Muscle Fatigue

Pain. You hear about it all day long. It’s on TV, there are billboards for pain clinics, commercials for pain management pop-up on Facebook and there are ads in newspapers and magazines. It seems like there are a lot of Americans suffering and there is a lot of money to be made by selling drugs for pain relief.

I wonder about pain. I’ve experienced pain. I’ve crashed while cycling, been hit by a car, broken bones, messed up a knee playing football,  tripped while running and smashed into rocks, jumped and landed on a nail that went through my foot, jumped onto a steel rod that slid into my leg, and a host of other cuts and bruises that led me to the ER. There they’d patch me up and most times send me home.  The steel rod that I jammed in my leg required surgery and a 3 day hospital stay before they sent me packing.

A good friend of my is an ER Physician. He’s father to a pile of boys that play hard and frequently there’s an accident.  He tells them, “You’re not having fun until someone is bleeding.” When they get hurt he fixes them and sends them to find the next interesting trauma.

I suppose I have a high tolerance for pain. The physicians treating me always gave me a supply of drugs for the big injuries. I never took them. I maintain a different type of ache.

It seems like I have been sore all my life. That is muscle soreness. Not the delayed onset of muscle soreness – I get that too. (Have it right now from racing a few days ago.) My soreness is that non-stop post workout feeling one gets from exertion.

To be fair, I don’t really mind it. Being sore says to me I gave, whatever the training or practice I completed, a solid effort. You think, being an archer, it is my shoulders and arms that ache. You’d be correct. I shoot a lot, trying to catch the grand master archers that have decades of a head start. It makes me sore. But, it doesn’t end there.

My legs and feet are achy from running and riding a bike. I’m also sore from hacking down trees with an ax and hauling them away. I’m sore from both play and work. (Both seem a bit like fun to me.) And to be honest, I enjoy the ache. I rest well and sleep solidly.

When I consider people that don’t work their bodies I feel sorry for them. I’ve enjoyed hard play all my life. Picking up archery didn’t mean ending other forms of fitness training. They have become an adjunct to shooting.

Sure, if you add cardio to archery you’re likely to end-up becoming sore. You may find that it isn’t pain you’re experiencing. It is a warm glow that reminds you that your engine can still run. (You won’t need an opioid to deal with it, either.)

2 thoughts on “Muscle Fatigue”

  1. Interesting, this could become philosophical. Is the “typical” daily/weekly pattern generally soreness with periods of relief or vice-versa? The challenges, work and trials of life seem to be the normal pace which is interrupted with periods of rest, relief and recreation. To find meaning, even satisfaction, in the difficulty is so important. Maybe that applies to the soreness you describe.

    1. Hi Jonathan,

      Well, it depends. Say I find a comfortable pattern and don’t push. In that situation I don’t get the same degree of soreness. There may be some but not all that noticeable. Now, say I push outside of the comfort zone. Maybe I go longer and faster on a run. Or I add intervals that I hate and rarely do. I’ll be more sore the next day. It holds true for cycling. I try to create and adhere to specific training plans that help avoid really being sore. I wouldn’t head out tomorrow and run another marathon – I haven’t trained for that distance in years. Lately, I’ve been working a lot outside of my comfort zone to build more endurance specific to longer runs and archery. I’ll work up to a peak load then taper back a bit, have a specific recovery period and start the cycle over. Overall, it is satisfying especially when the results are good.

      Last week, when I raced, I’d only planned to have an easy run. Then, I saw the crowd and decided I wanted to place. It was an extremely hilly course – much more so than my morning run course behind my house. I pushed harder than I intended just to get 3rd. I paid for that lack of planning.

      Hope all is well with you, Linda and the kids. I just got a little paper accepted for the AARCTimes. It should be out soon. Also finished an abstract for a sports medicine congress. Holding onto that until there’s a meeting that’s not so far away.


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