Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Ankle and hamstrings and quads, oh my!

I'm not a complainer. Well, I am, but not about aches and pains related to running. I pretty much accept them as a temporary consequence of a hard workout, usually alleviated by things like a little bit of rest, a nice hot bath, Advil on occasion, and more exercise (once the muscles are warmed up the aches go away). I prefer not to indulge in too much self-coddling, because I fear that if I allow myself too much recovery time, it will just lead to more and more days on the couch, eventually culminating in abandoning running altogether and a weight gain of 50 pounds (or more).

(I do hope that I would recognize serious pain that indicated serious injury, and obtain medical aid as needed.)

Well, the Anacortes run certainly gave me a taste of those "temporary" pains. My quads were so achy (due, I believe, to the downhill portions), that they yelled at me for two or three days whenever I walked or ran downhill, or (attempted to) walk down a flight of stairs. On Sunday, the day after the run, I took a trip to my parents' to walk on the beach, and had to walk down 120 steps to get to the beach. I silenced the screaming quads by holding onto the railings and hopping/swinging from step to step, a sneaky maneuver which looked like a merry frolic instead of a way to avoid bending my legs!

And then there's the subtle "toilet seat drop," where instead of squatting and lowering your posterior to the toilet seat in the usual fashion, you grasp either side of the seat so that your arms, rather than your legs, bear your weight as you sit down.

By Wednesday, happily, the pain had receded to a slight sensitivity.

My other aches and pains, perhaps caused by the hilly run rather than general patheticness (if that is a real word), have been hanging on a little more.

My already troubled achilles tendon has been acting up, making for a periodically sore ankle. (Not enough to keep me off the streets, though!)

And then there's this other weird condition, possibly due to a tight hamstring, or maybe something with the calf muscle (I am vigorously resisting any thought that this might be some kind of a knee issue). Basically when I try to bend my right knee any more than about 50% , I get a lot of pain, either in the hamstring right above the knee or the calf below. This totally does not affect walking or running—I only feel it when I try to do a child's pose in yoga, or kneel for some other reason, or bend my leg excessively getting into bed or a car. (I've been able to modify my movements to avoid the problem, except I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do in yoga class tonight. Considering that child's pose is a resting position, I hardly want it to hurt!) But maybe I'll be all better by then. Hope lives on.

I am trying not to overstrain myself this week, since I have the Portland Shamrock 15K on Sunday. So I'm trying to balance "taking it easy" (sort of) with my compulsion to keep up my mileage and try to burn off the cookies I keep eating (in spite of my vow to stop eating cookies!).

But I do feel pretty good right now (sitting in a comfy desk chair), and after I go to the Y tonight (Thursday) and go for a run Friday morning, I'm completely on rest and recovery till the Shamrock Run begins on Sunday morning.

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