Apparently we have a tendon or muscle or something in the back of each leg that's called a ham string.
Or maybe a hamstring.
I've never given it much thought before.
But I have read that runners can injure their hamstrings.
And I have read that Laser sailors can injure their hamstrings.
I've never had a problem with my hamstrings.
Through running or sailing or too much sitting at a desk or pulling up a little weed or putting my socks on or some other similar dangerous activities, I have at times hurt my ankles and my knees and my lower back. About once every year or two I do something stupid like that and end up having to lay off sailing and running for a while.
But I've never had a problem with my hamstring.
At least not until this week.
I went for a run on Thursday. Not a particularly strenuous run. Some half mile intervals on the East Bay Bike Path. I've done this workout many times before.
But this time I started getting a pain in the back of my left leg. And every interval I did it was getting worse. So I eventually gave up and walked slowly back to the car.
I guess I had done something bad to my hamstring. The left one was very tight and sore.
So I looked up on the Interwebs what to do about a hamstring strain, as one does.
Apparently there are lots of causes for a hamstring strain.
For some of the causes, some gentle stretching is recommended.
For other causes, then stretching is apparently the worst possible thing you can do.
Thank you Interwebs.
So I decided to treat myself with some rest and some gentle stretching.
I'm not sure why I've messed up my hamstring after so many years.
Maybe I overdid it in the 10 mile road race I ran last Friday evening. It was hard going in the heat and humidity.
Maybe it was from trying to modify my Laser hiking style from type 1 to type 2 as I discussed in my post, Paul Goodison on Hiking Style. I did go out and practice this a bit on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Damn you Paul Goodison.
Or maybe it was from sitting around doing too much blogging? Damn you Fred A. Mabbett.
In the latest North American Laser Class newsletter, Ari Barshi from the Laser Training Centre in Cabarete wrote an article about feedback he received from some ISAF coaches. Apparently they told him to work harder upwind. (Although Ari is already so fast upwind and downwind I really wish he would ease off a bit so the rest of us have a chance of staying anywhere near him.)
Ari also learned from the coaches that the way to avoid injury is to warm up before sailing, stretch on the water between races and drills, and most importantly stretch after derigging the boat.
Ah ah! I have been neglecting my stretching routines lately.
Maybe I should have stretched my hamstrings after that road race.
And maybe I should have stretched my hamstrings after trying to hike differently on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
So, as it turns out, it's a good job I didn't register for the Buzzards Bay Regatta this weekend. I wouldn't have been able to sail anyway.
I just did some gentle stretches. Now I think I will do some gentle exercise. Perhaps mow the lawn.
Or go to the store and buy some more rum.
Why is the rum always gone?