Summer Swimming

Finally!, you must be thinking, a post that's not about her dog!

Just kidding, here's a picture of my dog!

No really, this post is about swimming. The doctor confirmed this week that I have a stress fracture in my right foot, and I won't be running for at least 4 weeks. That pretty much nixed my plans for the half marathon in October, though I'll still accompany John and Kira to the race (my first time to crew for my friends!). I could maybe eek out the run, but I'd rather play it safe and not cause another injury. 
Luckily, my stress fracture is healing well enough as I abstain from running and wear supportive shoes. They said at first that I might have to wear a boot, and I had flashbacks to my other splint boot (aka, RoboBoot) from 2009. Shudder.


I could get upset about not being able to run, and do the usual runner thing when I talk about my injury, but honestly, I think I need a break from running. Let me recap all my running injuries from the last few years: 
  • January 2010, I started running again. 
  • Fall 2010, my IT band was so tight that my knee hurt too much to run for almost a month. 
  • Spring 2011, prolonged inflammation in some connective tissue in my right leg; I went to physio all summer. It finally went away about 11 months later. 
  • Spring 2012, about two months after my right leg healed, I developed plantar fasciitis in my right foot. It's still there now, despite physio again last summer (in no small part because the phsyio exercises make me motion sick).
  • Summer 2013: Still have pain in my plantar fascia. Had a few other little flare ups, some knee pain, a random pain in my hip/lower back (fixed by my massage therapist). And now a stress fracture.
The short version of the story? I've been injured for more time than I've been un-injured since I started running about 4 years ago, and that gets fatiguing. I want running to be this kind of mental meditation, and it often has been for me. But for the past few months especially I've had mostly painful, sometimes very frustrating runs. You can understand why I'm ready to have a break from that routine. 
I see a massage therapist with a sports med background at school for "motion sickness" (if you want to call it that). In addition to doling out my weekly beating, he's also full of sage advice. And as he put it, "Runners are...persistent. So if you think you might need a break, you should go ahead and take one."
He's also after me all the time to swim because of the good it would do my shoulders and neck. So he was happy to hear this week that I've decided to commit to swimming for the fall term. 
This week I started a new regimen of swimming three days out of seven, and ideally that leaves one or two days for weight lifting and yoga. I know I've said this before, but seriously, y'all, I'm way better at swimming than at running. If nothing else, an hour in the pool generally leaves me feeling better about myself than an hour running and worrying about my injuries.

Since the pool is now a regular part of my routine, I decided to clean out my swim suit drawer and take a final photo of its contents before getting rid of them. 
"But Abby, those are perfectly good suits!" you might be saying. 
False. Those are from 1999/2000, and the elastic is actually dried up in most of them. In the top photo you can see a bunch of suits my friend Sarah gave me when she stopped swimming competitively during sophomore year. In the bottom photo: my old suits, mostly team suits from my summer team, the Park Forest Piranhas. Some of mine are just a little stretched and faded, and remarkably close to my current size, so I can keep them for drag suits. The rest either went to Goodwill or I threw them out.  

Sarah and I met the winter that I swam for Fort Wayne Central YMCA. That's her in the cap. Apologies for the quality of the photo.

I also decided to take advantage of the end-of-summer sales and buy a new swim suit, for the first time in over 13 years. Behold! I also have some new goggles coming my way for my birthday (thanks, Mom!) so I won't have to use the ones I got out of the Park Forest lost and found when I was working as a life guard in 2001.

I looked into joining the local masters swim club, but it's $330 per term, and that's too rich for my blood. Then I found out I can join the UWO Triathlon Club for the swimming portion only, and it costs $40! Perfect. Plus I can meet some other kids at my school, practice on campus, and participate in some of their physical and social events. 

So that's my new work out routine. I'll post some of the swim workouts I'm doing in future posts, as well as my online sources for the work outs. I can't believe how hard they are, but how good it feels to swim that much for the first time in so many years. I'm not saying good bye forever to running. I'm a little sad to spend the fall away from my favorite running routes, but I think walking is good for my foot, and I get to introduce Bo to all my favorite local trails. I figure that by the time my foot is healed and I start physio (again!), Bo will be ready to do the Couch to 5K, and we can work on running shorter distances together. 

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