|Ironman swim start - now scarier than ever.|
Biking with a broken rib was the EASY thing. Running was a little harder because it requires upper body movement and impact, but after a week off, I've been able to get a few decent runs in. Knowing I have a tendency to trip and fall even on flat roads, I've become much more vigilant about potential hazards. That can only be a good thing. Another positive, right?
I had to find out what I was up against as soon as possible, so yesterday, I tested the waters (literally) - I got up early and went to the pool. As it turned out, my fear (or dread) of the act of swimming was much worse than the actual swimming itself. In addition to rib pain, I was expecting a degree of discomfort in my shoulder as well. But once I got in the water, I found that my shoulder had weathered the crash quite well and I appear to have full range of motion. Surprisingly, I was able to swim with little difficulty and the pain was not much worse than that of running.
That was the first 25 meters, and I had apparently gotten a bit cocky. The wall would deliver the bitch slap. I did a flip turn and felt like I broke my rib all over again. Ouch! Who knew a somersault in the water could be that painful? Note to self: no more flip turns until fully healed. Maybe it's time to head for open water where there is no wall.
By the time I had completed an easy 500 meters, I found that there were many negatives about swimming with a broken rib: the aforementioned flip-turn agony, not being able to breathe comfortably or without pain, especially on the left side, no butterfly, no breaststroke, inability to rotate my body and loss of strength. Do I have to go on?
But, there were also positives - not many, but I did find them. So far, there were two:
- In compensating for a right-side injury, my left side may finally be forced to develop strength. (I'm so right-dominant in the water, you could proverbially tie my left arm behind my back and I would swim the same speed).
- To lessen the pain, I found myself (almost subconsciously) taking fewer strokes per lap. Call it the survival instinct kicking in, this was a strange realization - and it's something I've spent years trying to do consciously, and unsuccessfully.
|The all-powerful pace clock revealed|
how slow I am.
So I have yet another data point to ram home something I already knew about myself: competitive instinct trumps pain. In all these years as an athlete, I'm still not sure if that's a positive or a negative.