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at least i can cross train without pain.

03/13/2011

I haven’t run since last Saturday due to some freak calf strain I’ve managed to acquire.

I have, however, logged over 100 KM on the rowing machine in the meantime.

The tough part about this is that I have to wake up around 4:45am in order to get my rowing workouts in, because if I sleep in too late there’s a lady who comes in and hovers around looking hopefully at me to finish my workout. If I wake up early enough, I can get my workout done before she takes command of the rowing machine with the television locked on the yappy dog channel at maximum volume as I sulk and glower at her from by numb-footed perch on the elliptical.

Not that it matters, but I’m the one who created this monster. At her request, I gave her a whole coaching lesson on how to use the rowing machine properly. Now she wants to use it all the time. And there’s only one.

C’mon, man. Nobody uses the rowing machine. I want to get away with hogging it. Sharing is for suckers!

And c’mon, injury universe. I’ve had enough of this. I waved my white flag and cut myself down to four days a week. My running karma is out-of-sorts this winter.

To be fair, I’ve had it pretty good. I’ve managed to avoid major injuries in the past five years.

Even so, this winter of training has been… challenging. I mean, calf pain, seriously? Keeping me from running for an entire week, and it’s looking like more? I tested things out on the treadmill on Thursday hoping to give it the honest 10-minute try, and I couldn’t even make it one mile. I cannot run without a limp and uh-oh-this-is-bad pain, even at 10-minute mile pace.

Someday I will have a positive running post to write again, but in the meantime my frustrations are bubbling away, which is why my posts have become so intermittent.

Aside from running being a pain in my butt, life is great. I have wonderful people in my life both here and far away. I love this town. I enjoy my work. The Northern Lights have been out in full force. Oh yeah, and this weekend is the spring equinox, after which I will finally have more daylight than the rest of you.

Have you ever been guilty of hogging a machine at the gym? What are your strategies for getting away with this? My personal strategy is to act super focused and just play dumb. Oh, you wanted to use this? Sorry, I was REALLY in the zone, and I had my music up so loud that I assumed you were tapping your foot because you were enjoying the catchy beats of my workout mix, not because you were trying to beam me an impatient and passive-aggressive message that you wanted a turn!

Anybody have experience with severe medial calf pain? I tweaked it one day two weeks ago on a slippery snowy run that was challenging for my lower legs and ankles. I continued to run on it for a week hoping that this would “shake out the kinks,” but apparently it just made things a lot worse. Rats!

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16 Comments leave one →
  1. 03/14/2011 05:40

    Sorry to hear about your calf. I hope it starts feeling better soon.

    That is too funny that you taught the lady how to row and now she is all over that machine. I haven’t had to deal with machine hogs much. The only time would have been in college, but they strictly enforced the 20 minutes of cardio rule, so it wasn’t a big deal. Who limits cardio to 20 minutes anyway?

  2. 03/14/2011 05:42

    boo! i am really bummed to hear about your seriously bad luck with injuries this winter! i am not quite to the lower leg yet in my PT studies (seriously, give me 2 weeks and i’ll probably have your answer, hah). is it right along the inside of the shin? based on what i know my guess would maybe be the posterior tibialis muscle…you said your run was really ankle-challenging and that muscle keeps you under control when your ankle pronates so maybe that could be it?

    whatever it is, i hope it feels better soon so you can escape rowing hover-er! i have to say, your method of avoiding people who want to steal your machines is pretty much spot on. at my college gym, there is technically a 30 minute limit on machines…umm…usually i’ll just “grab some water” at 30 and then hop right back on. oh sorry, you wanted that? i was just taking a quick break! sorry! i also think the faster i run, the less likely people are to bother me, so if i’m going to hit up the treadmill, ideally i’ll be doing a workout. lol.

  3. 03/14/2011 06:49

    last year i totally hogged a particular elliptical when i was injured. and i did not feel bad about it. at all. but usually because i hogged it at weird times so no one else wanted it hahah!

    boooooooo to you having more daylight than me soon. i ❤ sun. question (and TOTALLY pardon my ignorance) but how warm does it get get AK?

  4. 03/14/2011 15:52

    haha what?! random. but cool i guess. i do think it’s weird that she hovers over you. hello, you were the expert to show her how to do it right therefore you have priority. that is some serious erging… do they grow special herbs in ak or something?

    no idea on the calf pain. i tend to just massage/roll whatever aches, as long as i can get to it. i mean you can’t really roll a knee cap or ankle joint.

  5. 03/14/2011 17:54

    Can you write more about the northern lights? Seriously? That sounds so awesome – something I’ve always wanted to experience.

    Bummer about the calf. I have very tight/sore calves but for me it’s a chronic thing, not a trauma-related thing…so we’re probably in different boats on the same sea there. Wishing you super speedy recovery though! You’ve had a rough stretch this winter on the injury front!

  6. 03/14/2011 20:33

    No need to use a gym down here — the weather’s too good. Sorry to read about your ongoing injury niggles. The calf thing could be a strain or tear of one of the muscles. If it was a tear I’d think it’d be too painful to run on. I tore my soleus once and needed a good 2+ weeks off running to get over it.

    Don’t know whether it’s odd, but I’m usually less injury-prone when I’m consistently running more — 6 or 7 days a week rather than 4 or 5. Maybe a strength thing.

  7. 03/14/2011 23:11

    Um, so4:45 is brave. The boogie man is not safely back under my bed until at least 5:10 and so clearly I can not even think about setting my alarm any earlier.

    And also, do I know the woman your talking about, cus if it’s who I think you mean, she was totally at the gym this evening and she didn’t go near your erg! (Yes, I think of it as yours too).

  8. 03/15/2011 06:51

    I had a rando calf injury last October (right in the middle of marathon training – huzzah!) I’m not sure what caused it, but it was very debilitating and I couldn’t even run a mile without pain. I think I took a few days off and aggressively wore compression socks and massaged arnica cream into the muscle. Seemed to work itself out after some rest.

    4:45am? Damn girl, youz a BAMF.

  9. 03/15/2011 08:55

    blech, sorry to hear about the calf strain. 😦 hope it disappears pronto!

    rowing machine lady sounds impressionable… maybe you can teach her to do a circuit where you trade off between rowing and lifting in 10-15 min increments so you can work in if you’re both there at the same time?? maybe that would be too disruptive, but I’m wondering if it’s less that she wants to row, but more that she now feels comfortable with that one machine.

  10. 03/15/2011 09:24

    That sucks about your calf…but you are doing the right thing..rest.rest.rest!

    Kudos to you for showing her how to use the machine, but come on woman..she should be extra nice to her teacher!

    Have fun dominating on the rowing machine – it terrifies me because I’ve never been on it or really seen it used in my gym. Maybe someday…

  11. 03/15/2011 12:27

    I’ve strained my calf before–kind of on the inside near the top. A couple days of elliptical, ice, and rolling, and then just slow running did the trick.

  12. 03/15/2011 13:12

    Really sorry to hear you’re hurting so bad!! An oh, the irony of teaching your unknowing nemesis the rowing machine! Good karma is going your way, maybe it’s not showing up yet, but you’re owed bigtime. Feel better, sweetie.

  13. RunItOut permalink
    03/15/2011 14:09

    You need to rest the calf, maybe some massage or one of those foam rollers. Then I recommend compression socks when you start up your mileage again. I know, it is too tempting to try and run on it again to “test it out”.
    Also, I wouldn’t get off the rowing machine. I’d wear my headphones and act oblivious to her. Then she’ll get it – when she sees you on the machine, you’re gonna be while so find something else to do. There’s a 30 minute cardio limit on our treadmills when they are all taken. I just keep resetting my time as soon as I get to 30 minutes. I figure there are enough casual exercisers doing 1-2 miles that people can wait for. Sometimes I need to get a 12 miler in on the treadmill when it’s too snowy outside. Good luck – I hope that calf heals up soon and you can pound some pavement or trails!

  14. 03/16/2011 14:24

    are you serious: she hovers around waiting for you??? that would drive me nuts. in fact, i’d stay on the rower just to piss her off. (yes, i’m that kind of person.) sorry to hear about your calf. i only get minor pain in that area and it usually goes away pretty quickly. i guess for now just rest and keep rowing!

  15. 09/28/2011 06:58

    I recently injured by shin (bruised the bone) and was told to stay off for six (6) weeks. I am looking for an alternative work out and saw your blog on the rowing machine — did you feel that using the rowing machine did not add to your injury to your calf/shin area?

    P.S. sorry to hear of your calf injury — ditto on the hog!

  16. Bertram Slobodnik permalink
    02/27/2013 04:47

    Calf and thigh pain upon touching and flexing can result for a number of reasons, including sciatica, which produces pain along the path of your sciatic nerve that can be painful to the touch. Muscle cramps, strains and tears may also cause pain in your thighs and calves. Treatment and prevention options, such as cold packs, hot packs and stretching exercises, may help alleviate and prevent this discomfort in your legs. Consult your doctor regarding the specific nature of your pain.”

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