Friday, March 13, 2009

The Rise and Fall of Matt the Runner

You have missed so much over the past 6 weeks, you have no idea.

First let me answer the question on everyone's mind: Why haven't I posted anything here since early February? Have I been slacking off? Have I fallen off the wagon? Have I hopped aboard the one-way train to Fatsville, USA? (aka Detroit)

None of the above, my friends. I was silent because I was spending my free time running instead of blogging!

Here's the short version:
  • Longtime Still Waiting visitors will no doubt remember that I have long had issues with tight calves. For some reason, after 10-15 minutes, my calves would tighten up to the point where it was difficult for me to keep running. This problem has plagued me ever since I can remember.
  • One day in February, I figured out why my calves were so tight and how to fix them. I had been very concerned that the tightness was due to Compartment Syndrome, which seemed to match my symptoms exactly. The only cure for that is surgery. Desperate, I Googled and Googled until I figured out that the tightness might be caused by Trigger Points -- knotted up parts of the muscle. The cure for that? Deep Tissue Massage. I took my thumbs and found the part where my calves were tightest and I PUSHED DOWN HARD. After 5 second, the pain dissipated. I repeated that treatment on both legs, several times a day. And a miracle happened: My calves got the blood flow they needed to rebuild themselves, and I was able to run as long as I wanted with no tightness!
  • Literally. As long as I wanted. I picked up a heart rate monitor and planned to keep my pulse in the 150s. It turns out that as long as I jog slowly, I can keep my pulse in the 150s, and this way I don't fatigue myself and I can basically go indefinitely. One day last month I went out the door and ended up jogging almost 5 miles, with just a little walking thrown in every 10-15 minutes or so. It was amazing. The next week, I went out and, for the first time in YEARS, jogged 30 minutes without stopping.

  • I was unstoppable. Or so I thought.....
NEXT TIME: Too Much, Too Soon OR "What the heck is a Stress Reaction?"