Tonight I am concerned.
Mainly, my concern is such, that at the still relatively young age of thirty, I have become obsessed with how I spend my time in the shower.
And it’s not just that.
I’ve become obsessed with writing about it, and having other people read about these exploits.
This is strange.
I mean, it was only a few weeks ago that I was chronicling my new found love of baths, and now here I am, about to regale you with my new fangled method of showering.
Please bare with me.
(No pun intended.)
This past September I began going to the gym before work. I was having terrible problems with my Achilles and calf muscle in my left leg, and I was sure that running every morning was exacerbating the problem.
Turns out I was only partially right. The majority of my problems were coming from the fact that my anxiety issues were ramped up to eleven, and my body reacts terribly to stress. Anytime my life is shrouded by worry and unease, my system rebels and the first things to go are either my right knee or my left calf.
Anyway, despite the fact that I had previously railed so valiantly against the gym, I gave in and bought a membership to the new Dynamic Fitness at the New Westminster Skytrain station.
I figured that I would go most mornings around 6:30am, work it like a madwoman for thirty minutes, and then shower and head to work.
And I was right! This plan has definitely worked a treat.
Most mornings I arrive between 6:30-6:45am, sprint on the treadmill for ten to fifteen minutes, move through a resistance circuit (mostly push-ups, squats, lunges, ab work, and pull-ups) and then bike as hard as I can for ten minutes to finish-up.
On the weekends I do my long distance runs around the Lower Mainland, and once the afternoons begin to stay lighter for longer, I plan on again running after work.
(My dream is to start a regimen of two-a-days, where I work out in the morning and then run after work. I going to have to really channel my inner Sarah Connor to ever make that a reality.)
Anyways, back to mornings at the gym.
The thing that people fail to tell you about showering and changing at these spaces, is, when you’re operating on a similar schedule to mine, and giving yourself zero time to cool down post-bike, the very last thing you’ll ever want to do is step into a hot shower.
Because it will at best be uncomfortable, and at worst, leave you feeling as though you’re going to die in the excruciating depths of a fiery inferno.
And that really sucks.
So, what is an enterprising girl left to do?
The answer is, as I’ve now discovered, to take blindingly cold showers.
And this is awesome.
So much so that I have pretty much become addicted to them, and cannot even imagine taking a hot shower ever again (workout or no.)
There is something equal parts magical and terror-inducing stepping into the stall, anticipating that first hit of water, just knowing what is coming the second you place your head under the stream.
It’s like all of the air is simultaneously driven from your body and you’re left a sputtering and gasping mess, just trying to force breath in and out of your lungs.
For a person who spent a lot of time growing up imagining whether or not she would have survived the Russian Gulag, these showers give me some kind of weird assurance that maybe, just maybe, I could have hacked it in the Taiga. (Seriously though, this was a huge source of worry to me as both an adolescent and early adult. I mean, for one, I wear glasses. That surely would have signed my death warrant, would it have not? Second, I have never taken the time to properly memorize long poems penned by Pushkin and Gogel and every political prisoner memoire I ever read always detailed at length how important these works were to prisoner survival. How could I ever have made it through long periods of isolation? Obviously I would be hooped.)
What was I talking about?
Beginning my day with both a high-intensity workout and then a blisteringly cold shower has completely changed my outlook on mornings.
For the most part I have more energy, I eat better breakfasts, and I am more alert (especially when it comes to first-thing meetings.)
And I’m not just making this stuff up!
Cold showers are great for circulation, muscle and injury recovery, they (supposedly) aid in weight loss, and they definitely ease stress.
Plus, they make you feel like an epic badass!
This past Saturday I ran 30 kilometers, and despite this insane feat that did a crazy number on my body, I felt great enough to run both yesterday and today.
And while I’m sure that my cold showers aren’t the sole reason behind my quick heal, I do have to give them some credit.
Because if I don’t, I know I’ll just keep writing about them.
And I don’t want this to be the material that you are forced to fall back on when you are shipped off to Baffin Island for forty years of hard labour.
You deserve a Pushkin poem for that.
And one that isn’t about baths.
Mine or otherwise.