I swim on a small team (Madison Titans) with 4 regulars and a couple others that can't make the morning workout. On Saturdays and occasional weekdays, I drop by HSA in Huntsville for a swim in the big pool.
At 1:00 AM this morning, I decided my meet was done. I couldn't sleep because I could only minimize pain. It just hurt no matter what position I was in. It was about time for more ibuprofen so I took it and tried my best to get comfortable. I did sleep because sometime around 4:30 Dave sneaked out of the room to head to Starbucks. I had planned to catch him on the way out so I could ride along and apply some heat to my back from the heated seats in his car. Woke up at 6:00 AM about the time he was getting back in. Everything was painful. Getting out of bed, putting clothes on, going to be bathroom... it all hurt.
About 7:00 Roger came to the room and we discussed the situation. I've gone to practice Monday mornings before after hurting my back playing soccer. However, that didn't involve swimming @ meet speeds and diving into the pool. And I've never tried swimming with this much pain before. We decided it would be taken one step at a time. First, I'd see if I could get into a racing suit. Then, I'd test things out. Light swimming, followed by some easy flip turns and then hard swimming. I planned to start the 500 from the wall for fear I'd hurt my back worse. They had a physical therapist and a massage table available. I was going to give that a try. Finally, I'd take my next dose of Ibuprofen at 9:00 AM about 40 minutes before the 500 start. If it wasn't meant to happen, I'd just scratch races until I felt I was ready. Roger led a prayer for my healing. At this point, I felt like I needed a miracle just to get into my suit.
We got to the pool at about 8:30. The heated seats in Dave's car did feel great but getting out of his car didn't. We got our stuff settled in and I went to the locker room for my first test: the swim suit. I got it on surprisingly easily even though I was very ginger about my movements. I jumped into the pool and it felt amazing. All the weight was off my back and the pain just washed away. Took a few strokes and everything was working. Did some easy laps w/ flip turns and absolutely no pain. Did some breaststroke and no pain. Did some strokes of fly and... ok that hurt a little. But I only had 50 fly left and that was at the end of the day. After 1000 yards or so, I got the courage up to go off the blocks once they opened up a lane. I was unable to start like I normally do but I could reach down and grab the block in something that resembled a track start. I pushed off, hit the water perfect and had a smooth entry with no pain. Great! I was already doing things I hadn't planned on doing. I got out of the pool and the pain was back... but not as bad as it was earlier. Took my ibuprofen and headed over to Roger's Christian devotional. Got more prayers from my back. After that, I headed over to the physical therapist. That was 10 minutes I was not wanting to end. Back still hurt but at least I was more relaxed. Back in the pool for some speed tests. I was a bit slower than I wanted to be. Did a couple 50s @ 500 pace and a 100 @ 500 pace. The 100 was a 1:08-1:09. I was looking for 1:07. Did some more easy stuff and got ready to race.
Seed time: 5:37.54
Meet time: 5:39.09
Splits: 1:06.52, 1:08.78, 1:08.65, 1:08.79, 1:06.35
Start was good even with my awkward stance. It didn't take long for the swimmers around me to start pulling away. I wanted to go with them badly but at this point finishing was a victory in itself. For the first time today, my arms hurt worse than my back. It was a good feeling. I got out of the pool and suddenly felt 100% better. Did a couple hundred cool down and got ready for 200 Br.
Seed time: 2:34.13
Meet time: 2:34.24
Splits: 35.59, 39.62, 39.45, 39.58
This start was much better and I was flexible enough to do a normal track start. I might have chased a faster swimmer in the lane next to me a bit too much on the first 50 but held a consistent pace throughout. I really didn't think about it too much. I was still hoping to just finish. Holding my time from last year was a bonus as far as I was concerned. No cool down or warm up for 200 back.
At this point, I had 200 back and 200 IM left. I knew I could finish the day since the backstroke start would have little risk of injury. I could gut out the 200 IM if something went wrong and I hurt my back again on that dive. It was all downhill and I was determined to finish this meet.
Seed time: 3:00
Meet time: 2:41.39
Splits: 40.44, 40.52, 41.01, 39.42
Turned out that ekw was in my heat, two lanes over. My plans to cruise this event were suddenly cut short. This was the swimming equivalent to challenging people to drag races in a stock ford pinto but I was going to try. I didn't do too bad but Ellen beat me anyway. Next year! Even worse, I lost by a second to the person closest to me in the high point trophy race. And he and I both were in the 200 IM. I didn't know the exact point difference but I knew it would be really close if I didn't win the 200 IM. He was seeded 5 seconds ahead of me and one heat after mine. I decide that if I was going to lose, I'd make sure he had to do a lot better than his seed time to beat me. Obviously, I was feeling better much better as my priorities had changed from managing pain to racing for points.
Seed time: 2:35
Meet time: 2:22.58!
Splits: 31.06, 40.87, 38.48, 32.17
Great finish for the weekend! It was fast enough by about 12 seconds for high point. I thought I had a 2:25 in me but didn't think 2:22 was possible. Took an easy 200 IM cool down.
So, I finished the brute squad meet. 1650, 200 fly, 200 free, 400 IM, 500 free, 200 br, 200 bk, 200 IM. It was fun despite my challenges. The one thing I missed was swimming more breaststroke events. It felt weird to watch waves of 50 and 100 br heats to pass by without me getting ready to join one. Not sure if I'll do this again but I enjoyed every race. I had the strength to compete in them and recovered sufficiently to get ready for the next.
As usual, the meet was well run. AMS always puts on a top-notch even in a really fast pool. Great to meet all the forumites that were at the meet. Seeing all of you and your achievements despite your own struggles was awesome. Thanks to my teammates that encouraged and prayed for me throughout the weekend. I couldn't find a better team. Look forward to next year!
Updated February 17th, 2013 at 10:32 PM by pmccoy