Monday, August 25, 2014

Where There Are Downs There Always Come Ups

Admitting I am in trouble when I am actually in trouble is not my strong part. So here I am saying that I was in trouble and I hope I am out of it :) On Saturaday morning I headed up for what was supposed to be an easy 10+ mile run on the roads and trails that I have already done several times here in Alpe di Siusi. Less than a mile in the run my calf muscles started acting up like towards cramping, any uphill incline and I had to walk, otherwise it would really hurt. I did little over 14 km (little less than 9 miles), but it was all suffering, being very upset that I cannot execute what I was easily doing all the previous days. It is mentally tough when you cannot perform as you performed just a day ago :(

After discussing the issue with The Coach we agreed I would relax for the rest of the day. It was raining anyway, so there was afternoon nap and sauna involved :) At least I could spend more time with my dad not leaving him on his own going for the afternoon run. Sunday morning I woke up really rested and looking forward to my morning run, taking it really easy. Unfortunately, the calf issue still persisted. What was upsetting was now my cardio was OK, on Saturday I was clearly tired after the full week of altitude training, but now I wanted to run and I felt the f***ing calves every single step of the easy flat 3.5 miles. Hmmm, very upsetting! So I got back to The Coach and some running friends and of course Googled the issue :D The suggestions were up magnesium, salt, hydration ... that's what I did and we went for a hike with my dad (see the previous post). On the hike the legs were totally OK, thank God!

Dad left in the early afternoon and I was off to treat my calves - I realized that my Compex Runner actually has anti-cramping program, so I applied it (oh, it takes 40 minutes whereas most of the other programs are more or less half an hour). After Compex I did self massage with warming emulsion to the troubled muscles and I also took a nap and I finally set for an evening attempt for run. There were tiny signs of tiredness in the calves, but I stayed on the flattest road here in Alpe di Siusi and also tried to consciously use all the other muscles to relieve the calves as much as possible. And it worked!!! Oh what a relief! I was the happiest person coming back from that run. See, where there are downs there are also ups :)

And that finally makes me come back to today's running, because as with the mental and training stuff, also literally when you run down, you have to run back up :D I was supposed to do a tempo run this morning and I wanted to take it to lower altitude and on flatter surfaces. Basically the only option I found in the Alpe di Siusi Running Park tracks was the Seis-Völs/Völs-Seis. As you can guess from the name it goes from one town to another and back. Yes, you can choose where you start, but given the calf situation, I did not want to start uphill, I wanted my legs to first warm up before I push them in the uphill section (way back). Also took some change with me, so the worse case scenario was taking the bus back to Seis if my calves start acting up.

Arriving to Völs, very beautiful views!

Breathtaking again!

Cannot stop admiring the nature here :)

Please, can I have one of these in the park I run :)

What a blessing half way in the run ... while up at my hotel it was 11 degrees Celsius, here it was 18 and sunny!

Altitude profile of my run :D (here is the Garmin Connect link)

Did some strength training after coming back and then I needed fuel! Ate the eggs first and then rice and fresh fruits and raisins. My body is just screaming for carbs here :D

Ups and downs also consider weather. I was super hot in my running tights and tshirt in the first run of the day. When I was getting ready for my afternoon run, the clouds were all around and it looked like damn cold weather outside. I planned to do 8-9 miles so took my hydration backpack, long sleeved tshirt and very light Nike track jacket and gloves (my hands tend to get very cold and the evening runs have big temperature drops). Fortunately I also added the Nike Aeroflot vest in my backpack... As my final climb to Panorama was to 2 100 m of altitude and after that it was basically lot of downhill, I was glad to have all the clothes. Felt so excited for finishing the same route 15 minutes faster than on that upsetting Saturday run!

Looking back at the issue, I have to admit that 95 % of my runs back home are pretty flat, I would say totally flat if I compare them with what I do here. So all these uphills and downhills took the toll and apparently the calves were the ones who were the less ready for the challenge.

Windy downhill cloudy selfie while running :)

 Garmin altitude graph and map from the afternoon run :) (Garmin Connect file)

Any experience with muscle cramps at altitude?

What were your weekend runs / races???

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