... my journey from ballerina to triathlete

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Buoy Butt (And Other Re-Training Problems)

I did my first regular swim yesterday. I have gotten in the water a couple of times during this ordeal, but you could hardly call the lopsided, lurching, sinking flail I was doing a swim stroke. I wasn't even allowed to use a kick because of the flexion of my toes. This time, however, I was free to push as hard as I could as long as it wasn't painful.

Hobbling down to the water was much easier than using crutches, and being able to walk (albeit slowly) rather than hop on one foot into the waves made the entrance less precarious. When I started to swim my foot felt odd and stiff, and at first I was hesitant to kick at all for fear of hurting it. Urged on by my boyfriend and remembering that the doctor had instructed me to work on flexibility as long as the activity didn't hurt, I let it move a little more freely. My stroke was still awkward and choppy and the foot definitely felt strange, but I'm assuming it was good to get more range of motion going. Depressingly, it is incredibly clear that my booty and legs have gotten fatter; I had noticed in one of my previous posts that as I got more toned, my legs started sinking while I swam. Now, once again, they float like a damn buoy. Oh well -- time cures all wounds, and hopefully all excess fat...

From the middle of the beach to these rocks!
I swam for about ten minutes, then took a break to look at all the beautiful tropical fishies I've been missing out on for the past seven weeks. I missed the coral and the bright colors and the way the sun creates moving patterns on the ocean floor, and I missed the feeling of being pushed around by the waves. When I started the swim back to shore, I remembered the kick advice for triathlons that I had put so much time into practicing: kick from the hip, try not to bend your knees, and keep your feet pointed. For triathlon purposes, this kick technique is supposed to conserve energy in your legs and help you have a better bike and run leg, but for the purposes of my broken foot it also worked remarkably well. Keeping my legs mostly straight and my feet stiff allowed me to use my normal kick without causing too much stress on my metatarsals, and I picked up a lot of speed on the way back in. I finally felt like my stroke was back in rhythm and I could enjoy the swim again.

It's truly amazing how easily the little details are forgotten. In less than two months I forgot how it felt to move with the waves and how I can stay on a straight path by following the ripples in the sand on the bottom. I forgot how to reach forward and pull with each stroke, and my arms are clearly weaker, but moving smoothly through the water felt amazing. More to come...

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