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slick's shoulder surgery blog

Two steps forward, one step back

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by , September 24th, 2012 at 01:52 PM (398 Views)
About two months after joining Masters in August of 2011, I started thinking about competing in some meets. I wanted to put in some time and get into decent shape beforehand, so I decided that I would start swimming meets when the short course yards season came around. The first SCY meet was at the end of January 2012, so that would give me a full six months to train first. I also planned to swim at local SCY meets in February and March, which would help me get ready for our Association Championship meet in April.

So I started putting together a training plan, which pretty much just involved gradually increasing my weekly practices over the upcoming months. I had a vacation planned at the end of February, but by March I wanted to be swimming 5 days per week before tapering for the big meet in April. I didn’t have any set goal times or anything, I just wanted to see what I could do.

Soon January came around and I started to get pretty excited for my first USMS meet. A few days before the meet, I felt those familiar butterflies in my stomach as I prepared my packing list. Extra towels – check! Backup cap and goggles – check! Deck coat and sweats – check! Powerade and bagels – checkitty-check! I was definitely nervous but pumped.

I had signed up for 100 fly, 50 free, and 50 fly. My goals were to just make my seed times. 100 fly was up first –eep! My teammates were at the end of the pool cheering hard for me at the walls. Things started off great, but then the last 40 yards….well, let’s just say that I survived. I ended up going a 1:08, which I was happy with. I remembered that during my senior year of high school - two years after I had quit club swimming – I had gone a 1:07. So I felt pretty satisfied, until I saw my splits! I split a :30 and then :38. Ouch! Obviously I was a bit excited and I didn’t quite have the racing endurance I needed yet, but I knew there was lots of room for improvement.

Up next was the 50 free…the ol’ splash n’dash. After that 100 fly, my nerves just melted away so I was ready to have some fun. And it was totally fun….until the end of the race. Without thinking about it, I finished the race hard with my left arm outstretched. As soon as my hand hit the wall, I felt the tear and pop in my shoulder. I quietly mumbled obscenities as I exited the pool and walked over to the warm down area. I was totally shaken, and as soon as I jumped in the tears started flowing.

I hadn’t really given my shoulder injury much thought in a while, since it had been maybe 8-9 months since my last subluxation event. Maybe I just wanted to forget about it, or maybe I was distracted from it since starting back with Masters, or maybe I was in some level of denial. But suddenly I was harshly reminded of it, and it felt like a smack in the face. I guess it had finally dawned on me that my injury might not allow me to do what I had come to love again over the past six months, and I felt crushed.

But, I calmed myself down, picked myself up, and swam the 50 fly about 20 minutes later. I went a :29.4 – not bad for partially dislocating just a few minutes earlier. It was a nice consolation prize, but I left the meet with an overwhelming and devastating feeling of uncertainty for my future in the pool.

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