Friday, October 22, 2010

Life on the High Wire

I’ve been thinking a lot about balance this week. Lots of things have brought this on: thoughts about my cholesterol, the chocolate covered goodness that was delivered to my office on Monday, and an incident with my legs on Tuesday, which I’ll get to in a minute.

This is how important balance is…

  • All work, no play = someone who is probably cranky and not balanced
  • Staying up too late or constantly interrupted sleep = someone who is tired and not balanced
  • Sleeping too much = often a sign of depression, which can be caused by a chemical imbalance
  • Too many calories, not enough exercise = someone who is overweight and not balanced
 … see what I mean?

Tuesdays and Thursdays are a “two-a-days” for me. I run in the morning and I go to Muay Thai Boxing in the evening. It’s very, very important that I eat correctly and hydrate properly; otherwise I do not have the energy to get through the class. All day, I am actively aware of what I’ve eaten and how much I’ve had to drink. It’s a survival thing.

Tuesday evening after Muay Thai, I went home, showered and got something to eat. I watched maybe a half hour of TV and was ready for bed. As I started to get up from the sofa, both of my legs locked into charley horses in the inner thigh that went from my knee to the very top of my thigh. The pain was agonizing… and unrelenting. Poor Mr. Helen didn’t know what to do. He was hopping around our living room like a bunny until I said, “I think I’m going to be sick.” His response to which was to run into the kitchen and bring our full size garbage can to me (uh, OK, open garbage can will really make you sick!). The next thing he did was to run and get ice packs out of the freezer and come back and try to stuff them between my thighs, which were now clenched together as I hunched over and groaned in agony. This went on for 15 minutes. Finally they let up and Mr. Helen tried very hard not to laugh (because it is sort of funny to watch, even though the person is in pain). He helped me get up the stairs to bed, wherein I promptly did not sleep well because I was so afraid they were going to come back.

Of course, I immediately knew that for some reason, my electrolytes had gotten out of balance and I would need to figure out what to do to fix that on Thursday.

Side Note: on Tuesday when this happened, I craved salt all day and even more after my class. In fact, my “dessert” that evening was 10 roasted sweet potato strips, sprinkled with salt.

I did manage to fix it yesterday and my legs are finally starting to feel better.  As you can imagine, they've been really sore.

Today I’m trying to balance my carbs and electrolytes because tomorrow I plan on running 12-ish miles. I don’t want to crash and burn – or 'hit the wall' as it’s known amongst runners.

 I’m looking forward to that run and also to my ‘free’ day. Yes, I will be eating that chocolate covered cake bomb. I also plan on making Pioneer Woman’s Short Ribs and having a glass of red wine.   I'll probably watch some Reality TV, along with something like 60 Minutes.  I'll stay up late and sleep in late or maybe get up early and take a nap.This weekend sort of feels like a mini vacation. I don't know about you, but I need that balance in my life.

I’m grateful for these life lessons, although I’d rather not have anymore charley horses, thank you!


  1. That sounds like a weird experience with your legs.

    I love those days off, to me those are the Sundays and Friday nights when weekend starts.

  2. What a hard way to learn a lesson! Wow, that sounds horrible! Enjoy the ribs and wine!

  3. Amen to no more charley horses! I cannot believe we're doing 12 miles tomorrow...this is craziness! What time do you plan on starting? We will be running at 7am - and predicted low temp is 69 degrees. Sweat city, here I come.

  4. I've only had a cramp in my calves for a few minutes but it was excruciating. Can't imagine what that was like for you.

    Good luck with your run tomorrow!

  5. I just wrote a FABULOUS comment and effing blogger ate it. So now you get this:
    love this post about balance. The saying "keep both oars in the water" comes to mind. When rowing or sculling, if you don't keep the oars submerged and mindful, you will capsize.

    Enjoy your balanced weekend, your off day and your run with Shelley.

  6. Oh my goodness Helen, Charley Horses are extremely painful. I get them in my hamstrings all the time and they suck big time. Putting ice on them certainly does help bring the muscle back into alignment.
    When I'm suffering from a lot of them, my issue is not enough potassium.
    I hope you have a great weekend and can run without any discomfort!

  7. I think your weekend sounds great - don't spend the whole time cooking and cleaning :D

    I liked Leslie's response about "keeping both oars in the water!"

    Have a great weekend! I may or may not be buying that snowman :D

  8. I had to laugh when you said that Mr. H laughed. I can only imagine...must have been a hoot (not to be you).

    I could just smash that Pioneer Woman and her damn cooking.

  9. Gosh, I have never had a Charley Horse and I hope to never get any!

    It really is such a journey to try to find what our bodies need. Proof that no single plan works for all.

  10. Oh my goodness, I didn't know if I should laugh or cry for you! The big kitchen garbage can, really? Men!

    Young coconut water has lots of good stuff in it to get your electrolytes back in balance.

    I agree with you , I have to have a good balance or I end up getting sick. This week, not enough sleep and sure enough I got a cold sore and feel crappy!

    Hope you have a weekend of good balance.

  11. I'm sorry about your charley horse they really are agony.
    The only suggestion I have is if your going to work out longer than 1 hour on the day you need to supplement with Gatoraide or Powerade to replace electrolites lost through sweat. These drinks do taste really sweet so I add a little bit of water to mine to make them not so sickenly sweet. Of course if this keeps happening you need to get it checked out by a doctor.
    Hope your weekend is a great one!

  12. OUCH.... I have had those Charley horses before.. but it's been a few years.... 12 mile run..... will I ever catch up to you in running :) NOT... lol have a great day.

  13. Well, vicious Charley horses are not the way one usually wants to get a life lesson about balance, but I admire you for taking something positive out of it. Good luck to you and Shelley on your runs today, and keep on looking for that balance. Mine is terribly out of whack these days.