Sunday, December 10, 2006

Beginnings?

There was only one person swimming laps this afternoon. It was me. The air was cold liquid fog, and the pool steamed into the pine trees. Two other people had braved the unfavorable weather, the 17-year-old life guards--one girl and one boy--who were fifty meters away on the opposite end of the pool. They apparently had determined that I did not need much guarding because they were playing a game between themselves, the flirtatious rules of which have become less clear to me in the decades since I was 17.
I almost did not go to the pool today. I think I was afraid of what might happen if I did. It was the first time I've been in the water since I tried to practice at SOMA with pain from a disc that I did not know had ruptured. On that day, I could not make my arm work through muscle spasm and pain. I've had enough pain and failure for awhile. I don't want any more. Yet moving forward is not possible without risks.
I did not know what might happen as I stripped down to my swim suit and dropped into the water. I've lost six to eight pounds, mostly upper body muscle on my right side, since the nerves across my back and down my arm were impinged. I haven't needed pain killers for two solid weeks; but, what would it feel like to pull? Would it hurt? Would it work at all? Could I turn my head to breathe?
I planned to just work drills and improve my form, starting with kicking and balance drills that would not require any pulling or head turning. The risk was rewarded. I set no speed or distance records, but I did something I haven't been able to do for two months.
I swam.
I guess when you're 17, like the lifeguards in love, every day is a beginning of sorts. When you're 40, beginnings don't seem to come along quite so often--although I encounter them more frequently now than I did before I found this wonderful sport.
If I'm able to reach the start line of Ironman Wisconsin, I might just look back on this day and see something special. Today just might be my beginning.

15 comments:

Laurie said...

I am so happy for you that you can finally start swimming again. Your patience will be rewarded in Wisconsin.

jbmmommy said...

Glad it went well, I hope it's the start of many successes, including your IM Wisconsin plans.

Wendy said...

Good for you!

While the beginnings may be less frequent they are far better appreciated by 40+ crowd!

Brent Buckner said...

Best wishes for on-going recovery. Good to dip your toe in and stick your neck out.

Curly Su said...

hey! I'm going home for almost a month next week...planning a trip to austin for new years eve. any chance i could stop by houston on the way back and meet you guys? we could do a run/lunch...sometime the first week of january, doesn't really matter when...

ps. i'm glad things are starting to get better with your neck!

the Dread Pirate Rackham said...

I found that my swimming improved after I broke my arm - it was like I was able to focus more on floating, since I was paranoid about doing more damage to the arm. To me, good swimming is like organized floating.

Here's hoping your injuries will improve your performance too.

Iron Pol said...

Comebacks always have to start somewhere. Why not at a pool with nobody for company except lovestruck lifeguards.

ironjenny said...

I like what Brent said, so just read line again and pretend I wrote it..... ;-)

You will absolutely make it to the start line at IM WI.You keep proving to yourself that you are stronger than you thought. Today you did it again. See? You are [going to be] and Ironman. And best of all I am going to be there to cheer! OK, maybe that's not THE best part, but I will be there, along with so many of your friends...
Are you bringing your family, too? Ask Trimama how it felt to cross that finish line with her kids...

Good job on your swim.
Jenny

Triteacher said...

It sounds like you have begun. Keep it up!

TriSaraTops said...

Good to see, my friend!

SkiRough said...

Way to go on your new start in the pool! :) Isn't it funny how much the atmosphere of the pool changes from one extreme to another... I always find mine either empty or completely packed.

Looking forward to following your adventure to the finsihed line of IMWI!

Lisa - Slow & Steady said...

sounds like a new beginning to me :)

TriBoomer said...

You are so on your way back, dog!

Oh, flirting is a lot like swimming... you never forget how.

Stay tuned...

mishele k said...

Hmm... I see a party in your future. A pooooooool party.

Way to hop back in! :)

Bolder said...

*raises glass*

to new beginnings!