I was so excited to swim on Wednesday but it just wasn’t meant to be. I woke up with my ankle in a lot of pain. I have a boot that I sleep in that is less bulky than the air cast, but unfortunately it also allows for more movement. I’m not sure what I did in my sleep but I woke up because pain was shooting through my ankle. In the words of Happy Quinn: Not good.
I iced the crap out of it and went to my physical therapy appointment (thanks Obamacare) and it was feeling a little better. The doctor was pretty clear that I should not workout if the ankle hurts and so I was trying to decide if I was going to do the prudent thing and not workout unless the pain went away, or the jock thing of working out anyway, possibly prolonging the injury. The decision was made for me when I got what I assume was food poisoning, so that was that.
The only workout I got in on Wednesday was my first set of 250 crunches when I woke up.
Woke up and the ankle was feeling much better – swimming was going to be on!
I headed to the gym, got my cast into the cover and then it was showtime. One of the selling points about this waterproof cover is that it is buoyant – if it wasn’t, swimming was going to involve some contraption including two pull buoys and 2 straps around my legs, so this is better than that.
As I gingerly went down the steps and into the pool I realized that it was VERY buoyant – this was going to be interesting. I pushed off with my right foot and I was swimming – sort of. Several interesting things happened:
- The left foot was so buoyant that it pushed my upper body down into the water. Now, I’m a Total Immersion swimmer and so swimming “downhill” (with your head down and feet up) isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but this was a more steep downhill than I’m used to, which meant that when muscle memory told me to breathe, my entire face was still under the water. One coughing fit later I worked that problem out.
- The next obstacle was the turn. The shallow side of the pool was no problem, but the deep side posed a bigger challenge. The water is nearly over my head so I can’t just push off the floor like I do on the shallow side. I normally do an open turn, which involves pulling my feet under me to the wall. This was incredibly difficult to do with the cast, and even if I achieved it I was in a fix because I’m not supposed to push off with the cast. So I would let the left leg float, go under water and push off the floor, then off the wall, swinging the left foot under me as I went. This had the benefits of not just looking completely ridiculous, but also completely stopping my momentum and making the turn take an e-turn-ity (sorry, I couldn’t resist.) \
- In Total Immersion swimming the power comes from coordinating the spearing motion in the stroke with the rotation that comes from the hip drive that comes from the kick. With the cast on it just didn’t work the same so I felt like I was going nowhere. TI is a very technical type of swimming and so I didn’t want to mess with my stroke so I just went with the slower speed but, while I was certainly grateful to be back swimming, it was definitely a bit frustrating.
I was only assigned 1,000 meters (about .6 miles) and it took me 31 minutes. For reference, at that pace I would finish the IRONMAN swim in about 2 hours and 4 minutes (though that doesn’t account for being slowed down by the complete ridiculousness that is a triathlon open water swim,) which is still 16 minutes under the cutoff but isn’t nearly as fast as I normally swim. Also, I was pretty tired at the end of this which definitely isn’t normal for this length of swim.
I do feel like I got some good practice on my stroke since I was going so slowly and could really focus on head position and arm position throughout each stroke, and it was great to be back in the water and actually doing one of the three triathlon disciplines!
1000 meter swim