Cramping my Style

Last night I launched my recovery plan for this week’s training, which has been disrupted by wildly fluctuating travel plans. I had the entire 20 yard outdoor pool to myself; all I had to do was get the one hour swim done. So, anyway, this morning’s run went fine. Oh, I skipped a little detail.

I waited to start the swim until about 7:30. I could come up with all sorts of reasons like waiting for supper to settle, etc, but The Big Bang was on. Look, I only watched one episode… don’t judge me.

When I did get into the pool, a rain shower had pushed through and the temperature had dropped by about 10 degrees, so it was a brisk 80 degrees. Gotta love Florida. But with the sun behind the clouds, it was a little cool in the water. No matter, hardy soul that I am, I pushed on. I swam a series of 80-120 yard repeats (20 yard pool, remember), focusing mainly on keeping my head down and rotating my torso to get my face out of the water (versus a really wicked head turn).

All went well for the first half, although I detected some minor twitches or cramps starting as I tucked my legs for the turns and pushed off the wall. No problem, I thought. Relax and work it out. This could happen on race day, and you’ve got to figure out how to push through it. They went away, and off I went.

After one push off the wall, my left calf cramped pretty badly. Work it out. Stop kicking, pull with the arms, and keep going. Success! Then a few laps later, disaster struck. After the turn, my left calf cramped, then the foot. I stopped to try to work it out. When I put my foot down on the bottom of the pool, I though I’d stepped on a rock…nope, that was my foot cramped into a ball. As I bent my leg to massage my foot, the thigh cramped hard. This is not good. I slowly lowered my foot, worked out the cramp in my thigh, a worked my foot against the bottom until it could flex. Thinking I could at least finish the lap, I started to porpoise into the pool. Just the force of pushing off the bottom brought the cramp back with a vengeance. Game over for the night. I stopped at 48 minutes, and about 1500 yards.

Not much question about the cause. Too much travel in dry airplanes, too much coffee, not enough stretching, not enough water. My own fault, so I need to put the fixes back in place.

This morning’s run was more of a success story. A quick three miler before work, after getting to sleep in until almost 6! I kept a 9:15 pace without pushing too hard, and without my usual prerun cup of coffee. I’ve switched over to Asics Gel Nimbus shoes with more cushion in the heel (sorry, Born to Run guys, but minimalist shoes kill my heels, even when I land mid foot), and the heel pain is mostly gone.

I’ve got another swim tonight, so I’ll drink water all afternoon and stretch before getting into the pool (while watching Big Bang). Wish me well.

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