Yesterday I went to run a quick ten miles. I had my warm-up planned and knew when I was ready to increase the pace. I encountered rain, wind and hail. For me that is motivational as I figure anyone can run on a nice day but it takes dedication (or foolishness) to run in nasty weather. My pace was quick, legs felt good and my breathing was well under control. At mile 5.31 I felt a twinge in my left calf, not the right one, not the one prone to cramping, but the good one, the calf I can rely on. And then, boom! A cramp. I slowed the pace and tried to stretch it out. I walked a bit but that did not help. I was able to jog very slowly until mile 7 and then walked the rest of the way home. I had to cut my run short and was much slower than I had wanted.
What causes a cramp? Dehydration, lack of nutrition, over use of the muscle and several other factors. My hydration and food intake for the week were not good. I'm pretty sure that was the issue.
How do you treat a cramp? When I got home I soaked my legs in an Epsom salt bath, used a foam roller and lacrosse ball and then put on some compression socks. Oh, and rest. Which is, for me, the most difficult.
Now, when you are going through life and get a "cramp", that is, an experience that forces you to slow down and maybe call for help, how do you get through it? Maybe soak yourself in God's Word (there is nothing sweeter), talk to a trusted friend for some external perspective and get a hug from a loved one. Oh, and some rest.