My parents raised my brothers and me in a very spartan-like atmosphere. We were raised to be tough and that acknowledging pain was a sign of weakness. And come on... who wants to be weak, right? My mom, who has no medical training, had no problems at all taking our illnesses into her own hands and diagnosing them herself.
I recall many a morning when I wasn't feeling too well and my mom would feel my forehead with the back of her hand, frown, and then feel her own forehead and declare... "Nope, you don't have a fever, in fact I'm warmer than you are. Off to school you go." We didn't own a thermometer. Because... well... we just didn't get fevers. Fevers only attacked the weak and sickly kids.
Stitches? Bah! Stitches are for wimps and wussies. It'll heal on its own. Scars are stories.
Sprained ankle??? Nahhh.. you just tweaked it.
Step on a rusty nail?? Puhlease. Like tetanus ever killed anyone.**
So, when as a teenager, I started having crampy, achy, stingy, needle-like pinching feelings in my legs at night... I was told by my mom that they were just "growing pains" and that I'd grow out of them. This was the most brilliant thing my mom could have ever told me. I endured that leg pain with pride, envisioning my legs getting longer and longer every night. I had dreams of Procrustes stretching me and making me supermodel tall.
But, when it became apparent that they weren't in fact "growing pains," my mom simply changed her diagnosis to hormonal. You see, once I hit puberty, my mom and her diagnoses hit the proverbial jackpot. From the moment I became a “woman” any and every medical issue I had was met with the response… “oh, honey, it’s just that time of the month. “ Even when it wasn’t. I swear when I broke a toe, she tried to push it off as not a broken toe, but as a symptom of my monthly visitor.
So, I just dealt with the night leg issues. It didn't really affect my life on a grand scale or anything... at most, it was keeping me up 5-7 nights a month.
And then... a couple of years ago, I started seeing commercials on television referring to the symptoms I had... my "growing pains" and then my "time of the month pains" as Restless Leg Syndrome. I couldn't believe it. You mean, I actually had a health issue that is real and has an actual name? NO. WAY.
Luckily, as I've gotten older, I've had to deal with it less and less... particularly, I've noticed, since I started running a couple of years ago. I rarely... maybe 5-7 times a YEAR have those crazy restless leg nights nowadays.
But, I did wake up in the middle of the night last night with it. It was actually pretty strange last night. Normally, it starts as I'm lying in bed trying to go to sleep... but, last night, I woke up around 2am with it. I tried to go back to sleep and ignore it, but eventually I had to get up and stumble around in my bedroom for a little while, trying to stretch and get some relief (even though... none of that stuff ever seems to help).
This morning, they were still hurting (again, a rare thing... usually I wake up fine). And I thought that a run might loosen them up a bit.
I had originally wanted to get in a hill workout, even with the achy legs, but when I stepped outside and noticed that it was snowing! And sticking! That was all the excuse I needed to skip out on a hill workout. (I mean… how devastating would it be to tweak an ankle??). But my legs grew more and more achy… less stingy and more achy as the run progressed. I finished at the 5 mile mark and my legs are still bothering me. I’m thinking that it’s possibly not Restless Legs… it’s Fatigued Legs and I’m glad tomorrow is a rest day (it’s been about 8 days since my last rest day).
Maybe I should call my mom and see what her diagnosis is…
** So... when I did step on a rusty nail, my mom did take me in for a tetanus shot... although... frankly, I'm surprised she didn't try to see how tough my immune system was. I mean... weeding out the weak only makes our family stronger, right?