As a little kid, I remember trying to trick my mom into saying I was her favorite child.
Not surprisingly, she never fell for it.
But I admit it. I do have a favorite…come on, you know you do, too. Not a favorite child, but definitely, hands-down, always THE FAVORITE discipline in my triathlon world is RUNNING.
I can not lie. I’m guilty of favoritism. Any trail; any day, any time.
Unfortunately, playing favorites rarely turns out well and usually comes back to bite you in the ass or in this case, the ankle; multiple bone bruises and tendonitis to be exact. A classic overuse situation with a side of ramping up mileage too quickly. But, before I knew the diagnosis and exactly what was causing the pain, I experimented with my own remedies.
First, I tried to ignore the pain (didn’t work) and then get by with the shortest amount of rest between runs (also didn’t work). Eventually, I realized what everyone else had known for weeks--that I needed to see a doctor.
Fast forward to feeling sorry for myself (NOT my finest hour), then GRATITUDE that it wasn’t worse and knowledge that, eventually, it would heal.
So, what’s a Siren to do when biking and running are no longer on the training plan?
I hit the pool with renewed focus and channeled all my energy into The Swim. Before too long, I became a student of The Swim. I watched YouTube, went to swim clinics, swam in the ocean for races and training, read books and blogs and began to really get my swim on.
In short, swimming saved me. It kept me moving forward as I healed. And believe me, as a mother of three teenagers, this mama needed The Swim.
I did all the workouts I could with my ankle wrapped, then KT taped as I began to learn patience with the healing process and most importantly, solidified friendships at the pool. Nothing bonds you like months of early workouts in a cold and overchlorinated pool supporting your teammates. And, believe it or not, sitting with my leg in the ice bath and drinking coffee after practice became (almost) enjoyable.
When I reinstated running in August of this year, I was much more careful. More rest, more cross-training, new shoes, keeping up with the foam roller and chiropractor, and even learning to (almost) love strength training.
Swimming saved me from myself when I was feeling low and a little left behind as my peeps logged miles through the spring and summer. I’ve come a long way in my stroke technique, endurance, and core strength and I’m not willing to lose all that I’ve worked so hard for this season. I won’t soon forget what I now know, and I will always be thankful for what 2018 gave and in many unexpected ways.
Dory had it right when she said, “Just Keep Swimming.” Thanks, Dory. You are a wise little fish.
Written by Andrea Rutsky, Siren Luminary
Follow Andrea on Instagram @trailyogaaaahh