Following Monday’s sapp-tastic post, I felt the strong urge to offset all the emotional hooplah…
So I went and shot at some shit:
Actually skeet shooting is something that the men in my family have done avidly for as long as I can remember. I rarely accompanied them as I was far too delicate to traipse around a skeet field in the dead of an 9 month long New York winter. I much prefer the ‘once in a blue moon’ approach.
Following this outing, I noticed that my arms, which I though were at least somewhat strong (I’ll be damned if I can’t haul all my grocery bags up three flights in one trip – 2 trips are for the weak) are in fact relatively similar to octopus tentacles.
I used a 28 gauge Winchester, weighing in at an embarrassing 6 lbs. I shot one round before calling in quits and my arms still hurt. Someone (that would be me) needs to hit the free weights.
I also ran 10.2 miles the following morning. My last long run before my half on Saturday. It was gloriously cool for once and my route was pretty hilly so between the run, and the gun, I was, hands down, the most sore I’ve ever been – 48 hours after the fact. What the heck?
To Google I went!
Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is exactly what it sounds like, muscle soreness that reaches its peak around 48 hours after activity. Its a result of the microscopic tearing of muscle fibers due to new exercises or unusual exertion. Bingo. Apparently I don’t hold 6 pounds above my shoulders enough or run an adequate amount of hills.
Prevention is something that is fleeting when it comes to this – it’s often hard to realize your limits until you’ve already reached them. Also, there are very few known methods to preventing DOMS completely. This article states stretching doesn’t help, this article states cooling down doesn’t help.
It appears the only true method of avoidance is easing into an exercise – which of course busy people like us don’t have time for. Go big or go home.
What we can do, is attempt to ease the discomfort.
Foam rollers are all the rage now a days and although they aren’t very pleasant, can assist with recovery. I also like to pop a few anti-inflammatories, such as ibuprofen, following a run. I’ve yet to try an ice bath but apparently athletes swear by them although I’m hesitant to hop into an icy tub for fear I may go into shock.
Unfortunately, there is no straight up cure. And maybe it’s just me, but I get a mild, albeit painful, satisfaction in knowing that I pushed my body harder than normal. Don’t get me wrong, this is not something I enjoy feeling on a daily basis, but if this is the cost of a good, 10 mile hill run (with a little bit of target practice thrown in for good measure) I’ll take it.
P.S. This article by The Huffington Post is very informative and goes into detailed analysis of several muscle soreness remedies.