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Week 6: Long run = Bandaids and ice baths

Week 6: Long run = Bandaids and ice baths

by Pat Dooris

Bio | Email | Follow: @PatDoorisKGW

Posted on May 25, 2011 at 4:54 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 17 at 3:09 PM

KGW Reporter and self-confessed non-runner has taken on the challenge of running his first Half Marathon. He's tracking his progress during his 13 weeks of training in a series of weekly blogs. He hopes to run the Flat Fast Half over the July 4 weekend. Here's his latest entry.

Week 6 

On May 14, we ran 9 miles with the Galloway program in Portland.

I learned some surprising lessons. Did you know that runners cover their nipples with band aids or other products? I certainly didn’t. It seemed a bit odd when I read about it in Jeff Galloway’s training book but since he knows way, way more about running than me, I took it under advisement. I’d never had a problem with irritation during my three-mile fast walks in the past.

How could running be any different? Because it is.

At KGW-TV, the hard core runners, Rich and Frank, nodded knowingly when I asked them if running can cause chafing, even bleeding. We have plenty of women who are marathoners at the station too but I was afraid to ask them. I’d like to avoid a refresher on the uncomfortable harassment video we’re forced to watch each year.

Galloway and the big runners informed me that the simple movement of a shirt up and down over a runner’s chest for 9 miles or more was plenty to cause irritation and worse. I’m pretty skeptical---but that did make sense.

The morning before our big run, I choked down my oatmeal (which is beginning to taste a bit better) and found myself standing in front of the bathroom mirror with band aids in hand.

We didn’t have any circle-shaped band aids, so I grabbed a rectangle. Then puzzled over which direction to put it, vertical? Horizontal? I went horizontal. It looked so weird. And since I’ve never put anything there before, it didn’t occur to me until after the run that I also have some hairs growing there. Well, not anymore.

The actual 9-mile run proved quite pleasant, a nice surprise since it’s the longest distance I’ve ever run/walked. A physical therapist named Felipe led our group on a pace of three minutes running, one minute walking. We followed a course that started at Foot Traffic in Northeast Portland and wound all over that part of town.

Near the end I asked Felipe how he takes care of his body after such a run. He recommended a pint of chocolate milk because of its carb-to-protein ratio, which is three or four to one. Perfect for a body recovering after such a run.

He also encouraged me to take an ice bath. It didn't sound nearly as fun as the milk. But Felipe persisted. It’s good for your legs, he argued, because it forces the blood to move around and helps your recovery. You’ll feel much better tomorrow, he assured me. It’s worth the pain.

I decided to try it and once I got home moved fast to keep from changing my mind. I turned the cold bath water on full. I went to the freezer and got out three trays of cubed ice.

Felipe had suggested putting on a dry shirt, since the one I was wearing was soaked in sweat. While changing shirts I ripped off the band aids. Man! Did that hurt!

Slowly, with my running shorts still on---shoes and socks off---warm shirt on---I lowered myself into the tub and its icy water, now deep enough to cover my thighs. My nerves were not happy. The pain raced from my skin and legs to my brain with shocking speed.

I groaned out loud a couple times it hurt so much---until my wife and kids hollered at me to be quiet. They were enjoying a nice breakfast and did not want to hear my whines.

I gritted my teeth, poured the ice cubes from the tray into the water and sucked it up.

Have you ever seen those interviews with athletes soaking their legs in ice? They seem to chat away without noticing. I’m not buying it. I noticed every second, every moment, every minute, for 15 minutes. It hurt like heck.

But after the soaking, my legs warmed up and I have to admit they felt pretty good. And Sunday they felt better. Monday they felt great.

I’m afraid there are probably more ice baths in my future as I train for the Foot Traffic Half Marathon on July 4th.  And band aids.