Thursday, February 20, 2014

Leg cramps, cadence and uprooting from the South Hills

Recently, I started getting leg cramps of a new sort. There's the usual calf leg cramps that nearly all women are used to getting in the middle of the night. When we turn into adults, these awful things are bestowed onto us for the rest of our lives, and I'm told they worsen during pregnancy.
Then I started getting cramps in my thighs, these are ten times worse. It feels like your muscles are tearing off of your bones. The first one caused me to bellow like a dying farm animal in our bed. Hubby's so used to my nighttime leg cramps he just lifted his head, asked what was wrong and said "Oh." and went back to sleep. How anyone can sleep through their partner writhing and whimpering in agony right next to them in bed, is beyond me.

I'm straining my gracilis and/or vastus medialis.
Googling "gracilis and vastus medialis cramps" brings up a mountain biking forum discussion in the first two results. How about that.
I've known about and employ the drinking more water and potassium/magnesium preventions, but pickle juice? Mustard? Never heard of that! I'm reluctant to try quinine.
I may stretch, take a swig of pickle juice (because, hey... pickle juice is delicious!) before bed and try the heating pad.
UPDATE: the morning after pickle juicing, stretching and using the heating pad, my thigh didn't spasm in the night and it feels fine. Considering I went to bed with the hair-trigger feeling that they were about to go into spasms, this is good news.

Cadence notes on flat parts:

I can get up to 85-90 but no more than 9.1 MPH and I'm spinning like mad.

If I concentrate on getting there, 75-80 and 11-13 MPH.

No more than 73.

Previously, my favorite gears were 2/6 and 2/7 on flat parts. I've switched down to 2/5.

Cadence on hills: achieving 85-90 on hills in a low gear (1/3) is easy.

I'm starting to wonder why I have a third ring on the crank. I never use it.


Hubby is giving serious considerations to moving. We have a very long, steep driveway and this past winter was his last straw after falling several times trying to walk down our skating rink of a driveway. Getting a car up a steep, snowy driveway is beyond challenging too. I'm surprised we haven't slammed into the side of the garage or slid on the ice down into the street and killed a child who was trying to walk to the bus stop.

My first thought is "Can I commute to work on my bike?" when considering a new home. He's leaning towards something in the North Hills, O'Hara township or Fox Chapel, which is better than the South Hills as far as riding a bike into Town, but it's further than I'd like. I'd like something in the City, but he won't hear of it. *Sigh*.
We need a house with a yard for the dogs and enough room and sunlight there for a vegetable garden. Having my garden back would be fan-freaking-tastic. I can't garden currently at our house because the backyard doesn't get enough sun.


  1. Pickle juice is so awesome, it's what gatorade aspires to be when it grows up. The cadence numbers are great, but I don't know why you were writing down those mph numbers, what does that matter? The question is: how did riding at 80 rpm treat you? Did you ever exhaust your legs, lungs, or spirit? Did you get up the hills? Did your legs-knees hurt more or less afterwards? Finally how about Oakmont; you know the bike route to work from there, right? As always, great post. Cheers, V.

  2. 80 RPM felt fine, but then again, I think 65-70 RPM feels fine on my knees too. If it takes pressure off my joints in the long run, I'll happily sacrifice MPH for RPM and lower the gears. I can't do the spinning like a madwoman thing for very long either... mainly because I feel silly and I'm going nowhere... slowly
    Oakmont? Hmmm, what would Allegheny River Blvd be like during rush hour? Slow bumper to bumper or cars screaming through at 40-50 MPH?

    1. Re the speed of cars on ARB, I have to admit: I don't care about my speed (just my cadence), I care even less about their speed. Srsly.

  3. Pickle juice? Is that the same thing as in the UK? The spicy vinegar drained from a jar of pickled onions? You drank that? Before bed? My sympathy is with your husband!

    It's horribly unsettling to think about moving. Some of us put down roots - friendships and routines as well as plants. It is hard to disrupt those. I managed to keep my husband 'just looking' for eight years before he finally wrestled me into our current house. I still wish we were back home.

    1. Actually, what we call 'pickles' are pickled cucumbers, so the brine is not quite as oniony. If Hubby can sleep through my leg cramp gyrations, 3 dogs tromping all over the bed all night...he can sleep through my pickle breath.

      I welcome moving, actually, it'll give us a chance to purge all the useless junk we've collected over the past 12 years. I just filled 2 trash bags when I cleaned out the computer room and it was liberating.


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