So you’re no polar bear? Say goodbye to aches and pains including the dread from stepping into, then sitting upon an ice-covered stream or ice-bath. Instead yell hello to the warmth, relief and comfort provided by these weapons for the wimpy. If floating like an ice-cube post competition resembles capital punishment for racers, then discover six noteworthy alternative solutions.
Bringing an old-fashioned remedy out of the closet—indoors, too!—fill a hot bath while liberally pouring a handy closable bag of Epsom Salt in the inviting waters. Belonging to the more-is-better-pool, I’ll typically add half of a five-pound bag to the filling bath. Stir, don’t shake, then lumber in with a good read while soaking and absorbing this amazing mineral compound. Now revealing a long-lost secret: you’re not absorbing salt but rather magnesium and sulfate. While relaxing with lowered lights, candles flickering, pacing with heartwarming tunes, “Epsom Salt flushes toxins and heavy metals from the cells, easing muscle pain and helping the body to eliminate harmful substances.” Further, Saltworks located near Redmond, Washington [ever hear of Microsoft?], offers a scientific source for the absorption process, meaning you relax while those cells do the work.
I have not only used Epsom Salt after ultra races, available from Saltworks and local groceries and drug stores, but beforehand too if for some reason I feel soreness. There is a psychological advantage with the beforehand use, and that is taking an offensive step to help in the competition. You’ll naturally feel better, which may help when striving to earn a finish.
Another centuries-old curative technique for muscle and joint pain comes from a flower resembling a daisy, that of the Arnica Montana. Easiest ingested through tiny candy-like balls one holds between the cheek and gums, the subsequent dissolve and absorption soothes soreness just like Sister Saint Hildegard wrote nearly 800 years ago. Hildegard, widely known as a mystic and scientist, recognized through her keen observation skills the curative effects of this perennial. As a homeopathic medicine, Arnica Montana relieves those bruises, twists and turns the body registers during long distance events. Carrying them in the small container that dispenses the balls with a little twist makes their use convenient.
Tallying the basket at the grocery checkout lane, the young woman said, “I never seen this before.” In the water section of your grocery, somewhere near the coconut water, you too may discover this not-well-known Nopal Cactus Water. Extracted from the Prickly Pear, the rose-colored liquid tasting like Kool-Aid not only hydrates but simultaneously aids in reducing inflammation. Filled with betalain antioxidants, free-radicals find themselves rounded up like outlaws from this tough desert sheriff. Enormous protection seems a result of consuming this water. It appears the tougher the environment, the more betalains produced to survive the harsh climate. Think Tucson in summer. Earlier I used the cactus as a metaphor in handling another type of searing pain. In Harmonizing: Keys to Living in the Song of Life, this chapter “The Day I Snowshoed for the Prickly Pear” highlights a different type of remedy before I knew of its help in reducing soreness. Now there are more reasons to enjoy Prickly Pear ice cream here and here.
Further, I ingest two doses per day of Wilderness Athlete’s Joint Advantage regardless of a race or not. With an active life of exercise, giving the body every opportunity to develop and support strong joints remains a basic tenet for long distance goals. Good joint health means a better chance of suffering no pain when racing; there is enough as it is. This supplement complements that cortisone shot my personal physician provides annually. WA describes Joint Advantage as “providing key nutrients and specialized botanical compounds that lubricate and soothe.” One example, the capsules offer 200 mg per serving of Turmeric root. WA developed their reputation with high quality ingredients, an attitude meaning their recipe of 200 mg likely equals more, lots more as it turns out, than typical brands found on retail shelves. This is how their chief formulator, whose identity deep in research caverns near Phoenix remains a Batman-like secret, explained their turmeric to me. In a message hidden in the recesses of a gnarly Saguaro, he wrote, compare “dried turmeric root powder (the common ingredient) to the turmeric extract used in Joint Advantage (JA). Turmeric root contains approximately 3% curcuminoids, the active constituent by weight. The standardized turmeric extract used in JA is 95% curcuminoids. Doing the math says our extract of 200 mg could be equivalent 6000 mg of that found in other formulas where powdered turmeric root is the ingredient rather than an extract or, better still, a standardized extract.” Just understanding this one ingredient, recognition of the might of Joint Advantage seems obvious. Here is a review of WA’s Joint Advantage titled “Legal in All 50 States: Joint Advantage by Wilderness Athlete.”
Though you aren’t dull, the flakes of Dulse sound that way. But don’t fall for that. “This source of nutrition, minerals, vitamins and therapeutic properties,” says Jeff Kildahl, Ph.D., Snowshoe Magazine’s Wellness Editor, “offers an important element to supplements and super food powders.” Just a few benefits of this seaweed with its spicy, salty flavor include:
1. Increasing metabolism and weight loss
2. Supporting a healthy brain function
3. Healing and enhancing the liver
4. Improving poor digestive systems
Kildahl added, “Dulse is an ideal ingredient for one’s recovery formula.”
Aspirin and Advil reduce pain and/or swelling, and I use them, too, but didn’t include the two as the list above. They are common considerations.
Another favorite, actually a staple of my arsenal, comes from Yogi tea’s Joint Comfort, a neat little box stuffed with 16 magical tea bags . Yogi brand is everywhere, but I only find this blend at Whole Foods thus far. Yogi explains, “When you need a little Joint Comfort, our unique blend of botanicals from Asia, Africa, and America is purposefully formulated to help support the joints.” Their proprietary blend of herbs include staples of the cause like turmeric root, celery, yucca root extract, then adds lemongrass, peppermint leaf, alfalfa, spearmint leaf along with Cat’s Claw and Devil’s Claw. One gets the idea this beverage attacks soreness with talons, soothing aches and pains once heated, steeped then consumed. Further, I double-bag my cup along with using pure drinking water versus the tap version. Thank Dr. Kildahl for the heads-up on the water. The flavor tastes of a little mint, a little peach yielding a nice, quiet healthy beverage.
Mix or match, for use before or after extended trail times, these relief weapons for the wimpy—like me—will provide one extra relief you may also enjoy . . . not bawling crawling into an ice-cold stream.
Now, don’t be wimpy here: leave your ideas to add or enhance this list in the comments section below.