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Polymerase chain reaction is a cornerstone of molecular biology research. Using short pieces of single-stranded DNA called primers the previously invisible becomes tangible.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Used To Be

date: 04/16/05
time: evening
weather: 49 ºF, mostly sunny, wind N/NE at 12 mph
mileage: today-2, week-12.7, year-132.0
resting (bpm): 61
after workout (bpm): 102
weight: +28


Used to be I had some hop in my step. In seventh grade I could get backboard. In eighth grade I got half way up the net. Ninth grade was supposed to be the year I would get to the rim. In the winter of that year I was playing volleyball in P.E. when my hop left. I went up for a block and came down on the side of the foot of Spiker. I twisted my foot and tore some ligaments on my lateral right ankle. It was in a cast for two months. I never got to the rim, and my spring track jumping exploits pretty much topped out there.

Used to be I could eat and drink with impunity. As a child, my father was fond of saying that bringing me to a restaurant ensured we’d get our money’s worth. I could always be counted on to eat my meal as well as finish off everyone else’s. One summer during my college years, I found my self in the middle of a drinking exam involving a yard of beer. Passing the exam without a break earned me the nickname “Hoover-A-Okay.” Despite my gluttonous ways, I managed to remain the same weight for a decade and a half.

Well, what used to be is now firmly ensconced in the past. Today’s run was a total wreck. I warmed up on the first two miles, then decided to slowly work into a series of pick-ups. The first repetition was supposed to last twenty respirations. I’d count up to ten on exhalations then count down to zero slowly increasing running pace. As the rep’s would increase so would their duration. Between rep’s I would jog to recovery. I planned to keep this cycle going for about four miles. I got to six on the way down in the first repetition when I heard a pop and felt a cramp at the distal head of my right calf muscle. I hobbled off to the side. After unsuccessfully trying to work out the knot and successfully letting loose a number of choice expletives, I decided to limp home. It’s now Sunday night. The cramp is gone. Extreme tenderness remains. Today, I was able to hit some grounders and pop-ups to Nephew, but I still can’t bear full weight on my right side without a good bit of pain.

I've not quite crossed the line where one measures physical progress by delaying decline rather than improving performance. The improvements are, however, much harder to come by. And, one only needs to watch my weight yo-yo to see that the miraculous metabolism of youth no longer applies. I’m hoping to walk through my workouts the next few days and get back to running by the end of the week.


braine said...

Alas! Sounds like maybe the lateral head of the gastrocnemius muscle. Which is precisely what I strained in january, on my left calf.

Stretch, roll it with rolling pin, get a deep tissue massage (or, really, visit a doctor who knows what he or she is talking about, as opposed to me, who doesn't).

Primer said...

Yup, except with me the injury is at the gastrocnemius head closest to midline and towards my foot. That would make it the medial distal head as opposed to the lateral proximal.

How long were you down? Mine feels much better today (two days after injury). The area is still tender to the touch and I can only put about 60% of my weight on it before it starts to grab. Fortunately, there's no discoloration and everything seems to be in place. I'll get it checked out if it doesn't continue to improve this week.

braine said...

I was legitimately off the road for about two weeks, and excuse-ically off the road for about four or five (leading to eventual need for a 14-lb weight loss, just achieved last week).

I went to a doctor during that time who prescribed PT and advised having my wife use a rolling pin on my calf. I skipped the PT, opting for an advanced rest program (slacking) and the baking treatment.

Primer said...

Congrats on getting back to it.

I’m trying to reign in my recovery. The evening was begging for a run, but I settled for a short walk through State Park and around the polo field. M. and I watched a model plane guy until he crashed his remote into the middle of the field. He looked pretty bummed. The leg feels much better today, but there is still some pain even just walking around.

Two weeks, huh?