No doubt there have been challenging moments since I first stepped — or dived — back into a pool in July. I’ve chronicled most of them here: the days I struggled through a workout, missed a best time, fell short of a goal.
Now, however, I’m working through an entire process that presents an unbelievably challenging frustration: Rebuilding everything I had worked so hard to establish in the first place.
This shoulder injury — which, by the way, was diagnosed as tendinitis in my shoulder and bicep — has zapped much of my strength out of my right arm. It also forced me to modify workouts for an extended period (not to mention my week-long foray to Tampa). Thus, for the past two and a half weeks or so, I have been slowly but surely trying to get back to where I was. And it ain’t easy.
Practices have gone mostly without fins, which is something I feel is necessary in order to rebuild strength. At times I’ve put them on to kick — but trust me, that isn’t some training wheel thing. Try kicking all-out with fins on. The surface area is much larger and though you may be moving a lot faster, you’re definitely getting a workout.
But besides the whole ‘being tired’ part of trying to get back to where I was strength-wise, the most difficult part for me has been to try to get back to where I was speed-wise.
For much of November I had started to make some strides in workouts. I felt like for the most part I could keep up relatively well with many of those around me, though not necessarily all the time. I felt, though, that I was where I needed to be as far as how quickly I was able to knock out 25s and 50s and 75s and 100s. In other words, I say ‘speed’ in a relative way.
Maybe that was all in my head though, because this week has been especially tough.
We’ve increased the number of sprints we’re doing in workouts, most likely to prepare the group for the oncoming championship season. And while I certainly can’t expect to keep up with the likes of Pat Sullivan and Sean Spata in sprint workouts, I think mentally it makes practice so much harder when you’re finishing well behind not just other people but also where you EXPECT yourself to be.
Today and yesterday involved a ton of sprinting of the 100 variety. Yesterday was a test set that basically was five 100 sprints (with a ton of other swimming mixed in around it) and today was a build up of sprints that increased from 25 to 125 and back down — again with lots of other swimming mixed in.
Each time I came in behind everyone else, struggling to keep a decent pace up, I touched the wall with a huge sense of frustration. I just feel SLOW again.
Jeff has talked to me about tempering my expectations and to recognize where I am going to be at this point. And I totally understand where I am and why. Shoot, I recognize I was never in a position to keep up even when I swimming at my fastest. In other words, I was never really fast…
Still, I want to be good. I want to be improving on where I was in November.
Maybe this is all a good thing. I’ve never felt so determined to overcome a setback like this, and I’ve become re-energized about lifting and doing whatever I can to improve my performance in the pool.
Hopefully I can start to see the results as I keep working. Hard work pays off, they say, so now it’s up to me to put in the work and not just talk about it.