Sunday, November 30, 2008

Rise Up ... Swimmers?!?

This is part two of my injury report. I hope this is a more positive post than my initial injury post. Truth is, at this time of Thanksgiving, I am truly thankful that I injured my meniscus. Yes, my knee is not the same anymore, but I have gained far more than I lost in the transaction.

I suppose I should share how the summer after the injury was sort of frustrating. If you ask my wife Megan she'll tell you I was depressed for a little while, feeling sorry for myself and overall a little bit of a grouch. It was a bit hard not being able to do simple things like go up the stairs easily, ride a bike, or hold my kids for long while walking on the boardwalk at the beach. But that part of the story is kind of boring. I'll skip ahead to and indeed past the surgery. The surgery itself went very well. I had a great surgeon and an excellent anesthesiologist. I was walking later that day, and I must have had a very good local block because it didn't wear off until later the next day.

The surgeon performed a partial meniscectomy, meaning the torn portion of the meniscus was removed and the remaining part was sort of cleaned up a little bit. Due to the location and extent of the tear, a repair was not possible. The good news is that the recovery is much faster with that type of surgery than a repair so I knew I would soon be exercising again very soon.

The first week afterwards, I started going to the pool at 5:15 in the morning when it unofficially opens. I was relieved to feel that when I kicked in the water it didn't feel all wobbly and goofy like before the surgery. I could push off from the wall with minimal pain. I felt mostly whole again.

I can't say I really loved swimming at first, but it was something aerobic I could do in the morning before the kids got up and going, and it was certainly low impact. I decided to try to stick with it a few weeks and see how it felt. Somewhere along the way, I found I could swim for longer periods of time with less effort and really started to enjoy how I felt as I was leaving the Y after I swam. And boy did it make me hungry, and I sure do like to eat.

So, I stuck with it. And then I thought again about the Great Chesapeake Bay Swim next June that I had mentioned wanting to try to qualify for. So, I went ahead and swam the qualifying swim of three miles in about one and a half hours. By that point I was hooked and started thinking about the Masters Swimming program at the Y.

I talked a little to our own Wood Frog about it, and he was very supportive. Go figure, Keene supportive and positive about something. Next thing I knew I had fired off an email to the team and was attending my first practice. I have only been a couple times, but I already like it a lot. Like the RUR crew, this is a very friendly group of people who enjoy exercising and all the positive experiences that brings along the way.

I have tried to run a few times so far, and each time hurts like crazy but feels a little better than the time before. Someday, I may be able to run pain-free for more than two to three miles. I'd be thankful for that. But for now, I am happy to swim and bike and row on the erg and use the still very adequately functioning body that I still have to get my heart rate going and enjoy the mental cleansing I feel with a good hard workout. I know my injury was quite minor compared to what others have gone through and most likely I will face far more serious health problems in the future than a small bit of torn cartilage.



Michael Valliant said...

"Very adequately functioning body I have," is a bit of a misnomer, I'd say. When you run, you are wicked fast. Biking, I'm guessing the same. And swimming has been confirmed to be so.

You are an endurance athlete through and through, and a pleasure to be around/watch compete and enjoy what you are doing. Thanks for a great post here!

joel said...

look forward to joing you in the pool. If you joined the Masters swimmers, does that mean you will start wearing speedos now? ick.

landy said...

Jammers are the new speedos. They're not so bad...