Farewell, pull buoy, it’s time to get my kick on! You became my new best friend on January 3 when Dr. Andrachuk said I could return to the pool after hip arthroscopy surgery, “…but NO KICKING!”
On February 9th at my follow up appointment, Doc gave me the green light to start working with my physical therapist, Chip Ransom on a more advanced strengthening-focused program. Still, though, I was told I had to wait another month before I could add hip extension with resistance to my program. My blue and white-striped pull buoy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pull_buoy) would have to continue being my pool buddy for another four weeks.
Is it March 9th yet?” Not to rush time (It’s already going by fast enough!), but that was the question I felt like asking each day leading up to the magic day my legs would be allowed to do their horizontal happy dance.
Don’t get me wrong. Any day I can be in the pool doing anything is a happy day. It has been pure joy, even if I had to create an entirely new framework for what a “best time” was for a practice race. Swimming a best time with only my upper body is entirely different than having all four limbs running full steam ahead. My pull buoy best time for my 500 yard freestyle is 50 seconds slower. It didn’t matter, though; it was just as exciting to hit the wall and look up at my watch at a new best pull buoy time as it was when I was running on all four cylinders.
In memory of my last two months of rehab, here’s a look back by the numbers:
2,000 – The total number of yards I swam each day, averaging six days per week. Even if I felt like swimming more, I limited my yardage to protect my shoulders. (Swimming with a pull buoy and no kick is ALL shoulders.)
200 – The maximum number of total yards I swim butterfly for the same reason.
55 – Miles I have swum since I was allowed back in the water on January 3rd.
51 – Days I have swum since my plunge back in the pool.
45-60 – The number of minutes I average each day doing my physical therapy exercises for both lower and upper body.
45 – The number of repetitions I do of each exercise.
30 – The number of different exercises I learned in PT that I added to my master list to pick and choose from on any given day.
1 – The number of shoulder-friendly stroke revisions I made to reduce stress on my rotator cuffs. I adopted the Scapular Plane Swimming Technique which emphasizes keeping the hands and arms within my peripheral vision at all times. On recovery, the elbow stays lower to the water but is still kept higher than the wrist.
0 – The number injuries I sustained while training exclusively upper body with a pull buoy and no kick.