I'll admit it. I am a wuss. I don't like pain, discomfort or any activity that tends to cause pain and/or discomfort. I like easy runs, swimming and really want to replace my bike saddle with a twin size pillow top mattress. That might alleviate the occasionally "seat" pain that happens post bike ride.
So yesterday, in keeping with my I feel good swimming routine, I went to the pool. I actually had the entire outdoor pool all to myself for almost 20 minutes - swam 3 500's in a row when all of a sudden
DEAR MARY, MOTHER OF GOD - my left calf muscle is on fire. Yes, I know that is impossible as it is submerged in 7 feet of chlorinated water, but it burns, and hurts, and won't flex and WOWZERS that hurts.
I can't kick.
I can't bend my foot or leg.
My calf is throbbing, burning firelike pain.
I want to scream under water. I want to rip my leg off to make the burning stop.
I hop to the side of the pool, holding my leg like a gimpy puppy. I massage it. Pain continues. I pray to myself "DEAR JESUS HELP ME" (Much like the scene in Taledega Nights where Ricky Bobby runs around - enjoy it again)
I got out of the pool, walked around - limping, embarrassed I have not finished my swim... and the pain stops. My foot, calf and ankle relax, and I am fine.
WOW. That was odd I thought. What in tarnation caused that little episode?
According to the interwebs, "Sudden pains that show up during physical activity, such as walking, are usually a sign of what doctors call arterial insufficiency...is usually seen in the form of intermittent claudication. In this condition the painful cramping quickly comes and goes. It's always preceded by exercise, when the muscle demands more blood, and it's completely relieved within five to ten minutes of stopping the exertion that produced the pain."
Well - yes, so what does that mean Dr. Internet?
"Think of claudication as a heart attack of the lower leg," explains Joseph M. Giordano, M.D., professor and chief of surgery at George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C. "If blood flow is obstructed, the increased needs of the muscle aren't being met, and the attack occurs. With immediate rest, the muscle's blood demands return to normal, and the pain goes away."
A HEART ATTACK OF THE LOWER LEG. MAN - I should have taken today off.
Dr. Internet continues: "Intermittent claudication is a relatively benign and manageable condition... At its worst, the condition can produce painful, slow-healing ulcers or even gangrene."
So what can I do about it to prevent this burning fire like pain from returning?
Go Home? Put my feet up? Eat potato ships for salt and carbs?
"Hoof it till it hurts. Though walking brings on intermittent claudication, a walking program is the first step in treating it. "You should walk until you reach your level of pain tolerance," says Dr. Giordano. "When you reach the point where you can't stand the pain anymore, stop. Push yourself a little more each day, keep increasing the distance, and gradually the condition will become less prevalent."
Great. Just what I wanted to hear. The only way to get over this painful thing, is with more exercise. What a pain.