By Lush Kitchen’s Kelly
Bathing. As a Lush employee it’s always had a huge part in my everyday life. Whether I’m chatting to an inventor about their newest innovation, helping out in manufacturing, or talking to you guys about your favourites, those balls of bicarb are a constant in my life.
But up until 2015, I’d always thought of bathing as a luxury. Something you did at the end of a hard day, and only if you had time. I was far more likely to jump in the shower than run a bath. But when I decided to run the London marathon in memory of my Nan Babs, bathing took on a new meaning. It switched from a once-in-blue-moon treat, to a way to help heal my body.
I have never been a long distance runner and never, ever thought that I would enter a marathon - but it had always been something I dreamt of achieving. To get me started I needed a focus point and an aim, so I set myself the challenge of completing the London marathon before I hit 30. I wanted to run for a charity that meant something to me, as I knew that this would push me to the end. I chose Leukemia Care as unfortunately this was the cancer that took my Nan away from me. With her so close in my heart, and the pain of her death still with me, I knew I would make it to the end of the 26.2 mile course.
I knew that running a marathon would be hard. Of course it would. But I didn’t quite realise how hard the training part would be. Fitting in long runs into my already busy schedule was tough, and on top of that I hadn’t considered the ways in which I’d have to fuel and care for my body differently. Marathon training literally took over my life for 6 months! Of course, the carb loading on a Saturday night before my long run on a Sunday wasn’t challenging, but my weekend plans of socialising were a complete write off. I didn’t want to drink alcohol (simply because running on a hangover terrified me!) and I was always conscious about what I was eating and drinking before my evening runs.
Most of the training for the London Marathon takes place in the winter in the UK, so the weather could be pretty grim. At times my only motivation for getting back home would be a nice long soak in the bath to relax. I had done lots of research into ways of helping my body to recover, and discovered that soaking my legs in the bath helped to warm my muscles and relax them. The water in a bath also helps to create physical pressure on the body which makes your heart beat faster and improves blood circulation, perfect for refreshing your body.
Once I started running much longer distances (over 15miles), I introduced ice baths once a week immediately after my run to reduce swelling in my muscle tissues and to flush waste products like lactic acid out of the affected tissues in my legs. I will never forget the first ice bath I had! Pure cold water filled half way in the tub with over 4 trays of ice! I read that making a hot drink and wearing warm clothing from my waist up (wooly hat included) would help to make it bearable! No such luck! I got in and just cried. My partner didn’t know what to do to so offered to put a bath bomb in to make it better! Not even that was going to help! But, as much as I hated and dreaded this weekly ritual, it really did help with my recovery! Making sure I got enough sleep at night was also important to ensure my body was well rested. Having a hot bath before I got into bed, enabled me to feel relaxed and eased my mind into being able to switch off straight away.
I can’t talk about bathing without mentioning some products that really helped me during my training. Marathon bubble bar, 93,000 Miles Shower Jelly and Wiccy Magic Muscles were the must haves in my bathroom during training. These three products were chosen specially because of their ingredients and effects on the skin. Peppermint and cinnamon leaf oil were great for stimulating and increasing the circulation of my blood and helping to warm me up from inside out and made me feel relaxed whilst physically adding a slight cooling sensation on my skin.
With the London Marathon 2019 just round the corner, I’ll be thinking about all those individuals pounding the pavements and racking up the distance leading up to the last few weeks. I can’t say I envy them and the grueling training plan as the date gets closer and closer, but I will always have the feeling of accomplishment that this challenge brings.
Whatever personal challenge you set yourself in life, whether that be physical or mental, remember a good long hot bath will help ease the mind and relax your body helping to prepare you for what happens in life next. Sometimes, you just need to take the time out to really think about you.
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Illustration by Billy Clark