There are several brutal ways to wake up in the morning. I will list a few: fire drills, dog farts, kid puke. All terrible. And here’s another: leg cramps. Specifically a Charley horse to the calf.
I used to get this with some frequency in college and while I was on tour. The last time it happened, I was pregnant with Ella and that was 7 years ago. I almost always blamed it on dehydration or too many beers or bad nutrition. Sometimes it was positional (there was that unfortunate ante-coital episode) (total mood killer, by the way).
Very early this morning I woke up to pee and rolled over to check the clock. Whee! 5am! I still get to sleep some more. And, as I was rolling back over, my left calf cramped. This is not one of those “gee, that smarts” episodes.
My muscle tightened down so far that I could feel it split in the middle (not unlike a chicken breast, upside down) and I could feel the individual ridges of muscle through my skin. And all I can do is breathe through it and wait for it to be over. I was gripping the edge of the bed and labor breathing (!) when the cat decided to check on me. She was, understandably, concerned.
Since this has happened before, I knew to get up on it as soon as it stopped. Which I did. But it is still, 18 hours later, tender to the touch and very tight.
Silly me, I still went to Fat Camp. And it’s Thursday which is all treadmill, all the time. 55 minutes with weights and bands, up and down inclines. I don’t hold a high opinion of Thursday workouts. I do them because it’s a calorie torcher and because I do enjoy the strength aspect of it.
My calf is tight but starts to feel better. The inclines, a modest 6 and 8, are not killing me. Even the 10 was fine. You know, relatively. But when we started creeping up to 12 and then 13 and 15, I would get that tingle. I don’t know if it was residual soreness or if it was the angle my foot was striking the treadmill or if I was headed into another crippling cramp but I could feel the muscle start to bunch up.
I had to jump to the rails. I never, ever do that. I’ll knock the speed down to damn near crawling before I just jump off. But I had to. I was reduced to tears, even as I was trying to stretch it out. I don’t know that the other campers saw it. I might lose my Mayor McCheese status.
This is the second time a workout has brought tears. Granted this was actual pain and not just frustration with my own physical ineptness but still tears.
For the record, I finished the 55 minutes. I quit with the inclines with about 11 minutes to the end and just did an easy jog. How weird is that? Choosing what has become, to me, the easy route. I’d rather jog on a sore calf than walk hills. I don’t even know that I recognize myself anymore.
I am not a runner. I’ve always said it for as long as I could run. Or, at least as long as running would dissolve Aqua Net (seventh grade). Even when I am in decent shape and can do a dozen other sports type things, I am not a runner.
I don’t know. Maybe that has changed. Maybe I kind of really do like it. I don’t like to admit when I’m wrong but I think I might have been wrong about not being a runner. We are all built to run. Maybe some of us have just forgotten how?