You know those people who use physiology phrases like 'kinetic chain' and 'glutes firing correctly' and 'activate your psoas'? Yeah, well, I will admit that I would hear those phrases and briefly wonder if they were onto something... and then my mind would wander and I would start to hear 'psoas blah blah glute blah activation blah'... and then I would put my run shoes on and head out the door for another 20 miler.
Enter this recurring calf injury and this time around I'm finally (!!) taking the stance that something is not right with something along that mysterious kinetic chain of mine and since I don't really know what the hell the kinetic chain is I have sought out the help of local professionals who do. I've been poked with needles and brutalized with that graston tool and had my knots forcibly removed via Active Release Therapy... I've used golf balls and trigger point balls and tennis balls and finally think I've pretty much got that calf to stop being so pissed off. But now I'd like to keep it that way... so I sought out the help of yet another local professional who was highly recommended by several of my athlete friends here...
Talking with Anica on the phone the other day she was telling me about how when something along that mysterious kinetic chain of ours is not working as it should, other muscles jump in and compensate... They end up doing jobs that are not really theirs to do... She described muscles as each having their own personality types... some are lazy and won't step up to do their job unless they are forced to by the master brain... while others, like the quads and IT Band, are like big bullies and will step in and work in capacities they're not meant to- but they can so even though the job might not get done as efficiently, it gets done. Some muscles, like our calves, will take on jobs that aren't theirs and do them without complaint for quite some time until they finally just get PISSED and go on strike by just completely shutting down. I'm not surprised that my calves are my personal weak spot... my personality is similar to theirs... I do jobs that aren't really mine to do (I pick up the slack when others don't do it) and just keep my mouth shut about how pissed off I am about it all and then one day just blow up and LOSE IT at something that seems totally trivial.
Anyway, with that explanation over the phone I was really looking forward to meeting with Anica this morning. Our time together was awesome. First of all she is just super cool and is the type of person who just truly wants you to function at your best. And while obviously she is not the only professional who understands this stuff, in my experience she has been the best at teaching it. It seemed like her goal today was not simply to fix me, but to teach me how to keep my body functioning the way it was meant to function. That, and she's also really obsessed with butt muscles. She showed me how to access some little butt muscles that typically are just slackers... but now I have the tools to shout at them "HEY BUTT MUSCLES!! WAKE UP!! We're going out to play and you need to work today so those calf muscles of mine stay happy..."
So now I'm thinking about how I can work with Anica going forward... thinking about putting together a small clinic for some of my local athletes so she can pass on the gems she taught me today. I've now got a little 10' warm up routine to go through each day before I go run that should light up my kinetic chain like a lightbulb and keep me functioning correctly. I'll let you know if it worked at the Honu finish line! :)