Thursday, March 5, 2009

I Wet Myself...Again

No, not that way! I got back in the pool again this morning for the first time since last November's Half Ironman. Swimming, being my weakest tri event, does not get the attention it deserves. With no tri events over the winter, I totally neglected swim workouts for the last three months. However, with an Olympic tri scheduled for March 15th, it was time to swim again.

I arrange to meet my friend Jacques at a local pool at 8 AM after dropping my 9 year old son, Alex off at school. Before Jacques arrives, I dip my toe into the pool to verify that the pool is heated. Jacques arrives and we get in the pool. With neither of us having done a swim workout since November, we wonder how our endurance will hold up. We agree to swim for 20 minutes.

As I start swimming, my arthritic right shoulder feels stiff and painful. The damage to the shoulder is a result of a skiing fall in my 30s that has now degraded into a stiff joint. The swimming I was doing for triathlons last year did the shoulder a lot of good. I had less stiffness and a better range of motion the more I swam. My shoulder let's me know it's been a while since I've done repeated full arm rotations. Ouch! Can I do this? Will I be forced to roll back to doing duathlons?

As I get a few more laps in, the shoulder starts to loosen up and the ache subsides. I start to remember being in "the zone" in the pool from last fall. I find my rhythm. I start to focus on better breathing technique and my body roll. Oh, good! It's like riding a bike. It all comes back pretty quickly. As we get to the 20 minute mark, Jacques asks whether I'm ready to stop. "No," I reply, "Let's keep going and make it 30 minutes."

We finish the 30 minutes and climb out of the pool. By the time I drive back home and step into the shower, I've got a buzz from having my shoulder and chest muscles pumped up from swimming. I feel great. I can't wait for the next pool workout. I want to get wet again.

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