Monthly Archives: October 2012

Calf Strains: When Sore Muscles Just Don’t Go Away

I’m not a medical guru. I can’t tell you the biological happenings behind what I’m feeling. But I can tell you this: pain sucks!

My body was feeling good last week. Mentally and physically I was ready to train hard. So I did. I went to the track and I sprinted. I sprinted hard and fast. I ran 2 sets of 4 400-meter sprints. That wasn’t new to me. But with indoor track season coming and cross country leaving, I had this idea that I should wear my minimalist shoes because they help me stay on my toes — something I need to start doing more of to really get an extra push from my track shoes. When I woke up the next day, I could barely walk: my calves were so sore!

Three days later? Still sore.

A week later? Still sore!

Today, 10 days after the minimalist sprinting workout, I still have tenderness and pain.

I knew I hadn’t torn anything. When you tear your calf you hear it and feel instant pain. I questioned my recovery methods, but I have used everything from a foam roller to compression clothing and been religious about stretching and resting.

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Compression. So much compression wearing.

I just keep asking everyone: “Have you ever had a sore muscle for over a week?!” It usually goes away within a day or two. Finally tonight I turned to Google. Self diagnosis from WebMD, Wikipedia and an actual running injury source says I have a muscle strain in my calves which is comparable to a sprained ankle.

Sigh.

At least I have validation and reassurance that it’s going to go away eventually on its own. I just hope it’s a grade 1 strain which should heal up in a few more days and not a grade 2 which could last two more weeks!

Have you ever had a sore muscle for 2 weeks? Have you had a muscle strain? I’d love to hear words of encouragement from someone that knows this frustration!

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Filed under Running

Cheating to Be Fit: When Healthy Competition Goes Bad

A former roommate set up a “competition jar” for me much like some people have a “swear jar”. Every time I tried to turn an every day thing into a competition, I had to put a quarter in my jar.

I’m a competitive person. But I’ve found ways to use my competitive spirit as a healthy form of motivation and drive. When I have no one to go for a run with, I push myself by constantly trying to catch or keep up with the stranger in front of me on the running path. That’s healthy and effective. But when does competitive working out become unhealthy?

I don’t have the answer. I’m not sure that there is one specific answer that fits all people and all situations, but I do know this: when you feel so competitive with the person working out next to you that you cheat, that you do less reps to finish faster, that’s no longer healthy or motivating and you lose in the long run.

CrossFit, which is self described as “competitive working out”, is what has me thinking about this. Most of the time at CrossFit, unless you are in a competition, you are the only person counting how many reps you complete. It becomes tempting to cut a few off so that you are the fastest athlete or so you aren’t the slowest. And there’s nothing motivating, productive or healthy about cutting yourself short.

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Filed under CrossFit, General Fitness

The Workout Day That Made Me Ready to Blog Again

I am finally done being pulled down by injuries and am working hard to get back to where I was pre-accident, especially when it comes to running speed. This, combined with an awesome workout in nature on Wednesday, has made me ready to come back to this blog.

So what was so great about Wednesday’s workout?

While visiting a friend in Ohio, I headed to Caesar Creek State Park with 2 competitive bike riders for a fun day on the trails. We ran a trail loop and started some active stretching, comparing favorite moves and discussing dynamic vs. static stretching (side bar: my opinion is strongly for dynamic before working out and static after). We showed off different kinds of push ups. Then we headed to tackle some hill sprints… Actually hill sounds so weak compared to the long, steep, grassy slope before us.20121020-122422.jpg

After just one hill sprint of death each, it was back to the trails for a fast 3 mile run.

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Still not worn out, we grabbed my new weight vest and the fun really started: stairs, burpees, pistols (one-legged squats) and anything else we could come up with.

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We rounded the day out with another mile in the trails — me wearing the weighted vest — and some static stretching.20121020-122500.jpg

It was a gorgeous day. The weather was perfect, the scenery amazing and the company motivational. It was the kind of day worth writing about!

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Equipment and Gear, General Fitness, Running, Weight Training