Cold Showers Required

Although I didn’t think it was possible, summer has finally arrived in Portland, Maine. I’ve been taking advantage of the weather by cranking up my morning distance, but picking up my pace has led to the return of a summer problem: extra-sweaty-yuckiness.

Here’s what the routine is like. I sweat during the first mile now, and by the time I get home I’m a complete mess. I shove my soaking wet clothes into the laundry hamper with a mental note to wash them before they ripen, and step into the bathroom to clean up. I’m dripping while I shave, so there’s a towel beneath my feet.

I hop into the shower next, which ought to be the end of it… but no. Still sweating after my attempts to dry off. It’s a clean sweat at this point, but I still don’t put on the work clothes quite yet. Instead, I put on something that can act as a secondary set of towels. It’s a fun process, I assure you.

But there’s a solution. I dealt with this on a regular basis when I was down south, and I even encountered it a little in Boston and Vermont. The answer to the problem is to take a cold shower. (No jokes, please.)

Not ice-cold, of course. I start out with a nice comfy temperature, but I drop it in small increments as I go. By the time I’m finished, the water is room temperature or maybe a little cooler, but it doesn’t bother me because my surface temperature is still a bit high. If I had remembered to do this today, I would have been perfectly dry and comfortable during that first few minutes out of the shower.

If you’re going to try this, don’t just jump into a tub full of ice. Rapid temperature changes are bad. Start warm and finish cool, without any crazy extremes. The idea is to gently lower your surface temperature so you’ll be comfy when you dry off. And, you know, dry when you dry off.