Friday, April 29, 2011

Out of Commission

Tuesday evening I went swimming. I swam a mile in 45 minutes. I was so proud of myself. Too proud perhaps. When I pushed off the bottom of the pool to sit on the side, my left calf cramped to the degree of me leaning over in agony, wanting to howl but not wanting to scare the few others who were enjoying the pool. Hubby tried to massage the pain away, but the muscle had turned to rock. For what seemed like a very long time, though I know it was most likely less than two minutes, I endured what was the most painful experience of my life. And that's saying something after having given birth naturally to a 10 pound 9 ounce baby. Today, the calf still hurts to the degree that running is definitely out; walking alone is an ordeal. Swimming is out since every time I flex my calf in the way I would while swimming, it wants to cramp up all over again. I'm  not sure about cycling--I think I could do that though there would be pain with each revolution. In general, it appears I'm out of commission for the next few days.

A couple of things I understand much better now after suffering through this cramp are these:

1. Why a person swimming in an open water situation would drown due to a muscle cramp. I used to think it strange that this happened, but now, I totally get it. I couldn't focus at all when my calf cramped. The pain was that intense. For someone in open water, where the bottom is more than four feet down, this could mean a catastrophe.

2. Why a person becomes depressed upon getting injured. I used to think suck it up and continue on with life. Now I'm the one bumming over not being able to run (and I hate to run), not being able to swim, not being able to participate in the sprint tri this Sunday. I've been looking forward to this particular tri as it is the anniversary of my first sprint tri, and now I'm going to be the one on the sidelines.

I know the pain will pass. I know I'll be back at it most likely within a week. My comfort zone is working out almost every single day, and I guess I've just become so used to doing all the things I do that not being able to do them is out of my norm. I'm having to practice a certain kind of patience which doesn't come easy for me.


John Romeo Alpha said...

I get leg muscle cramps sometimes, too, and haven't been able to find much definitive info on why they happen or how to prevent them, except for the generic hydration, electrolytes, and bananas. Oh, and stretching. All of those seem to help some, yet still don't prevent them. When my hamstring goes berserk, there's not much that I have experienced that hurts more than that.

JK said...

I've read a lot about muscle cramps and have found the same thing as you: hydration, electrolytes, and bananas. I do think I was dehydrated the night of my swim, and pushing it like in the pool didn't do me any favors. Lesson learned!