Thursday, August 19, 2010

Some Swimming

I just got home from a long weekend in Seattle. My brother lives in Lake Stevens, a northern suburb of Seattle. The Lake Stevens Ironman 70.3 just happened to be on the weekend that I was there! My brother and I went down to the lake the day before the race to see how things were set up and to go for a little swim while there were other swimmers in the water. Our cousin from L.A. was also there. The plan was to do 450 metres, from the beach to a certain dock and back again. The water was really warm and we decided to go without wetsuits. It seemed like it would be a nice clean lake to swim in but I think we were in a fairly shallow part and I could see a lot of weeds on the bottom as I swam. I get a little freaked out by weeds, like they are hands reaching up to grab me. I have to talk myself out of thinking that! Anyway, I managed to get a hold of my silly self and the swim was quite pleasant. It was a gorgeous sunny day so the whole feeling was really nice.

My brother and cousin and I drove up from Seattle to Jasper where they met some other family members to go on a bike trip and I met my husband who was there to pick me up and take me home. While we were in Jasper, Dan and I went for a swim in Lake Annette, a small, crystal clear mountain lake near the townsite. It was warmer than I expected but we did wear wetsuits. What a gorgeous lake to swim in! It's just like being in a pool with a sandy bottom (except that it was probably cleaner than a pool)! We only swam about 400 metres but we stayed in the water for about 30 minutes, just bobbing and talking and doing sommersaults (hard to do in a wetsuit). It was awesome! I wish I could swim there all the time. It was Dan's first open water swim ever and it was really fun to watch him enjoy it! He didn't have any anxiety and he didn't want to get out. I could have stayed in there for a much longer time but we didn't want to leave Adam (15 year old son) sitting on the beach all alone for too long, although I don't think he was at all concerned!

It was really fun to have a couple more open water swimming experiences and to see how differently I felt about swimming in a regular, weedy lake vs. a clear mountain lake. Hopefully the swim in Banff will be as nice as it was in Lake Annette!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Sarah's Adventures in Rehab

I am thinking of renaming my blog to the title of this post. I haven't had much to report in terms of training or races this year. It's just been all about the hip.

Today I went to see the sports physician again. I saw her in June and we made a plan but I wanted to check with her again since things are really no better. She was a little less than impressed that I tried ART with a chiropractor instead of going to physio; I was just trying to find something that would work and the previous physio experience hadn't been terribly effective. Oh well. What's done is done.

Over the last two weeks, I have had pneumonia, which had the effect of making me stop all activity. What was surprising was that when I stopped everything, my hip got noticeably better. All of the incredible protective tension in my quads, calves, glutes and lower back went away. I was still left with the deep joint pain but it was much easier to discern and describe what was happening there. So today, the doctor re-assessed the situation and gave me a more accurate picture of what is happening.

Based on an x-ray report from my previous visit with her, I have an abnormal thickening of my right femoral neck (you'll have to google that for a picture!). That means that when I move my hip a certain way, the thick part hits the joint socket and can't move quite as far as it could if the bone were normal. I was probably born with that. It also appears that I have a tear in the labrum, which is the cartilage around the the hip joint. This is causing clicking and catching and shooting pains. A labral tear doesn't heal but it is possible to reduce its effect by strengthening the muscles that support the hip. If that doesn't work in the next three months or so, we will have to discuss whether I should have surgery to trim the tear away. If I did that, they could also shave the thick part of the bone away. I am waiting now to have an MRI, where they will inject dye into the joint and see if it leaks out. That will indicate whether there is actually a tear there.

She told me today that I should not do the Banff triathlon on Sept 11. She seemed to be especially concerned about how running would aggravate the situation. I am wondering if it would be OK to do the swim and bike and then DNF on purpose. At least I'd get something out of it.

I had a little moment there at the clinic where I felt a little overwhelmed about this. A few tears leaked out. I am probably looking at several more months of pain, significantly reduced activity, and physiotherapy. It's also looking like this is going to be something that has an impact on next year's plans as well.

As I walked back to my car after the appointment, I figured that I better get a grip on myself and stop crying. There is nothing I can do about but deal with it. I will have to be faithful with my physio and do everything I can to make that work. I will have to think differently about what activity will mean for me. I can't really think about how I'm training for triathlon. I will have to do really short little workouts and try to think of it as simple daily exercise. I will have to keep myself from thinking about racing for now, too, even next summer. I am just in a different mode now and I'll have to make the best of it.

I can scarcely envision the end of this. I feel like I might never recover but I suppose that's silly. It's not looking good right now but I guess it won't be forever. One step at a time and things will turn around. Right?