Muscle Cramps!

16 Feb

It’s a bit of my own fault, really… this past Sunday’s long run was my first outdoor run in about 3 weeks. My pace was also averaging at 10:09 when it’s been upwards of 10:30-10:40 in the past. And I did strength training the day before. And I’d been sick for half the week and my fluid intake wasn’t the best.

Okay, so it’s really all my fault.

I went out for a 10 mile run, and was feeling REALLY great about my pace. I kept actively slowing myself down because I’d look at my watch, realize I was running about 9:30 and back off so I didn’t burn out. My route this time was 3 times around the lake near me- taking the long path around was just about 3.33 miles. After each lap I’d stop at my car, take a drink and pop a few GU Chomps. I didn’t want to take my hydration belt with me, so lapping worked great.

After my second lap, my left knee was feeling a little weird. Not really in pain, just weird. I also had a twinge of a muscle cramp in my left foot, but I worked it out a bit and kept going. I’ve had weird muscle spasms in my feet since I was little, probably because my dance studio put me in pointe shoes at age 9.

mmm, this is healthy for young feet/legs

I set off again, and when mile 7 arrived, the cramp worsened. Ugh. Stretchstretchstretch aaaand run again. 0.10 miles later, PAIN. Yep, that was it, I threw in the towel. I turned around and started heading back to my car, only able to walk around 20 feet before having to stop and stretch again. I couldn’t flex my foot- that caused it to cramp. But I also couldn’t point it because it cramped the other way! Lose-lose situation, here. Next thing I know, BOTH FEET CRAMP UP.

Can I just tell you how embarrassing it is to be limping back to your car, stopping to stretch every 10 seconds on a high-traffic street. It’s so awesome.

It took me about 10 minutes to walk back, where I promptly stretched my legs as much as possible, guzzled my Gatorade, and prayed to Vishnu that I wouldn’t cramp up on the drive home.

The resulting numbers:
Distance: 7.16 miles
Time: 1:12:40
Splits: 10:00, 10:07, 10:19, 9:54, 10:18, 10:16, 10:08… and 1:35 ;)

All in all, some really fantastic numbers for me on a long run- a personal best! I was mostly upset by how fantastic the rest of me felt, but I couldn’t go on because of the cramping. It’s like I practically have an IV attached to me now I’m downing so much water. This won’t happen again… not with 19 days remaining. I’m also going to increase my salt intake pre-run and eat the same foods I’ll eat on race day (I’ve technically already been doing this, but not very strictly).

Do you guys have any cramp-busters you swear by? Any hidden techniques for preventing spasms?

Catch ya on the flip side!

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4 Responses to “Muscle Cramps!”

  1. nate February 16, 2010 at 1:43 pm #

    for muscle cramps, i tend to punch them really hard as many times as it will take for me to forget the initial cramp and focus on the new pain. i do not recommend this technique.

    • Kera February 16, 2010 at 1:46 pm #

      That sounds like my dad’s advice. I’ve naïvely tried it. I also do not recommend it.

  2. Lacey February 16, 2010 at 1:46 pm #

    oooh it’s tough. sometimes if i breathe out really slowly/controlled it takes my mind off the cramp and then it goes away. for feet i think the key is to not fight against it but try to breathe/relax and let it relax, too. really scary/painful! i used to wake up at night w/ feet / calf cramps.

  3. Yasmin February 16, 2010 at 3:51 pm #

    I usually reallyyyyy slow down and a make an effort to breathe more. Usually that works.
    Though I’ve never had foot cramps, so i’m not sure.

    It’s so easy (and fun!) to get high off running at a fast pace. But experienece repeatedly shows me it’s better to swallow my pride and go low key. Slower > injured.
    Thankfully you’re not injured, and you’ve been good about listening to your body.
    Great run too!

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