Recovery Gels and Creams

If you read the series on the Lake Tahoe Triple Marathon & Ultramarathon Part 1, you are probably wondering about the magic recovery gel that we used.

This gel is not commercially available, so it doesn’t even have a name to it.

I will let the creator tell his story below.   The original idea came from Thachvu Ho, a member of the USA M35 4 x 100 meter relay team which set a WR at the 2011 WMA World Championships in Sacramento. 

Thachvu and I met for coffee about two weeks before the Lake Tahoe marathon and we decided to give it a try.

Why?  I felt since my runner had completed “only” 17 marathons in the past 10 years, with his longest training run being 18 miles leading up to the Triple Marathon.  So to run 26.2 miles on 3 consecutive days (i.e. 78.6 miles) would required every recovery trick in the book.

I talked about ice baths for recovery, Ice Baths, Contrast Showers, and Epsom Salt Baths, Chinese heat & muscle rubs, and treating sore muscles with Arnica and Traumeel in previous articles.  They all have its place in the recovery toolbox.

On a personal note, I used this “magic gel” on some massive nocturnal leg cramps a few days ago and it relieved the pain quite effectively. For more on leg cramps, see Tips on Preventing Leg Cramps while Sleeping and Tips on Preventing Leg Cramps while Racing or Training.

Below is his story on how it all began.

THE STORY BEHIND THE GEL

by Thachvu Ho

Click here to read more about the 4x100m M35 WR (with videos) from Ken Stone’s Masterstrack.com

During my collegiate career as an athlete in track and field at the University of California, at Davis (UCD), I implemented a demanding training routine that pushed me to not only succeed, but truly excel. In doing so, I regularly encountered numerous injuries, including a torn hamstring, back, groin and leg muscle strains, and repeated shin splints.

Upon graduating in 1999, I stopped training and exercising in order to focus on owning my small business. A decade later, the same intensity and dedication that I had applied to track and field helped me achieve success in business. However, at a wedding in 2010, one of my old teammates was surprised to see myself thin and out of shape. I had spent many hours behind a desk, reading reports, eating fast food and watching television. Disgusted at losing 40 pounds of muscle and constantly feeling lethargic, I decided to start training again.

I wanted to make a comeback.  Masters track was available to anyone over the age of 35 up to 100+. Many former athletes competed in the sport that I loved. My goal was to compete at the World Masters Championships, which were being held in Sacramento, California in the summer of 2011.

As soon as I started training, all of my prior injuries returned again. Disappointed and discouraged, I tried training through the injuries, but the pain only worsened. While talking to my mother about my injuries, she remembered a long forgotten family recipe for a healing ointment, which was given to her by my grandfather, a farmer in Vietnam.

20 days after I was born, and nearly a year after the fall of South Vietnam to the communist regime of the north, my family fled Vietnam in small fishing boat. In the dark of night, my mother carried me aboard the boat in a cardboard box with holes punched in it for ventilation. After several weeks adrift at sea, we were rescued and eventually immigrated to the United States. In starting a new life in America, this family recipe became forgotten and lost, until that conversation.

My mom quickly went about recreating the special ointment that included camphor, ginger and green tea. When I applied the healing ointment to my leg it soothed the pain. However, the inflammation remained. With my degree in Biological Science and a background in biochemistry, I set out to perfect the healing recipe by creating a gel and adding a proprietary blend of anti-inflammatory herbs with anti-oxidants to help promote healing. Not only does the gel ease the pain, but it also assist in maximizing the body’s natural healing and recovery process.

As part of my training routine, I would use the gel every day before & after working out, and to my amazement, the pain and inflammation that came along with my injuries soon disappeared.

During the Masters Track World Championship in 2011, I qualified to be a member of the 4 x 100 meter relay team for the United States in the 35-39 year old age group. Each member of my team was battling an assortment of injuries and soreness throughout their back, legs and groin. I offered my teammates a sample of the secret healing gel, and within 24 hours they all felt young, vibrant, and relaxed. Their pain, soreness and inflammation disappeared with the use of gel. Our relay team shattered the world record that was previously held by Great Britain with a new time of 41.89 seconds.

Whether you are an elite athlete or a weekend warrior or someone who simply wants to get in shape, the gel can help you recover and heal from the rigors of training and everyday life.