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  1. Sunday Sept 24

    by , September 25th, 2017 at 11:43 AM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    On Friday and Saturday, I did some drylands and was on the treadmill. Sunday, I went to Bethel Park and did the following:

    Swim/SCY/Solo @ BP

    Warm up:

    500 various
    10 x 25 shooters w/fins @ :40
    -- I was surprised this interval was pretty easy to make
    100 EZ

    Main sets:

    5 x (25 AFAP + 75 EZ) @ 3:00
    -- 3 breast (12s), 2 kicks (10s)
    50 EZ

    20 x 25 back w/fins @ 100 pace, UW 15 m @ :45
    200 EZ

    10 x 25 breast w/fins @ 100 pace @ :45
    200 EZ

    10 x 25 no breath free w/fins @ :45
    -- wanted to do this race pace, but was too tired
    200 EZ

    Total: 3000


    I can go long distances on the treadmill with no problem, but put me in the pool and I'm plastered afterward ... My 25s were slower than usual, but not ridiculously slow at all. Of course, I was doing then on a slower interval than usual. Baby steps.

    In other random news,

    1. My allergies have been killing me this Aug/Sept. I didn't start feeling better until I started taking plant sterols. Usually I'm worse in the spring, but this late summer/fall has been challenging. I think it's the mold.
    2. We are going away for xmas and new years this year (Costa Rica). I've wanted to for years as the winters are long here, and we can't really go any other time with Lil Fort.

    3. I've decided to re-learn conversational French. Not doing to do it traditionally. I'm going to use Duolingo, podcasts and youtube.

    4. Swimming makes me so hungry ...

    Updated September 25th, 2017 at 12:44 PM by The Fortress

    Swim Workouts
  2. Sprinters Choice Thursday, Sept 21

    by , September 22nd, 2017 at 11:12 AM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    I went to Pitt last night for "sprinter" practice. It seemed like a distance workout to me, so I chopped the main set in half.

    Swim/SCY @ Pitt

    Warm up:

    450 various

    4 x 100 with some breathing pattern (I always ignore these) @ 1:50
    -- I did odds = free, evens = back

    16 x 25 kick @ :35, every 4th one fast
    -- I did 8 backstroke kick, then put on fins and did some shooters and bursts
    -- the interval was way too short to go "fast"

    4 x 50 @ :55, no breath then build
    -- I did them free & back, 12.5 UW each length

    Main sets:

    assigned 2 rounds:
    4 x 100 @ 1:30
    1 x 50 EZ
    3 x 100 @ 1:25
    1 x 50 EZ
    2 x 100 @ 1:20
    1 x 100 EZ
    1 x 100 sprint
    1 x 100 EZ

    Fugetabout ... I did:

    4 x 50, odds = @ 100 pace @ 1:30
    -- on round 2, I did one of the 100s backstroke kick, cruising at 1:03, then promptly switched back to 50s
    1 x 50 EZ
    3 x 50 odds = 100 pace @ 1:25
    1 x 50 EZ
    2 x 50 odds = 100 pace
    1 x 100 EZ
    1 x 50 @ 100 pace
    1 x 100 EZ (200 EZ on round 2)

    Total: 3200


    The warm up was sufficiently hard to tire me out before trying to sprint. Very garbage yardy main set, I thought. Even chopping everything in half, I still did a lot of 100 pace work and yardage. I was beat down after that. A 90 minute workout is a bit much for me at this point ... Off for a hike in Frick Park with a friend!

    Updated September 23rd, 2017 at 10:29 AM by The Fortress

    Swim Workouts
  3. "No flip turns!"

    by , September 18th, 2017 at 06:18 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    I went for a 7 mile hike yesterday with Mr. Fort. Today, I swam at LA Fitness in Bridgeville. Midway through my workout, the lifeguard screamed at me (no joke, I was berated) for doing flip turns. Flip turns while I was swimming in a swimming pool ... Apparently, I was getting the pool deck wet. We can't have that in a pool, can we? I told her that I didn't feel obligated to stop doing flip turns, so she glared at me the rest of my workout and ranted to herself. Then I had a word with management on my way out. Crochety old lady! There is no pace clock there, so I just estimated intervals.

    Swim/SCM/Solo @ LA Finess:

    Warm up:

    500 various

    20 x 25 power kick @ :45
    50 EZ

    Main sets:

    20 x 50
    odds = 100ish pace (mix of free, back, breast and kick)
    evens = EZ
    100 EZ

    10 x 25 dolphin kick on back @ 100 pace, arms at side @ :45ish
    100 EZ
    10 x 25 flutter kick @ 100 pace, arms at side @ :45ish
    100 EZ

    100 EZ

    Total: 2950


    Really happy there was no pace clock there ... I'm sure my 100ish efforts don't correlate to my usual 100 pace times. Although I was swimming in SCM, so don't really know those times anyway. My fin free felt much better today, more efficient. Not unexpectedly, my legs were tired from treadmill work/walking. That stuff just does not mix well with swimming. But my shoulders/chest felt fine. My arm doesn't swell up anymore in the pool than it does on the treadmill with a raised heart rate, and even then it's only minimal.
    Swim Workouts
  4. Fri-Sat, Sept 15-16

    by , September 17th, 2017 at 01:48 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)

    Friday 9/15


    Went to the gym for the first time in many months. Just did some rehab, core work and light weights. Despite only doing good mornings with the 45 lb bar, I could feel it in my back and hamstrings the next day.

    Treadmill, 7.5 miles

    mostly walking fast with a killer incline

    Saturday: Swim/SCY/Solo @ Bethel Park:

    Warm up:

    500 various
    8 x 25 shooters w/fins @ :45
    50 EZ

    Main sets:

    8 x 50 burst SDK + cruise @ 1:00
    50 EZ

    3 x (25 AFAP kick w/board + 75 EZ) @ 3:00

    10 x 25 @ :40
    odds = breast dolphin @ 100 pace
    evens = EZ back
    50 EZ

    5 x 50 DPS free-back @ 1:00
    50 EZ

    20 x 25 @ :40
    1-10 = dolphin kick w/snorkel & arms at side
    11-20 = dolphin power kick w/arms at side
    100 EZ

    10 x 25 no breath free @ whatever (no swimming lungs)
    200 EZ

    Total: 2950


    Made it to Bethel Park, one of my fave places to swim, yesterday. Still easing back in, but more of a Fort-like workout. My 25 AFAP kicks were maybe a second off my former blasto times. I didn't think that was too bad considering the absence of speed in my life. Back on the treadmill today. I don't think I'll swim on back to back days for awhile to not overdue. Trying not to be compulsive!
  5. 6 months later ...

    by , September 15th, 2017 at 12:44 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    It's been 6 months since I posted, and a tumultuous 6 months it has been! Here's the summary:

    1. Good: In April, I went on a lovely vacation to Paris and northeast France (medieval tour) with a friend.

    2. Bad: In early May, I had a pec minor release on my right side, mostly to allow more room for collateral veins (axillary and subclavian closed despite Dec. surgery). My dr said it was the largest pec minor tendon he'd ever seen on a woman. A fairly minor surgery, but then a freak accident on the treadmill spawned a hematoma on my chest that lingered for weeks.

    3. Good: Went off to CA with my hematoma to see my daughter graduate from college.

    4. Bad: On May 22, had the major VTOS surgery on my left side. Once again, my rib was massive. My dr had thought it highly unlikely that I could have bilateral VTOS -- so rare -- but lo and behold my mid subclavian vein was clotted/compressed (though not nearly to the degree of my dead loss right side). After the surgery, my vein was still compressed, so I had another balloon venoplasty for my 5th surgery.

    5. Really bad: The recovery from this surgery was difficult and more painful. They also took out my pec minor tendon this time, which was efficient but meant a larger incision. A couple weeks later, I got very sick and was couch bound. Then, I was plagued by shingles. It was a good 8-9 weeks of pure unadulterated hell. I don't recommend it to anyone.

    6. Really Good: As a reward for survival, I planned and went on a smashingly fun trip in mid-August to Croatia, Slovenia and Montenegro with my daughter before she went off to grad school in Boston.

    7. Mixed: Inexplicably, though I look much the same, I lost 8-9 pounds with months of being a couch potato and no change in diet. Mostly muscle loss, I think.

    And so September rolled around, and I passed my "no swimming for three months" ban. It's essentially been 10+ months out of the pool with the exception of a few swims in February. In retrospect, I'm glad I stopped swimming in March and waited for surgery on the other side. I was correct that I had another clot, and swimming could have been hazardous.

    Cautiously, I swam twice a week the first two weeks of September, mostly slowly. Felt incredibly weird. My right arm, while much better, is still slightly swollen due to the closure of the main veins. My dr, a national VTOS expert, really has no prognosis for me. He doesn't have any patients who have been elite masters athletes and then had failed VTOS surgeries. (To be clear, the surgery was successful in terms of decompression, but the veins were just permanently damaged from swimming and genetics.) So I am in unknown territory. Of course, the odds are stacked against me without proper circulation. But I think my circulation has likely been compromised somewhat for years (hence dying on 100s despite adequate training) and my training is kick-based.

    And so ... I persist and will see what comes. I think it will be a fairly long "comeback." A successful VTOS surgery might involve a year long comeback. But I've been out 10 months with 5 surgeries and have closed veins on the right side ... I do have a doppler ultrasound checkup on both sides in mid October. This is anxiety causing because, of course, I have never once received any good news from my dr and am hoping my left side vein is still open. On the upside, as a testament to his surgical skill, I seem to have lost zero range of motion and have no nerve damage. And I've read that getting rid of the pesky pec minor tendons may lessen one's predisposition to rotator cuff problems.

    Anyhoo, I went to Pitt last night and did the sprint workout. I obviously am not "sprinting" at this juncture, but bumbled along happy to see some teammates. Used fins, which I am sure I will be doing for a loooong time while my thoracic area re-adjusts to swimming.


    Warm up:

    150 (arrived a bit late and missed 250)
    8 x 50 various @ :55
    8 x 50 kick w/fins @ :55

    Main sets:

    2 rounds:

    4 x 100 @ 1:30 (I alternated free and flutter kick)
    1 x 50 EZ @ 2:00
    2 x 25 sprint, 1 kick + 1 swim @ :40
    1 x 50 EZ @ 1:40
    2 x 50 fast, 1 kick + 1 swim @ 1:10
    1 x 50 EZ @ 1:40
    1 x 50 fast kick @ 1:00
    1 x 50 EZ @ 2:00
    1 x 50 fast swim @ 1:00
    1 x 100 EZ swim
    1 x 100 fast
    1 x 200 EZ (did 150s)

    Total: 3350


    Not surprisingly, only breaststroke and kicking feel halfway normal. On a couple of the 50s fast kick, I went 100ish pace and was surprised to come in at 25-26. So I can apparently still dolphin kick, though the power and punch are missing. Did a couple DPS 50 breasts at 31. At the very end of the workout, I cruise kicked a 100, working on SDKs, and came in at 1:04 with not much effort. I felt beat after this longish return practice. The treadmill does not transfer to the pool! I will venture back to the gym at some point, but will only do very light weights. I don't feel up to yoga yet; way too much weight and pressure on my shoulders/chest.

    I felt really happy after that workout.

    Updated September 17th, 2017 at 09:47 AM by The Fortress

    Swim Workouts
  6. Retired ... for now

    by , March 27th, 2017 at 04:57 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    I had my follow up at Hopkins and the news was not good. The extensive clot is still there and the axillary and subclavian veins have re-closed since the balloon venoplasty. I suspect the re-closing was what I perceived as a strain in the thoracic area a few weeks ago. Vein reconstruction surgery is not a good option because it would require a bypass with only a 50% or less chance of success. So I need to grow some collateral veins; I may already have some since my arm is not all that swollen. But there is some fear for my left side, which is showing some pre-thrombolytic symptoms.

    I will have another ultrasound on both sides in 2 months. If the left side is showing more signs of damage than last time, I may have another first rib resection at that time. That surgery may have a better likelihood of success than the one in December if we avoid a clot. Or I could just use a conservative approach ... The downside of that is that I think I would have anxiety over getting another clot/ruining another vein. And I really couldn't swim without compressing the vein further. Streamlining is ultra compressive. And of course my sister had bilateral VTOS.

    I have been in the water some. But just kicking with my arms at my side is not very inspiring. My dr said that I could start some swimming, but I am leery about my left arm. I have been on the treadmill regularly; did 14 miles the other day after the bad news. So I am going to put all thoughts of competing aside for now. I may pop into the pool to see friends from time to time. But I am basically retired right now. Maybe next year I can re-assess. Without the primary veins on the right side, it is unclear whether I could ever return to my previous form.

    On a happier note, I have a trip to Paris and environs planned in April. And I had a really kick ass 2016 before the VTOS reared its ugly head in October. The Fina rankings have come out and, in the 55-59 age group, I ended up with:


    50 back #1 (WR)
    100 back #1 (WR)
    50 fly #1 (WR)
    50 free #1 (WR)
    50 breast #4 (NR, that was subsequently broken)
    100 breast #8


    50 back #1 (WR)
    50 fly #1 (#WR)
    50 free #1
    50 breast #3

    SCY (1 meet, done with a blood clot)

    50 fly (NR)
    50 back (NR)

    Adios for now! I wish everyone well in their swimming endeavors.

    Updated March 28th, 2017 at 10:04 AM by The Fortress

  7. Few Swims

    by , March 2nd, 2017 at 03:22 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    Friday, 2/24: Swim/SCY @ Sewy

    600 various
    10 x 25 power kicks
    50 EZ
    7 x 50 various
    5 x (8 x 25) @ :55, :50, :45, :40, :35
    I did
    R1 = fast
    R2 = 100 pace
    R3 = 100 pace
    R4 = odds shooter
    R5= odds shooter
    100 EZ

    Total: 2350

    Tuesday 2/28

    around 2000 @ LA Fitness
    can't remember what I did, nothing strenuous, a few 100 pace 25s

    Wed 3/1: Swim/SCY @ Pitt

    250 various (got in a bit late)
    8 x 50 kick (they were doing something else)
    8 x 50 kick
    50 EZ
    12 x 25 kick @ :45, pretty fast
    3 x 50 EZ (they were doing 100 IMs)
    12 x 25 kick @ :50, pretty fast
    3 x 50 EZ
    -- got out a bit early

    Total: 2000


    So, I've been getting in the pool once in awhile. I have to say that I am very unmotivated. It's dull as dirt to just kick with your arms at your side. And without a meet to plan for ... eh. I have been on the treadmill quite a bit. Unfortunately, I also strained my thoracic area somewhat. Not sure how. Probably just doing a lot of casual pulling and and hauling with my arm (groceries, car doors, chopping). I have to actively think about my 10 lb limit. In other news, my insurance company denied coverage for my angioplasty. I must say, I didn't see that one coming. My dr submitted an appeal without me even asking. He said it was the first time he'd ever had a denial of coverage for this procedure. If they deny coverage again, I will be appealing and suing. Really outrageous. Any least my next appointment is in just 3 weeks. Fingers crossed for the all clear. Though I know that if I am cleared, I will have to proceed very slowly and cautiously.

    Updated March 2nd, 2017 at 03:53 PM by The Fortress

    Swim Workouts
  8. Feb 16-19

    by , February 19th, 2017 at 05:06 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    I've been doing 7-10 miles on the treadmill daily. I went to the pool on Saturday (no treadmill) and did the following short workout:

    Swim/SCY/Solo @ BP

    400 various kicking
    20 x 25 power kick to 15m+ with arms at side
    -- 10 belly, 10 back
    100 EZ
    10 x 25 single arm breast
    100 EZ
    6 x (25 fast kick + 50 EZ)
    50 EZ
    10 x 25 dolphin kick on belly w/snorkel @ 100ish pace
    100 EZ

    Total: 2200


    Another boring workout. But on the upside it's warm and sunny here this weekend and my son is home for a visit!
    Swim Workouts
  9. Wed Feb 15

    by , February 16th, 2017 at 10:08 AM (The FAF AFAP Digest)

    Swim/SCY @ Pitt

    Warm up:

    400 various
    8 x 50 kick w/fins @ :55 (I did 6)
    50 EZ
    5 x 100 IM @ 1:45
    -- I did 5 x (25 shooter + 25 EZ), then 50 EZ

    Main sets:

    16 x 25 @ 100 pace @ :45
    -- did these flutter kick w/fins & snorkel
    4 x 50 something or other
    -- I did 3 x 50 EZ

    16 x 25 @ 100 pace @ :50
    -- did 8 x dolphin kick on belly w/snorkel & 8 x dolphin kick on back 15m UW
    4 x 50 something or other
    -- I did 3 x 50

    10 x 25 @ 100 pace @ :50
    -- the team was doing 24 of these, but I just did 10 and hopped out early
    50 EZ

    Total: 2450


    I ventured to Pitt last night and it was great to see everyone. It's definitely easier to do really boring kick sets with a team. There is one disadvantage of the power breather snorkel though -- you cannot chat with your lane mates! I also would have liked more "air" between the 25 efforts. I am now off to the treadmill. Between TV and podcasts, it's not too hard to get in quite a few miles.
    Swim Workouts
  10. Water, Feb. 11-14

    by , February 14th, 2017 at 01:39 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)

    3 miles on treadmill

    Swim/SCY/Solo @ BP:
    600 various kick
    20 x 25 power kick w/arms at side
    100 EZ
    10 x (25 fast kick + 25 EZ kick)
    400 various

    Total: 2000


    I went to watch the masters meet at Lebo HS. It was fun to see some swim friends. They even have fins on the blocks there now. And the water temperature is warmer. So I might have to venture there again.

    11 miles on treadmill in 2 segments


    30 minutes of core/yoga/rehab ex

    7 miles on treadmill


    40 minutes of drylands

    Swim/SCY @ LA Fitness
    500 various
    6 x (25 fast + 75 EZ)
    300 EZ
    Total: 1400

    4 miles on treadmill


    Well, I've dipped my toe back in the water. Refreshing! But it is SO boring to do nothing but kick with your arms at your side. I did invest in the Arena power breather snorkel, since I'm not supposed to be turning my neck much. I like it better than the previous ones I've owned. I'll probably try to get in the water a few times a week. I can't see boring the crap out of myself on a daily basis! Oddly, it was more tiring swimming just 2000 yards than doing 10 miles on the treadmill ...

    Updated February 14th, 2017 at 01:46 PM by The Fortress

    Swim Workouts , Strength Training and Dryland Workouts
  11. Update: Life Hijack

    by , February 6th, 2017 at 04:19 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    Last time I checked in, I had just had my VTOS surgery (Dec. 8) wherein Dr. Lum removed a huge chunk from my chest. I seemed to recover from that fairly well and did not become a pillbilly. On December 20, I went back to Hopkins for a venogram to check the vein. Disappointingly, but not totally unexpectedly, it was still damaged, compressed and the clot was still there. So I had an angioplasty where they put in 4 balloons to open the vein. Good grief, that really hurt. Not great news, but at least he was able to open the vein. I was told that the second operation had a 70% chance of success; veins that have long been compressed are prone to re-collapse. I survived xmas, but on December 29, I was struck down with an extremely severe case of the flu, which developed into bronchitis. I was really sick for 3.5 weeks -- the sickest I've ever been in my life. I only made it to one PT appt, then had to cancel all the rest. At this juncture, I've decided that I'm not going to bother with PT. I had full ROM almost immediately in any event. My arm is still somewhat swollen, but down from before. I was given a 3-6 month estimate for it to return to normal. My next appt is on March 23 and they will again check the vein with a duplex ultrasound. If there is still damage/clotting, I will need vein reconstruction surgery. I also struggled a bit with the oral blood thinner (xarelto). It made me nauseous and tired. So I switched back to lovenox. Downside is injections 2x day. Still, better than nausea.

    So Dec & Jan were just a life hijack. After an epic struggle, I have been feeling pretty normal the last 10 days. I can't do anything high impact or anything with my arm. I've been doing a lot of fast walking on the treadmill, between 5-9 miles a day. My incision is healing fine, so I may be able to get back in the water and kick with my arms at my side fairly soon. My dr really errs on the conservative side wrt the pool. But I know others that returned to the pool 6 weeks after VTOS surgery. I may also go to a spin class or some bikram yoga. Vinyasa is out because of all the down dogs.

    Anyway, hope you all are doing fabulously! I persevere.

    Updated February 7th, 2017 at 06:51 PM by The Fortress

  12. Survived

    by , December 12th, 2016 at 11:46 AM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    I had my VTOS surgery on December 8 at Johns Hopkins. The surgery went well. The dr extracted a fairly massive first rib (see attached). The rib was abnormally large and was the culprit of the venous compression. There was also a great deal of muscle surrounding the rib, which was excised. I had a difficult time with the anesthesia, which caused me to throw up a few times. That is not particularly fun after an invasive surgery. I was able to move my arm right away and was on my feet quickly. The drive home was rather painful; I could feel every bump. I have a venogram scheduled for December 20 to assess whether the vein is patent and the clot has dissolved. I hope the vein bounces back from the compression, but the clot was very extensive. Depending on the results, I could be on blood thinners for awhile. I just hope there is not permanent damage. Anyway, the pain is reasonable tolerable with the pain meds. And my daughter is arriving home from college today!
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  13. Surgery It Is

    by , November 20th, 2016 at 11:33 AM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    I went to Johns Hopkins last Thursday for some testing and to see Dr. Lum. 9 days earlier, I finally had my chest CT with contrast and it was negative for blood clots. But by the time I got to Hopkins, a duplex ultrasound showed an extensive blood clot from mid chest to mid arm and confirmed a diagnosis of venous thoracic outlet syndrome. So it is a worst case scenario. VTOS is an extremely rare condition, but healthy athletes like swimmers are somewhat more at risk, and I am genetically pre-disposed. I am on blood thinners now and will have to have surgery in a couple weeks. There is no other solution, you have to de-compress the subclavian vein in the thoracic outlet. For the surgery, the resect your first rib and take out the attached scalene muscle. No swimming for 3 months after the surgery. Since I haven't swum much in a month, it is going to be a long time out of the water. And I can't exercise at all right now. My left side is somewhat compressed as well, but Dr Lum thinks the likelihood of VTOS on that side is still low. I worry, though, because my sister had to have bilateral surgeries.

    On the upside, a blood clot did not break off and go to my lung or brain. And I've been told that it's possible some of my shoulder and elbow problems on my right side may have been to do maladaptive compensations from inadequate venous return. I have felt like my breath holding capacity has declined somewhat the last couple years. This could be why, and may also be fixed by surgery. Hopefully, there is not too much damage to the vein.

    Dr Lum thinks that the culprit may be all my streamline dolphin kicking bc you are in an extremely compressed position when doing that. I did even more kicking that usual this year bc of my elbow and shoulder tendonitis issues. I may have to consider doing less SDK work upon returning.

    So I'm signing off for awhile. It will seem odd ... I've been blogging for many years now ... since the creation of the USMS blogs. And I haven't had any real break from swimming in 11 years. The timing is very disappointing, in my age up year. But masters swimming seems to be defined by comebacks. Hopefully, that will be my case.
  14. another week

    by , November 14th, 2016 at 10:23 AM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    I swam about 2500 on Sunday Nov 6 and then didn't get in the water again until this weekend, where I did 2300 both Sat and Sun with a lot of kicking with my arms at the side. I did 4-5 miles on the treadmill on the other days. It's been almost a month now. I feel like I've rested the area. I haven't swum much. I've been going to PT. But the arm still swells and turns red when I exercise. My PT thinks it's a thoracic outlet issue as well. My scalenes are very tight and possibly hypertrophied and may have pulled up my first rib, which is more prominent on the right side. I am a tad worried that there is some redness in my left bicep area when I swim (no swelling tho).

    I've been frustrated trying to get appointments. But with the help of a connection, I have an appt at Johns Hopkins on Thursday with Dr. Ying Wei Lum. He's an expert in the field of venous thoracic outlet syndrome (there aren't many, it's very rare). Via email, he opined that my symptoms sound like McCleery Syndrome where you have intermittent compression of the subclavian vein. I hope he can give me a diagnosis and treatment plan. Being in limbo has been very frustrating. What's scary is that I wouldn't even have had a clue that it could be a thoracic outlet issue but for my sister having the same problem many years ago ...

    Also cross that my hotel reservation for NE Champs was non-refundable. I had no idea when I made the reservation. Between that and my plane flight, that's a very expensive meet to not swim in ...

    Updated November 14th, 2016 at 11:38 AM by The Fortress

    Swim Workouts , Running
  15. last week

    by , November 6th, 2016 at 11:35 AM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    I took a couple days off after the Sprint Classic. Since then, I've been on the treadmill for 3-5 miles a day. I swam at Sewy on Friday night and did around 2500. My arm and shoulder area swelled up afterward, as it seems to with any exercise at all.

    I was worried it might be Lymphedema. So I went to the expert in the area. She doesn't think it is lymphedema, which is good. I saw her on Wed and Fri. On Friday, they were thinking that it might a version of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. I have been negative for the neurological physical tests. But she thinks it might be soft tissue related, which would be fixable. I am worried that it is venous TOS and that the scans to date didn't pick it up. My sister had venous TOS, a very rare condition. I've told that to three drs and no one has ordered an MRI (which was how my sister was diagnosed). I am going to start calling cardio-thoracic drs tomorrow to try to get an appointment.

    In any event, if it is TOS, it's a very bad thing for my swimming. I am on the DL right now and will likely have to cancel my December focus meet. I haven't swum much for 19 days, so am very out of shape at this point anyway. Kicking in a streamline position isn't any better than swimming; everything is still overhead and compressed. I am going to go swim to Bethel Park for a bit today just to keep a little feel for the water. But I am just not jazzed up about kicking with my arms at my side. I have injury fatigue at this point after a year full of different kinds of injuries. I'm doing a lot of stretching in case it is soft tissue related. But I am so hyper mobile that it's difficult to stretch the areas I'm supposed to stretch.

    Updated November 6th, 2016 at 12:41 PM by The Fortress

    Swim Workouts , Running
  16. B Game, Sprint Classic

    by , October 31st, 2016 at 09:34 AM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    I took myself and my swollen arm down to the Sprint Classic. I've felt horrible in the water the last couple days. I kind of ignored that thinking that it was stress/sleep related/not swimming much. But I realized after warm up and a couple races (duh) that the lack of circulation was causing fatigue and really driving up my heart rate. I only swam two events, and ended up scratching the battle of the drop dead sprinters. I was too exhausted and my arm was slightly numb. I did set two 55-59 national records in my pet events, although with quite mediocre times for me.

    50 fly, 27.0

    The start, turn and underwaters were all solid. But I could barely get my arms out of the water the last 2-3 strokes. I know that is not training related. And I only take 13 strokes in a 50 fly. I was so tired afterward that I knew I shouldn't attempt the 100 IM. My fly and free feel the worst right now. Hopefully, I can do a :26 later in the season.

    50 back, 28.1

    Same story here. My start and underwaters were solid. I did have a bit of a glide into the turn. My turnover lacked some zip, especially the second length. I haven't done any AFAP backstroke since August while getting over bicep tendonitis, so I felt a little rusty. I could not get my heart rate down after this race for a long time. Hopefully, I can knock this time down some more later in the season.


    Later in the evening after I got home, the overall swelling went down and is now localized in the bicep area again. It seems like some kind of lymphedema ....idk ... I had KT tape on before my races. I took it off and was bruised in the entire area, suggesting little circulation. I'm off to get a chest CT scan this am and have a cupping and cryosauna appointment. I had planned on a meet in November. But I'm not going to compete until this clears up. And it looks like I will have to go back to mostly kicking, again.

    On the upside, I got to see my PV friends!

    Here are results:

    Updated October 31st, 2016 at 12:54 PM by The Fortress

  17. Friday Oct 28

    by , October 28th, 2016 at 05:16 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    I went to LA Fitness and did 1100 or so with some 100 pace 25s and a couple bursts. I saw the Ortho prior to the swim. He said that it is definitely not a bicep issue -- too strong on all the physical tests and no pain. Which is a relief, I guess. He also doesn't think it is Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. It just would be nice to know the identity of the culprit. I'm going to do some more bloodwork to see if there is any rheumatological concern. I went to the cryosauna today and that definitely helped. I wish I could go tomorrow but they are booked. The Ortho cleared me to swim in the meet on Sunday. I feel like the swelling impedes my flexibility somewhat and is uncomfortable. But at this point I see no reason not to go. I won't be on my A game after the last stressful 10 days where I've been in the water so little. But I think I'd be happier there than sitting at home. So I will Rocky it up. If my arm swells up too much, I will skip the Battle of the Drop Dead Sprinters at the end -- which would be quite sad really. So few of these races for my ilk.

    Updated October 28th, 2016 at 06:28 PM by The Fortress

    Swim Workouts
  18. Wed Oct 26

    by , October 27th, 2016 at 10:30 AM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    Swim/SCY/Solo @ LA Fitness

    600 various
    100 single arm fly
    4 x 25 power kick
    50 EZ
    2 rounds: 2 x 25 burst + cruise + 50 EZ
    12 x 25
    odds= 100 pace
    evens = EZ
    100 EZ


    The arm is still swollen, but my husband estimated the swelling was down about 70% last night (it seems worse this am -- maybe from the salt in the Thai food I ate last night?). The swelling was unremitting for many days. The only thing I've done differently is go to the cryosauna and take a concoction of apple cider vinegar, alpha lipoid acid and butcher's broom. I do have an appt tomorrow with an Ortho and a chest CT scan set up for Monday. The arm did not bother me swimming yesterday as it has on prior days, though it was a little red afterward. I wish I could go to the cryosauna today (and do more RICE) but it is Lil Fort's regional XC championship. Unfortunately, everyone on varsity has some niggling injury including her.

    Here are the psych sheets for the Sprint Classic. There are a whopping 239 swimmers in the meet, pretty darn big for an in season meet.

    Still not sure what to do about the meet. If it is trauma to the bicep it would seem inadvisable to put maximal pressure on it. I'm just not sure that it is. I'm not really mentally prepared either. I've been a bit unglued being in diagnostic limbo and have not been sleeping well. Not a good combination with so little exercise to mute the anxiety.

    Updated October 27th, 2016 at 11:09 AM by The Fortress

    Swim Workouts
  19. Sun Oct 23

    by , October 24th, 2016 at 06:22 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    I did 1600-1700 EZ at Bethel Park.

    The right arm swelling has not improved at all. It seems to get worse with swimming and the compression sleeve is not helping. This suggests it is not lymphatic in nature bc exercise and compression normally help that. I had an emergency appointment with my internist today. She sent me for a mammogram and sonogram. They were negative. I am supposed to get a chest CT scan next. There is no medication they can offer. They have no idea what the reason is for the swelling. My internist doesn't think it's idiopathic bc it is localized. I need Dr. House. It is all very upsetting.
    Swim Workouts
  20. Fri Oct 21

    by , October 22nd, 2016 at 03:53 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    Swim/SCY @ Pitt


    350 various (I was late, missed some warm up stuff)
    6 x 25 shooters w/fins @ :40
    8 x 25 build to fast @ :40
    -- alternated 2 @ 100 pace, 2 EZ
    50 EZ

    Main sets:

    Modified/cut back everything ...

    2 rounds:
    1 x 50 fly back @ 100 pace + 100 EZ
    1 x 50 breast free @ 100 pace + 100 EZ
    -- couple extra 50 EZs in there

    2 rounds:
    1 x 50 EZ
    1 x broken 100, :15 @ each 25 @ 100 pace
    1 x 100 EZ

    100 EZ

    Total: 2050


    I iced and elevated my arm all day with some diminution in swelling so decided to go swim. Unfortunately, it swelled again after practice. I spent the night elevating it and bought a compression sleeve today. I decided not to swim today since swimming makes it worse. I swam with two docs in my lane and their best guess is some lymphatic blockage that did not show up on the scan. I just really hope that this is a temporary and isolated incident and that I can swim next weekend. Definitely stressed out about this.
    Swim Workouts
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