Sunday, January 11, 2009

Bath Night

My legs did not feel fresh. I was hoping to have a brilliant run this morning, one of those workouts where my body perfectly clicks, every muscle firing with precision, a glow of invincibility surrounding me for the remainder of the day. But instead I felt fatigued and flat, with an oddly sore ankle adding a new and unwelcome twist. Thus, I knew it was time to call in the emergency first aid: the ice bath.

The recipe for an ice bath is simple: fill the tub with enough cold water and ice to completely cover your legs. Slide into the slush as fast as you can, let out one heck of a scream and then phone a friend. Trust me on this – frozen dialing serves as a perfect distraction from the million icy spears boring into your lower extremities. Call someone you can really chatter with, and before you know it 10-15 minutes will have passed and you’ll be free to climb out and thaw out.

So I dialed MM.

aboutmydayImeaneverydetailohGODisitcold,” and so on, for 15 minutes. By the time we hung up my legs looked like chicken skin, but the pain was successfully banished.

My dog, Viggo, previously sound asleep in the front room, must have been awakened by the tone of urgency and alarm in my voice (due to the fact that I was literally FREEZING MY ASS OFF!). He came to investigate, cocking his head in curiosity at my submersed body. He peered over the edge of the tub, bending his nose down to the water and taking a few tentative laps with his tongue. And then, in one swift move…

No, he didn’t jump in. In one swift move I got up before he had a chance. For a moment he looked like he would surely launch his entire 70 pounds of muscle and fur into the tub, directly onto my naked frozen lap. He is hardly bathtub shy. When he was a baby dog and I first brought him home, his separation anxiety was so extreme that if I so much as closed the shower curtain he would sit on the bath mat and cry. For the first few weeks I showered with the curtain open, unable to bear his puppy heartbreak, until he began to trust that the water wouldn’t wash away his adoptive mom. His curiosity would lead him to the edge of the tub and often compel him to hop in, slipping goofily around and shaking water everywhere. To this day I bathe him in my tub, and while he sometimes pulls a stubborn card on bath night, I know he enjoys the pampering treatment. So I wouldn’t put it past him to flop right in on top of my frozen gambs.

Rather than risk the shock of dog meeting ice water, the awkward discomfort of his full weight upon my legs and his ensuing scratching and scrambling to escape, I reacted as quickly as my numb limbs would allow. Then, with the tub emptied of humans and ice, it was bath time for Viggo.