calf cramps

Bottomless Pit

Wednesday morning I had an early appointment before work. The plan was to head to the gym before my appointment, then I realized last week my membership was expiring. I decided to go anyway and see if I could work out despite it being lapsed. At the very least ask the salesperson trying to get me to sign up if I could have one more morning to workout before “making a decision” on the gym membership (snicker).

I got up early, had a snack (English Muffin) and headed to the gym. When I got to the gym there was no one at the counter where I checked in and no salespeople lurking in the sales area. I saw the usual counter girl, whom I really like and chat with, helping some other people. She said “Hi Lisa!” and waved. I waved back and decided–hey, no one at the counter……why not?? Sure it was sneaky. Technically I wasn’t a member anymore. But…..yeah, I don’t feel guilty.

First up: treadmill. I haven’t run since last Saturday when my run was cut short with a calf cramp. The cramp had gone away–I was able to swim on Sunday and bike 24 miles on Monday with no issues. I thought I was okay by Wednesday. I started slow and felt okay.

I got sucked into an episode of Supernatural (yum yum) and was enjoying the empty gym in the early morning hours. Then about 3/4 into my first mile my right calf started to cramp AGAIN. UGH. I slowed to a walk for about a minute then decided to try and run through the cramp. It was my last chance to use the gym and I was just tired of this cramping business.

I was able to run it out and finish my run but my leg still feels cramped up. I have no idea what is causing it. I foam roll, I eat healthy, drink water, stretch….what’s up?? Runners: give me advice!

Run Stats:
Time: 50 minutes
Distance: 3.75 miles

Not a bad distance despite my calf discomfort. I really wish this cramp would knock it off already. If I’m going gym-free for awhile I’ll be spending more time running.

After my run I limped down the stairs to the weight room and did my last weight session at the gym. Sad face. Felt sad. Sure I can buy some free weights to do at home but it’s just not the same.

I spent a good amount of time using the plated weight machines for chest and back since I won’t have access to them. Then I finished up with the free weights. I’ve noticed that I’ve lost a LOT of my strength since taking a month off from weight lifting.

Finally, I spent some time doing some ab work and then did a LOT of stretching. I ended my workout with the foam roller–paying extra attention to my stupid calf muscles. Ugh.

Gym Stats:
Time: 1:33
Calories Burned: 778

I hurried home to shower and eat before my appointment. I put on some muscle rub to see if that would help my calf.

For breakfast I scrambled 2 eggs with chopping red onion, 1 slice of ham chopped and topped with salsa, sour cream and beans. It was a big breakfast but exactly what I needed after a killer workout.

I was hungry in an hour.

Whenever I work out in the morning before work, I am a total bottomless pit the rest of the day. It doesn’t matter if I bring enough food to work to eat throughout the day, or if I eat good, filling foods–I am still starving.

I had leftover pizza for lunch (mmm carbs) and was still hungry. Ate a hard boiled egg as a snack. That took the edge off, then I was hungry again. Stupid hunger!

QUESTION: What’s the deal with my calf cramping?

A Visit From Charlie

…Charlie Horse that is. What the hell? But let me get to that in a moment.

I got home from work on Tuesday and the weather was a little too iffy to attempt another bike ride outside. Michael worked on the garden outside, filling the composter, and I went back to the trusty ol’ Nike Training App workout. I checked out the new Law & Order LA (I love all the shows) while I worked out at home.

I did the Action Figure workout on the app and was dripping in sweat within 10 minutes. The High Knee Runs and Straight Leg Kicks will make your thighs burn!

Instead of the “Recover” portion I did the Bosu Ball as an “active recovery.” Michael recently bought a Bosu Ball to do his physical therapy exercises at home. He’s had back/hip issues since December and the weekly physical therapy has really helped him a lot! Our lives are so much better now because of it. On the Bosu Ball I stepped up, then stepped down to the side and repeated to the other side. I don’t know what you’d call it, but it works the hips.

I did a bunch of those exercises on the ball whenever it was “Recovery” time on the app or it was an exercise I knew I couldn’t do. For Example: the Ski Jump to Cross Back Lunge. I skipped that one because it had “This Will Cause Knee Pain” written all over it! Plus I was already doing quite a lot of squat variations with this workout.

I like the Sumo Squat with Press a lot. I was able to do the Plank Row to Rotation (which made me pretty happy). And Michael walked into the living room when I was doing the Modified Burpee. He commented that I was able to do the Push Ups the “real way”–and a lot of them! All this time I’ve been discounting my efforts and saying that I couldn’t do pushups when in reality I CAN do them! And for real, too. I think all the weight lifting I’ve been doing has paid off.

Confession: I didn’t feel anything when I was doing the Reverse Crunches. I wonder if I did them wrong or something? And the Inch Worm to Push Up felt like a waste of time, so I swapped in the Modified Burpees for that too.

After 30 minutes of the Action Figure workout, I was ready to hop on the bike trainer. I was feeling really good about my abilities thus far. I also burned a nice amount in that 30 minutes:

I hopped on the bike trainer and did another 40 minutes on the bike. That’s when it happened: The Charlie Horses! Oh my god, I’ve never experienced something like this before. It happened as soon as I started pedaling. I had a weird cramp in my right calf muscle. It stopped pedaling and it went away. Then it happened in my left calf muscle. I looked down at my form to see if it was something I was doing but I don’t think I was pedaling in a weird way.

I kept pedaling and in about 5 minute intervals the cramps came back. They’d only last a second or two, and they weren’t painful enough to make me stop cycling. But I honestly can say I’ve never experienced something like this. What is it?? Am I lacking something in my diet? (I heard that bananas can help cramps.) Did I do too many squats before getting on the bike? Not enough water? Someone PLEASE tell me what the heck happened.

Whenever the cramping came I slowed down the rotation of my pedaling. I don’t feel like I got a very good workout on the bike as a result. I probably didn’t even do 10 miles last night. It was pretty disappointing considering I have my sights set on training for 40 miles next month!


Time: 1:13

Calories Burned: 613

Despite the Charlie Horses I burned a nice amount in the hour. Even when I was running a lot I never had Charlie Horses. I am totally baffled by this phenomenon. I finished up with some stretching and then Michael’s old roommate, Shoe, stopped by. He hung out for a bit and it was really nice to catch up with him. While we were all chatting I was fixing dinner. Check back this afternoon for the amazing recipe! I love this new recipe I tried. So tasty!

QUESTION: What the heck happened with my calves???