Feeling humbled

I like to see myself as a healthy person.   During my injury, I have been on my windtrainer for about 100 miles/week and I make it to yoga 3 or 4 times a week.  When I am not injured, I am running – a lot and well.  I feel strong.  I feel fit.  But when I get into the water,  I am quickly humbled.

I am not a good swimmer and I am finding that frustrating.   Years ago, before kids, I was in the water five times a week – slow but able to swim 1600 metres without stopping and strong enough to swim over 5 miles a week.  During that time, I taught myself how to breathe bilaterally; during the 20-odd years away from the water, I managed to forget everything that I learned.

Leaving the pool – and sporting the wet look.

So here I am, 55 years old,  trying to relearn old tricks.    For the most part, I think my strokes are good, but I am slow.  With practice, I have figured out bilateral breathing again by slowing down my stroke and focusing on the count: 1, 2, 3 (breathe), 1, 2, 3 (breathe) and so on.   Now the crawl is a little easier, and I might even be a smidge faster, but I still feel completely out of shape when I swim from one end of the pool to the next.

I’m trying to stay positive, though.  I’m swimming again, and I have swum more in the past 6 months than in the past 20 years.  That’s progress.  Also, I am intentionally keeping my distance at the low-end for now (500 to 750 metres) while I focus on breathing and skill, and I am getting it – more progress.  I still have goals in sight;  by the end of the month, I hope to be able to swim 1000 metres and, if things go better, swim more than 100 metres without feeling like my lungs are going to explode.

Commitment: a new lock for the pool.

For me, swimming is hard.  But other things have been tough too: running after an break (like pregnancy or an injury), cycling in cleats for the first time, getting into a crow position in yoga.  Swimming is just one more challenge to add to my list of things to accomplish; I have done it before and I will do it again.  It may take me a while to get to where I want to be, but I will get there.

 

Oh, What a Feeling!

After finally being able to run consistently, every other day, for the past 3 weeks, I have a renewed energy.   I can’t get too excited since running still hurts, but it isn’t the “Ow, I am broken” kind of hurt that I had all fall; nor is it the “I’m so out of shape” feeling that we often get when we have been off for a while.  It’s a stiffness, a type of knot, a sensation that I really can’t describe.   I like to think of it as a “healing pain” to remind me of Tammy and Izzy, my unruly tenants who moved in during the summer and fall, and of all the work that I have been doing to evict them.  It’s a message to not push myself just yet – to be careful.

At my chiropractic visit on Saturday, Sandy asked how my legs and hips were feeling.  “It’s just my glutes,” I told him, “and the very top of the back of my thigh.  I feel like I have gone for circle.”  In July,  I went for a massage because those were the two areas that were bugging me, but that treatment led to a chain reaction of a tightness, pain and tears.  “That’s it?” he replied.  “That’s good.”   “Well, my quads were killing me earlier in the week, but that’s because I am an idiot.”

You see, I am running but it isn’t enough – in terms of distance or intensity.  I need more of both. While I love that I am back on the road and running, I don’t feel like I am getting much out of that time healthwise, so I am keeping up with the lunges, bridges, planks, cycling (windtrainer) and yoga that I have committed through the fall.   Somehow, through my determination to get stronger and a touch of bad planning, I somehow managed to do everything within 24 hours.

On Monday night, I hit yoga class (warmed up with my bridge routine) at 6:00 and rode on my windtrainer after that.  Tuesday morning, I did my 360 lunges at school, ran 5K after school and had a chiropractic treatment at 6:00, 24 hours after my Monday night yoga class.  Then, to top it off, I rode for an hour before going to bed because it seemed like a good idea at the time.   When I woke up the next morning, my legs were sore!  But it was a good kind of sore, the kind you get when your muscles have been pushed and are tired, the kind of sore that feels better as you move around through the day, the kind of sore that feels great!

I haven’t had that feeling in months.   Sandy laughed after he heard my insane description, especially with the treatment details in the middle.  “You are obviously doing everything you can to get stronger and that’s okay.  It’s okay to feel sore.  Just overdo it.”

I don’t think there is a chance that I could ever repeat that Monday/Tuesday- at least, not in the near future.  But the satisfaction of thinking about what I did makes me smile.  It’s made me realize how far I have come in my overall fitness in the past 7 months and it gives me hope for chasing dreams and crushing previous times.   It makes me feel great!  So I won’t say “never again.”  We’ll see how long it takes me to lose my mind again.