cleaning up so well (jones_casey) wrote,
cleaning up so well

science knows a lot less than i once assumed it did

"it can happen for no reason, it seems, taking you completely by surprise. and it can be excruciating. suddenly, a muscle contracts violently, as if it had been prodded with a jolt of electricity. and it remains balled in a tight knot as painful second after painful second drags on. a seized calf muscle or a hamstring can be frightening. swimmers fear they will drown. cyclists nearly fall off their bikes. runners drop to the ground, grimacing, gritting their teeth.

the contraction is so strong that you could not will yourself to ball your muscle that tightly. and your muscle is likely to feel sore the next day. you have had a cramp, an experience so common among endurance athletes, researchers say, that almost everyone who has tried endurance sports has had a muscle cramp or has a friend who has had one.

yet common as they are and terrible as they can be, no one really understands cramps. they are a medical mystery."

(the times has an article on simply everything in their archives. [obligatory 'boo, pay wall!'])

it didn't occur to me that a calf cramp might come 45 minutes after i stopped running. but after i got in my door having spent that much time lifting after my run, i kicked off my right shoe, then kicked off my left shoe and was instantly struck by that excruciating jolt discussed above and dropped to the ground, grimacing, gritting my teeth. i've had the dull aching type cramps before & the mildly sharp foot and thigh cramps that you can just walk off, but i can't recall ever having one of these super-sharp calf cramps. in hindsight, i was kind of glad of it. everything has been going disturbingly too well this week (again, mind you, the tigers being in the world series should've been part of that equation), and i was waiting for something bad to happen to balance it out. so it was only fitting that it should happen while i was literally waiting for the other shoe to drop.

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