It sure feels good to be back!
Ironically, just after submitting this article to Swimspire, my body decided to crap out on me all at once. After putting in several months of good training in the pool where I was feeling great (and racing my best breaststroke times in four years), my body rebelled. One day I felt great after a terrific workout, and the next day, I didn’t. That following day, an elbow injury from February and a shoulder repetitive stress injury from March—both land-based injuries that had not affected my swimming at all—decided to join me in the pool. For the trifecta, I aggravated the scar tissue in my hip—again. (Oh, and did I mention autoimmune issues returning with a vengeance?)
A visit to my orthopaedic surgeon resulted in a diagnosis of elbow tendonitis, shoulder bursitis, and a knowing smile about my hip. We both knew that it took two months to heal last time I aggravated the scar tissue, and it will take two months to heal again. “Don’t sweat it; you’ll be fine,” we both said with that smile to each other.
Meanwhile, I kept thinking to myself, “How do I listen to my body if it doesn’t give me any warning?” It sure makes training iffy.
It has been over two months since my body took a dump on me. I’ve been very diligent about doing the PT exercises Dr. Andrachuk prescribed. (Knowing I’ve had quite a past history in physical therapy over the years and was always diligent about doing my exercises, we both decided I would be fine on my own.)
Fortunately, I have mostly recovered– perhaps about 80%. I saw Doc at the end of June and received a positive report. Other than wanting me to lay off full butterfly and backstroke for awhile longer (I just started back at breaststroke), he said my prognosis was good for a complete recovery. “Let pain be your guide,” my past physical therapist always told me.
Although I missed the National Senior Games and will not compete at U.S. Masters Swimming National Championships, I did a few test swims in the pool to see if I could handle swimming (not exactly “racing”) an open water 1K race. I was fine, so I competed in the 1K at the Georgia State Games Open Water Meet, today. (I usually swim the 3K and 1K; however, I knew not to even THINK about that yet!)
What a blast! It’s always one of my favorite events of the year; I LOVE open water swimming! It felt great, and I was able to kick it up a notch to about 75% race-pace effort without repercussions. What a glorious feeling to be back in the groove again! I won a gold medal, too!! (I will admit, however, that I was the only one in my age group. Hey, you have to show up to win!)
It has been tough (both physically and mentally), and I am still very unsure what my body will be able to handle in the future. I am fearful of injuries– especially since they almost always come without warning. (For example, I’ve had two spontaneous floating rib dislocations and one at the sternoclavicular joint. WTF?)
Whether I will be able to TRAIN to RACE in the future remains to be seen, but even if my future means “swimming” my races rather than “racing” them, it feels GREAT to be back!