Last October I was swimming with my friend Jim who is an ubber biker and solid runner but not a fast swimmer. We were working on his swim together when I popped a tendon in my shoulder. It hurt like someone stabbing me in the front of my arm. That bad. I couldn't open a door with my left arm until late January. I could pull fine, but to recover my arm it hurt like hell in all strokes.
After months of rehab, stretching and strengthening, fast forward to the second week of February when I was cleared to swim 500 meters. No bad pain. Just sore from treatment. In training camp I was able to swim 2,500 to 2,800 yards but rather slowly. This wasn't an issue because we were so fatigued from cycling and running that swimming was a welcome stretch.
To yesterday. I didn't feel like swimming. As I walked into the pool I could almost feel my shoulder hurting and I hadn't done anything yet. I allowed myself to swim slowly in warm up, but I seemed to be moving fine. After about 1,000 meters (yes, my pool is meters) I started to feel good. 1:25/100 meters like a machine: over and over. I thought about training like I had in the early days of triathlon and a quote from the philosophy that I like to read. "Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance." - Samuel Johnson Even the older folks walking in the lanes next to me were nice. I had no reason to leave early or cut the workout short.
The biggest challenge of the workout was mental. When I left the pool I was curious if my arms would start to hurt. They never did. A big boost mentally. I didn't think this day would come, but it is finally here. No pain again when I swim. I'm still not interested in "Masters" swimming other than a group workout with some fast people. If they people aren't fun or are too serious about "TRAINING"...bite me. I'm gone. The idea of swimming a meet with a bunch of type A people isn't really interesting to me. I'm the guy who used to show up at masters meets on a Sunday after doing 10,000 yards of swimming, 4 hours of cycling, 1 hour of running and weights on Saturday...and then running a very hilly 11 miles BEFORE the swim meet. Gee...you touched me out and you were tapered for a stupid masters meet. Congrats dork. I did that all through college - swimming for "scholarship" dollars and the pressure. Swimming fast while physically exhausted.
I'm more about getting a solid workout in these days and having a laugh along the way. If I did swim a masters meet I'd swim my best events, IM and breaststroke and I wouldn't shorten my triathlon workouts for anything masters. I'd probably swim under a false name though. I do have some pride. A name something like "Otto Shappe", "Jack Daniels", "Joseph Cuervo" or "Al Szheimer".
It wasn't fast. It wasn't pretty. It was 3,000 meters and a cool down covered in 55 minutes. Time to start doing some speed work in there. Anyone looking for a laugh and a tough workout (not necessarily in that order) give me a call.