30-minute tempo pick-up, my left hip and calf started to twinge with tightness.

Afterwards I had a bath, ate, went out to get groceries, ate again, and slept for an hour and a half, then cleaned my place and hosted friends for dinner. I finally got the kitchen clean and went to bed at 1 am. In all that time – no hobbling with stiffness. No sore feet. No blisters.

I woke up this morning – a little dehydrated from the wine, but feeling great otherwise. No lactic-acid-drenched legs, feet perfectly fine.

What?? After last week’s run of just over an hour I stiffened up by dinnertime! I must replicate this non-stiffness in the future. What did I do right?

I think I did four things to help my recovery – long hot soak, lots of hot tea, restorative nap and light activity.

When I got home I threw off the soaked clothes and ran a hot bath. My skin was red where my soaked running clothes had touched. The hot water actually felt cold until I started to warm up. My daughter boiled a kettle of water and slowly added it until it was the temperature of a hot tub. Ahhhh. It was hard to get out of there.

Rehydrating is essential – I drank two big mugs of tea.

After I shopped for the evening’s meal, I crawled back into bed and was blissfully napping until it was time to get up, clean up and start prepping for my dinner – halibut fillets in an orange teriyaki sauce, new steamed potatoes, asparagus, salad, olives, whole-grain baguette. My dear friends brought pie – PIE! for dessert. Yum…

I made sure to drink a big glass of water as I was washing up after they left. I think the fact I didn’t just lay on the couch and watch movies and eat cereal had a lot to do with it – I kept moving — cooking and eating well and laughing with my friends.

It was absolutely lovely to wake up feeling great with supple, not wooden, legs. I felt like a kid I was so happy! Get ready for more dinner parties thrown by yours truly.


Marathoner's Torture Series #3 – 3 lame – and 4 great – sacrifices of a marathon runner

Marathon training is consistent, disciplined and only for the truly motivated, or bat s**t crazy. I haven’t decided which camp I’m in. Here are some lame and not-so-lame things marathon runners give up in their quest for the finisher’s medal:

A social life. Who can stay up past ten when they do five or more hard workouts a week lasting an hour or more each? Parents of small children beg off parties at midnight, laughing about how they magically turn back into moms and dads at the stroke of 12. Marathoners start yawning at 9 pm. “I just hate to go, but I’ve got a 15 K with two 5 K -pace pick-ups tomorrow morning,” while their orphaned friends say “huh” and pour another drink. Speaking of drink –

Fine wine and spirits. They’re dehydrating. More than one and you’re headachy and your run the next day sucks (if you’re a lightweight like me that is). They contain too much sugar and your body needs good calories. Stay away if you know what’s “good” for you dammit! Speaking of which —

Feeling full. Crikey! Are all marathoners hungry all the time? I once worked with an economist who was an ultra-triathlete. That means he did two or three Ironman-distance triathlons – back-to-back, all at once. Now that’s definitely in the category of bats**t crazy. If anyone brought any food – be it donuts, cookies, rice cakes, carob-coated seaweed clusters, thawed out frozen hamburger patties that had been sitting in the freezer too long and microwaved to soggy goodness, I mean anything – he’d literally leap over his desk and be first in line. I’m not that bad. I bring 3 healthy mini-meals to work every day, otherwise every two hours I’d be heading to Timmy’s across the street for a crueler. Which leads me to —

Excess weight. This only works if you watch your nutrition. There are many marathon runners of all shapes and sizes. I lost that extra ten pounds I’ve put on in the last three years by dedicating myself to bootcamp-style workouts with Megan for twelve weeks and sticking to good eating habits – that was mostly before I started training for the marathon.

New friends! People are still flocking to sign up for training clinics at shoe stores everywhere. There is a huge community of runners out there who train together, socialize together and travel together to various races across the world. I did a Google search for “running tourism” and came up with over 10 pages of entries: I found a recent Canadian article on the subject.

Feeling bloated, crappy and blah People who exercise regularly have more energy, better sex lives, yada yada. You’ve all heard it before, and it’s true – to a point. After a run that lasts more than 1.5 hours, I’m a write-off the rest of the day. Naps are my friend! Otherwise, I have fewer bouts of vague achies and sickies than I did as a less active person. That’s also due to another great loss –

Stress. This is true to a point as well. While exercise makes you stronger, more relaxed, lowers blood pressure and helps get rid of the bad stress hormones plaguing your bloodstream – once the mileage piles up, the reverse can happen to a marathon runner. Or, as my massage therapist  (Duane of Duane’s House of Pain infamy) once quipped:

“Once you cross the 15-or-20 mile a week threshold, you’re not running for your health anymore, you’re putting extra stress on your body you have to deal with.”

And with that, I must go ice my feet …


Marathoners’ Torture #1: 10-step guide for bathing in ice.

Running is torture on feet, so is wearing high-heeled shoes at work all day. I’ve been through months of recovery for plantar fasciitis and am determined not to go there again, but equally determined to keep running and to wear pretty shoes. I’m my podiatrist’s nightmare.

Here is my 10-step evening ritual designed to keep me on my feet.
What you’ll need:

  • hot tea,
  • your favourite comfy chair and blanket,
  • a fluffy towel,
  • your favourite TV show (or your mobile device or laptop),
  • a basin,
  • two trays of ice cubes,
  • a watch or timer,
  • fortitude.
  • Optional: a glass of wine, scotch or tequila.

What you’ll do:

  1. Make tea and have it ready next to your comfy chair, blanket and timer.
  2. Turn on your favourite TV show. Make sure it’s something absorbing like Battlestar Galactica or Dexter. Alternatively, get out your mobile device or laptop and log in to Twitter.
  3. Fill the basin only to about 3-5 centimetres (1 to 1-and-a-half inches) of cold water.
  4. Place basin, trays of ice cubes next to comfy chair.
  5. Sit with feet bare and blanket over legs. Set stopwatch or timer for about 6 minutes. (You might want to start out with 2 or 3 minutes).
  6. Take a deep breath.
  7. Plunge feet into cold water.
  8. Immediately dump the two trays of ice cubes into the water around your feet. Try not to howl, it will scare your family and pets.
  9. Keep breathing! Keep your feet in there! Google your exes, Tweet your pain, fantasize about Michael C. Hall – but stay with it!
  10. When your timer goes off, you may gratefully and with much drama take your feet out of the water and wrap them in the towel.
  11. Optional: enjoy your wine, scotch or tequila.


  • Do daily for injury prevention
  • To be enjoyed with a regular regimen of stretching and strength training.
  • Modification: do this with your legs in the bathtub (and more ice) after a 2+ hour training run or a race. Some races provide ice water barrels to jump in afterwards.

I’m not gonna lie to you, this is painful, but then so is running a marathon with injured feet. Embrace the suck. Besides, it feels so damn good when you take your feet out of that damn ice!

(With thanks to Duane Banman, the massage therapist who urged me to adopt this practice. His lair is otherwise known to marathoners and triathletes in Regina, SK as “Duane’s House of Pain.”)