This post goes out to my University of Michigan socialist sociology instructor. He was a fairly radical activist, and I am pretty sure was responsible for the nightly spray-painting graffiti "Can the land be owned? Can the air be owned?"
He would come to class each day eating a hot dog, and explain how the street vendor hot dog cart had its origins in Capitalism and then explain the Marxist implications.
I wanted to tell him he had mustard on his always unshaven face, but that would have been so bourgeois of me.
A Marxist Revolution!!
My legs have revolted and gone on strike.
Yes, my legs are the proletariat of my running world. They are the tireless working class heroes who support everything. And when I honor and appreciate them, they are masters of their environment and kings of the world.
My ever-pumping heart is the capitalist, providing the funds to keep my body moving. And my lungs are the government, letting the right amount of oxygen trickle into my running economy to make sure I keep flowing forward efficiently.
And my brain is the investor, always deciding how much risk to invest, when to run that 20 miler, do some speedwork, run some hills, or sign up for a tune-up race, constantly trying to get the best return on my investment.
Well, my brain has finally abused my legs to their breaking point. Tuesday, I went for what I hoped would be a 8 mile run, and every half mile my calves tightened and restricted so much I couldn't undo them. They had my running in a stranglehold, and while in times past I could make them work for me with sweet talk and warm ups until they would release instead of squeeze so tightly like a ball of rubber bands wound tight, this was just not to be. They got worse. I only finished six miles and did so in half mile runs and then 100 yard walks, followed by quarter mile runs and then 100 yard walks.
Sure, they have tried to revolt before but have always been appeased. I ice them to sleep and they feel happy. I warm them in snugly calf sleeves. I promise them some nice muscle building supplements which make them grow and adapt. I give them long weekends and days off. I try to remind them that in thirty days we will start our NYCM taper.
They even have their own personal masseuse who makes them purrrr. Yes, everyday I give them a nice, long, orange foam rolling treatment.
No matter. This has not worked, and they are done. They are now tapped. Tapped out. Four 20 plus mile runs, a bit more hills and speed thrown in, and weekly mileage that has finally topped out at 40 a couple of times. Not to mention switching to a new minimalist shoe, the Kirvana 3's, which my brain, the investor, has committed to, yet the legs are still in union negotiations to see if they approve.
"We're not as young as we used to be," they remind me, "and there's age groups for a reason. Stop expecting the same thing from us."
I have felt blood pulsating to my calfs as I sleep, clear evidence of a ready to be injured state. They hurt to the touch in certain places, and just one day off hasn't taken this away.
Sure, I place all the blame on my calfs, but my thighs have been revolting as well, and my knees certainly arent' happy. If only I could have them blame each other. If only the calves would blame the thighs, and if the thighs then pointed fingers at the knees as the source of the problem. Then they would fight each other, instead of revolting against the leadership, the head and heart who want them to just keep working, just keep working, and let us reap the benefits.
But, I need some rest. I will count my blessings that my brain has invested wisely so far into the right kind of workouts to have me ready to rock NYCM, but not so much that I have had to take time off for injury.
The thing is, as much as my legs benefit from running, it is my head and heart I am really running for, and as long as my legs will keep being the workers, I will chase the dragon down and gather up all the highs that lift my heart and make my head so full of fancy.
I"m taking four days off in a row from running. This is day two, and on Sunday I am hoping to do a 20 mile run with the Brooks-Hanson group. If I feel in the right kind of zone, it will be a progressively faster 20 miler.
Please don't tell my calves all of this. Let them rest and enjoy their break. Sunday morning at 7 am it's back to work. And as much as my brain can plan when and where and how to spend its time, it is my legs who are in complete control.
If they only knew their power.