Thursday, May 3, 2018

An Amazing Recovery System

Because my recovery plan has now worked for the 2nd time, I decided that I just had to share it with you!

A little background.  Due to my recent obsession with Orangetheory classes, I have been running more frequently and consistently during the week but because I love the classes so much, I end up  taking classes on the weekends rather than fitting in a long run.  As a result, I have been under-prepared for the half marathons I have run this spring and my body makes sure to tell me that from about mile nine onward.

We walked most of the Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Half Marathon due to my bronchitis, but I could still feel blisters starting to form and my feet were just unhappy the latter part of the race and also post-race up until I had completed my post-race recovery appointment.  After the appointment, I was good to go with no pain and I never actually developed any blisters.

Next up was the Rock 'n' Roll DC Half Marathon and although this same recovery activity was in my original itinerary, I decided not to make an appointment thinking I was better trained this time and didn't need it.  I was wrong and as a result, I was pretty sore for the rest of my annual trip to DC.  I used a lot of Tiger Balm that week.

In April, I ran the GO! St. Louis Half Marathon here in St. Louis and although my recover activity is also available here, I unwisely chose NOT to schedule an appointment.  Bad choice!  Again, I was sore for several days post-race.  Even getting out of my chair at work was painful and it took me several days to get back to normal and back into an Orangetheory class.

Last weekend was the Rock 'n' Roll Nashville Half Marathon and I wanted the post-race portion of my weekend trip to be as pain-free as my pre-race portion.  I also did not want to be in pain for the 5-hour drive back to St. Louis, so I wisely chose to schedule the recovery activity and luckily there was a location that offered these services just down the street from our hotel.

What am I talking about?  My half marathon recovery activity is a combination of a three-minute whole body cryotherapy session and a 30-minute NormaTec session.  The order does not seem to be relevant since I did the NormaTec session first in Arizona and then last in Nashville, but the amazing result was the same.  No post-race pain whatsoever!

I had done cryotherapy sessions in St. Louis at both Berman Chiropractic and Wellness and Celsius Cryotherapy, both through Groupon packages.  Celsius also offers NormaTec sessions and although I had read a lot about the product and the benefits, I did not actually try it until I visited Chillfit Cryo in Arizona. 

The best way I can explain cryotherapy is to describe it as a quicker and less painful and less annoying post-run ice bath.  I also notice that I sleep very well the night after I have had a cryotherapy session, which is listed as one of the many benefits below. 

Cryotherapy booth in Nashville

The cryotherapy booths have looked different everywhere I've gone.  Some have risers built into the booth while others add or remove pads depending on your height.  Some staff have you turn every so often, while others just have you stand in place the entire three minutes.  Pricing also varies by location, but you typically get the best deal as a first time customer or via a Groupon package.

The NormaTec system is a compression system designed to enhance blood flow and speed up the recovery time.  I have only used the system for legs, but they also have attachments for hips and upper body.

The NormaTec boots have been the same at both locations, but in Arizona I was laying down on a stretching table and in Nashville they had recliners.  Both locations had the 15 minute or 30 minute option, but I went with 30-minute sessions both times. 

NormaTec in Nashville

NormaTec in Arizona

The woman working at Cool Spot Cryotherapy last weekend told us that several of the Tennessee Titans players come to their location for cryotherapy because the team does not have their own booths.  While we there, a group of lacrosse players came in to use the NormaTec and a couple Canadians in town for the Predators - Jets playoff games did both cryotherapy and NormaTec sessions. It was a very busy place during the hour we were there!

Although I walked a lot of last weekend's half marathon, I could feel blisters starting to form towards the end of the race which led to some limping.  I especially felt like I was limping on the walk between the finish line and my car.  I was hurting!  But after the cryotherapy and NormaTec session at Cool Spot, I felt like I hadn't even run a race (but still had the medal to prove it) and I felt great!  Most major cities now have at least one cryotherapy business and some even have mobile trailers that they take to races and triathlons for both pre and post-race recovery. A system similar to NormaTec had a booth at the expo in Nashville, and you often find them at universities and physical therapy centers.  The NormaTec website lists locations and events throughout the country where you can try their products, but I have had better luck just Googling it or checking to see if the cryotherapy business also offers NormaTec sessions since they seem to go hand-in-hand.  For both sessions in Nashville, I paid $55 and it was worth EVERY penny.  Give cryotherapy and NormaTec a try and see what you think!

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