Saturday, April 14, 2012

An open letter to my left calf

Dear Left Calf Muscle,

I hate to call you out in public like this, but you leave me no choice. I've had many, many private conversations with you, to no avail.

We've been through a lot together. We go way back. Remember the old days? The glory days? Man, we were running 5-minute miles, we were leading the Iowa team in sprints up Wrestler's Hill, we were cutting massive water weight for big tournaments. And you, Left Calf Muscle, rarely cramped up, you recovered quickly, you were everything a person could ask for in a calf. Godspeed, sir.

But, to be blunt, you're not pulling your weight lately. Yeah, I know, we're not spring chickens anymore. Yeah, I know, we can both point fingers at the Knee Joints, and the Right Hamstring, and the Achilles Heels. And I know the extra 5 pounds I've been carrying around since 2008 haven't made it any easier on you. But this is about you.

So here's the deal. I'll promise to stretch you more, and give you occasional ice packs and massages. No more 6-minute miles (unless you feel up to it). We'll even try to do a little more light walking during the day, just to keep the blood flowing and the weight down. And did I mention all the ibuprofen you can eat? I mean it.

And in return? You stop cramping up all the time. A little soreness after a run? No problem. We'll even give you a couple days' rest between runs (unless it's a really sunny day). But, dude, no more 2-week breaks. Seriously. No more acting up on dinky jogs. And no more pulling simply to get my attention while we're walking up subway stairs. That makes me feel like an old man, and we both know that's a ludicrous notion.

Are we clear?



  1. Try extra hydration (drink more water)! This is the only thing that addresses leg cramping for me. I take a huge glass to bed with me and finish it off before I do my morning stretches in bed...otherwise, the calves cramp!

  2. your approaching 40 and can still crank out 6 min miles ? !!! And your going to complain that your left calf says no to 5 min miles ? Dude, get some perspective here, your not gonna get any sympathy here from the 40+ and 50+ crowd. FEW of us can run an 8 minute mile for just one mile without our knees & joints screaming at us. Let alone that extra 40 lbs most of us lug around. And if I may excercise my 1st amendment right of free speech rant> That whole Gable/Brands/Iowa wrestling cult is whacked in the head. Their whole existance revolves around winning a freegin' wrestling match in their minds. Workout zombies all of 'em. But YOU are smarter than that so PLEASE be wise enough to just go for a walk if your calfs say NO to 5 or 6min mile runs. Your 40+, NOT 22. You have a REAL life, enjoy it while it lasts and please, please please don't sweat this small stuff. BEST to leave that whole Culver wrestling workout room madness where it belongs -- -in the PAST along with your glory days of 5 min miles.
    By the way, YOU are a great writer, as such, the PEN has been mighter than the sword OR the takedown for milleniums so be proud. Imagine Terry Brands writing a paragraph about - anything ? LoL

  3. Okay, you make some valid points, Anonymous. In particular I like the part where you call me a great writer. But my plea to my calf is really less about me and how fast I can or can't run, and more about the universal experience of declining physical prowess, and how we all think, "Oh, it's just a temporary injury" rather than, "I'm aging." But in any event I enjoyed your rant and I proudly support your first amendment rights.