Two weeks ago today was the bike crash that abruptly ended my triathlon season. The time since then has been a combination of rest, pain meds, bandages, ice, more bandages, optimism, frustration and planning. Anyone who knows me or reads my blog regularly knows how much the training meant to me. While I still have a long way to go in my recovery, I have been slowly easing back into a modified training schedule. Today was my biggest day yet both in significance and in volume.
I did my first swim today, which was a new challenge to say the least. My last swim before the accident was one of my best with my fastest mile yet. But today was entirely different. I swam with my sling on to keep my arm stable and used a kick board and pull buoy as needed for support. I started with basic kicking and was surprised by how hard it was to go straight with only one arm. After 100 yards I was pretty breathless. Kicking used to be so easy, but now it's a challenge. I switched to side kicking and then finally attempted some one-arm freestyle. At the advice of a fellow triathlete training through a broken collarbone, I held a pull buoy against my stomach with my bad arm to keep it stable and help me maintain my position. I've heard and read that when swimming one-armed, you should breath on your pulling side, so in my case, the right side. However, I've been breathing only on my left so I just went with that for today. It was awkward at first and difficult to figure out where my right arm should be in the stroke cycle without the other arm to balance it out, but I got the hang of it quickly. After 200 yards I switched to a balance and breathing drill that is essentially kicking without a board and rolling to breathe. This was by far the hardest since I didn't have any flotation support.
Being back in the water was incredibly therapeutic. It made me feel closer to getting back on track. While it's not the same, it will help me at least retain my comfort level in the water so I can ease back into swimming more quickly. It was exhausting because it is all new again, but it didn't stress my shoulder. The hardest part was getting in and out of my swimsuit and getting my cap on. I was also worried I might not be able to get out of the pool since we don't have stairs. The lifeguard said he could send the chair lift down for me, but thank god I was able to hoist myself up the ladder with one arm. It's one thing to be barely swimming with a sling on your arm and another entirely to have to ride the chair lift out of the pool!
Since I can't bike to the pool anymore, I treated myself to a Mocha at the overpriced Tribeca coffee shop right outside my pool and headed over to the Hudson River Park for the one-mile walk home. It was a beautiful day and I was feeling the best I have in a long time.
After a small break, I hopped on the trainer for my first "long ride." I was aiming for 2 hours or 30 miles, whichever came first. I'm still struggling with my new pedals and had a little mishap when mounting the bike. I was trying to clip in on the right so I could swing my left leg over and just couldn't get it to clip. My foot slipped off the pedal and I ended up jamming my bad arm really hard against the bike. The pain was excruciating and actually brought tears to my eyes and took my breath away. I had to ice it before the ride and for the first few miles. Other than a shaky start, it was a good ride. I found ways to shift my weight to ease the discomfort of being stuck in the saddle continuously. I watched the ITU Triathlon Championships and Olympic recaps to pass the time. I took a quick break at 45:00 to stretch my legs, give my butt a break, fill my water bottle and have a gel. I hit 30.2 miles in 1:45:00 and decided I'd had enough.
I was registered to ride the North Fork Century today. My husband rode it and sent me pictures and updates throughout the morning. I couldn't help feeling bad about missing it, but I kept myself busy and was thankful I was at least training today. It was no century, but it was more than I was able to do a week ago. Hopefully each day will continue to be better than the last.
Distance - 800 yards
Time - 25:00
Distance - 30.2 miles
Time - 1:45:00