Jan 23, 2008

Cramps suck

I neglected to post after swimming yesterday since I didn't have time to get back to it after my volleyball recap, but it was certainly interesting. Things were going pretty well, although I was somewhat shelled from the late night volleyball games. We had actually done some fairly intense workouts as we did 25 meter repeats at top speed and then some 100 meter kick sets mixed with 100 freestyle.

The final set was 400 meter swims, and I mentally told myself to focus on relaxing. This should be swum at my aerobic pace, staying at a speed I could hold for an 1/2 Ironman swim or so. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to even finish the first one as my calf cramped up tight after pushing off the wall as I was starting the 150 meter leg. Fortunately, I was in the shallow end, but with the water supporting my weight I could not put enough pressure on it to elongate the muscle! I clung to the lane line while my brother swam over, and the coach came running to make sure I was okay. I knew I wasn't going to drown, but it really, really hurt, and I couldn't find a way to relive the pain. Finally, I pushed up on the rope as hard as I could to give me a bit of force down to the bottom of the pool and managed to get the muscle to release.

I climbed out of the pool and walked around a bit as my coach suggested. The leg felt better and I decided to try again on the next interval. I was pushing off carefully, but after about 250 meters, I felt it again. This time, not bad, it didn't lock but I decided enough was enough and I climbed out of the pool for good.

I've never gotten a cramp in the pool before, although I've occasionally felt it get close on pushing off the wall. I've always managed to flex my toes quick enough to prevent the calf from locking though. When you push off, it's basically thrusting with your thighs and calves and then pointing your toes as much as possible to keep a streamlined position. The combination of thrust and them keeping the muscle contracted is clearly a recipe for a cramp, and it got me this time. I'm going to have to try and stay more hydrated and perhaps bring a sport drink to sip on instead of just water. I also suspect my lack of consistent run training has kept my calves from being as resilient.

In any case it was good that I was not alone and also in the shallow end, it could have gotten scary in the middle of the lake!


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