Saturday, January 31, 2009

Just keep swimming....

It's been a busy couple of weeks on the swimming front...well, in the pool anyway. Last week I had my biggest distance week so far, 60km in 5 days in the pool. And I made it with no major ill-effects (although my shoulders may argue with that point)!! I had an easier week this week just gone though so the shoulders are starting to get back to normal a bit...I'm sure it won't be for long though!

My back has gotten way better-I've been going to the chiropractor twice a week for the past few weeks and thankfully I'm almost pain-free just twinges when I sit down funny or something like that but no pain at all when I'm swimming. And I've only got one chiropractor appointment next week, he's very happy with my progress. So all is good on that front...except of course it means that I'll be back to circuits soon...I've got one more week off those and then back to normality!

The last couple of weekends have been a bit of a disaster on the open-water front, we've gone down and two weeks in a row we haven't been able to get in because it was too dangerous. The waves were coming in over the slip and basically we wouldn't have had a hope of getting out safely. And I'm in no rush to break any of my bones thank-you-very-much! Two weekends ago we did put the trip to good use and headed out further west towards Courtmacsherry to see the 60foot fin whale that had been beached there a couple of days previously and had died. Unfortunately the tide was in so we couldn't go anywhere near her...even looking from the road it was clear what an impressive creature she was though. I've included a photo below taken by someone who was lucky enough to get a lot closer to her than we were. More information can be found on the whole event at the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group website (beware that some of the pictures on there are very gory though!).

The forecast for today was for more south-easterly winds, the worst kind for Sandycove. So I didn't bother heading down today but the plan is to head down in the morning and see how things are then. With only one sea swim for the whole month of January I'm really hoping that February starts out better! So fingers crossed for tomorrow....

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Good news at last!

My impatience eventually got the better of me-that and the fact that I had a horrible training session yesterday. Because I've been using the pullbuoy so much, it was starting to hurt higher up my back and everything just felt tight and horrible. So I decided that I had to go and get it checked out to make sure that I hadn't done any major damage and that I wasn't doing any more damage by training. I talked to Eilís and she made an appointment for me for this morning with a chiropractor that she highly recommended, James Cosgrave

So I went to him first thing this morning. After doing a short examination, he decided to send me for x-rays-he didn't think that anything was broken but wanted to make absolutely sure. He made an appointment for me to get them done straight away so off I went. They were amazingly fast and I headed back to him about a half an hour later, praying the whole time that they would come up clear of any fractures! And they did :)

Apparently my sacrum (part of my pelvis) is slightly out of line and my coccyx (my tailbone) is pushed slightly forward. And there's a lot of inflammation. But there should be no permenant damage done thankfully! He thinks that I should be right as rain and pain-free within four weeks of treatment and lots of ice packs :)

And the best thing of all is that I don't have to stop swimming while it's getting better....yay! I was really dreading that he'd tell me to take a break for a few weeks and let it get better, I'd go out of my mind! But I'm allowed to swim away-no speed work for a couple of weeks, just long, stretched-out swims (the kind that I like anyway!) and no circuits (yay!) for a while either. Basically he told me that I'm not allowed to do any of the things that I hate doing anyway!

I went up to Silver Springs after and told Eilís the great news and did my swim for the day-I'm back using my legs now, he said that using a pullbuoy would start causing problems in other areas, which it already had been doing. And the session went really well-I think that now that I know that I'm not doing any damage, I'm much more relaxed in the water, and then I'm not in so much pain. And I feel much better knowing-I was starting to think the worst when it wasn't really improving!! Now I can get focused on making it better and still continue with my training...all is good :)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Give me patience!

It's been over a week now since I fell and it seems to be getting better but it's so, so slow! And of course I'm so, so impatient! I've spent the week with a pullbouy on, a couple of days I did some full stroke but it hurts-strangely it doesn't actually hurt while I'm swimming but when I stop it really does. Which isn't necessarily a good thing-it means that I could end up doing more than I should. So the easiest way to avoid that is to just keep on the pullbuoy.

I'm actually really enjoying swimming with the pullbuoy-I swim faster with it (which shows just how bad my kicking is normally I guess!). Unfortunately I'm getting very used to my faster times and really liking them-I'm not gonna be a happy camper when they go back to normal!!

So after the week using the pullbuoy I was wondering what the plan was going to be for the sea at the weekend. In one way I really wanted to get in because I hadn't been in since Stephen's Day, which was over 2 weeks ago. But at the same time I don't want to be causing myself any injury, one sea swim is not worth that. So I decided to leave it up to Eilís and do whatever she suggested....which was to head to the sea and use the pullbuoy and band. The thoughts of it alone made me cold-the sea, in January, at 8degrees C, with no kicking. But off I went this afternoon for a 3pm swim...the wind was gusting and of course I was hoping to myself that it would be too rough to get in at all!!

As I got close to the island I saw the waves breaking at the second corner, and knew that it was not a day to be going around-of course I wasn't planning to go around anyway, not with my legs tied together!! I got down to the slip and it was definitely swimmable. There was quite a gang down too for a January swim-about 8 in all I think. Myself and Jen decided to swim straight out towards the beach on the island and then decide whether we would head back or do a triangle-I had no clue how cold I would be without kicking so I didn't want to decide until I got in there! So I got all ready and then faced the task of tying my feet together with the band and managing to get into the water without losing the pullbuoy...all very complicated! I eventually managed to shuffle down from step to step (accompanied by girlie screams as I got deeper into the water!) and then dive in-it was so, so cold. Normally when it's rough it's warmer-not the case today. It took me absolutely ages to get my breath and I never really lost the ice-cream headache for the whole swim-normally it's gone within 3 or 4 minutes.

So out to the island we headed, accompanied by another girl who had never before swam in January, and who was sensibly wearing a wetsuit! We stopped to check what we were going to do next-at this stage we had only been in about 3 and a half minutes so I didn't want to head straight back to the slip yet! So we decided to swim down the island for a bit. It was nice swimming down because the wind and tide were both with us-of course it wasn't so nice when we had to turn back and face into both of them! By the time we got back to the slip we had been in the water just over 13 minutes-long enough for me when one half of my body was not creating any heat at all!

The next problem then was how to get out of the water-just about as hard as getting in. I struggled to take the band off with numb hands and then Jen's husband, Mick, was around to help drag us out! When I took away the pullbuoy I had big white patches on my otherwise red legs from where the cold hadn't had a chance to get looked very funny!

After we got dressed we headed into Kinsale for nice warm soup to heat us up...a perfect end to a winter's swim :)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

It can only get better from here...

2009 hasn't gotten off to a great start for me.

On New Year's Day I went down for my first sea swim of the year to find waves breaking over the slip and very rough conditions even inside the island...definitely not conditions that we wanted to be swimming in. 

A choppy New Year's Day at Sandycove

I expected it to be rough down there because it's been very windy for the past week, but I thought that we'd at least manage to swim to the corner or do an inside triangle for our first swim of the year, but it wasn't to be. A total wasted journey after 4 hours of sleep...I had been to a concert in Killarney for New Year's Eve and had driven back and gotten to bed around 4am. So I really didn't appreciate the waste of a trip...I could have (and should have!) stayed in bed!! It did work out well in one way though-I was trying to decide which day this week I'd take as my day off since I hadn't taken one yet, so my decision was made there and then!

So then on Friday I headed to the pool, did my swim and gym session and went back up for a shower....and slipped on the wet floor in the dressing room. My own fault, I should have been wearing flip flops and I wasn't. I basically fell on my backside, thankfully I managed to not hit my head...or even worse, break an arm or something...but I fell pretty hard and it was quite difficult to walk when I got up. My lower back, basically my tailbone, was very sore all day yesterday and I was terrified that I'd done some damage besides it just being bruised and sore. I was not loooking forward to whatever pain was facing me when I woke up this morning! But thankfully it was a bit better and I had no pain anywhere else either.

The plan was to head to the sea today for my delayed new year swim, but the wind was still howling when I was going to bed last night and I figured that the last thing I needed to be doing with a sore back was to be heading into the rough sea. So the pool it was. It was a good thing too-when I got into the pool I did my first two lengths and realised that I couldn't kick my legs without being in severe pain. I had thought that tumble-turning would be my biggest problem but that was actually fine once I made sure to push off the wall really gently. So I got out my pullbuoy and band to make sure that I didn't kick and did a nice slow 4,500 metres with Imelda. The swim really helped too, I found that the stretching out relieved some of the pain and I felt much better getting out than I did getting in. So  the plan is to do the same for the next few days until I know that it's better.

So it wasn't the best of starts to the 2009...but hopefully that's my clumsiness out of the way for the year now :)