Moving past injury and finding a new zen place by VPA athlete @orangeluvr
Finding a new love
I’m a triathlete. I am also active doing other things like hiking, paddle boarding, jet skiing, and so on. When you are active doing other things you love, sometimes sh*t happens. When that happens you sit there and think “crap, how is this going to affect my training?” We all do it, no matter what our sport of choice is. We all are worried about injuries, regardless of how big or little they are. This story is not going to be about my injury so much, but rather about how my injury helped me find a new love and a new challenge.
My license plate on my vehicle is “WTR CHIK” because I love the water. I love boating, SUP, swimming, floating, tubing, and of course Jet Skiing. Last summer while out on our Wave Runners/Jet Skis we got stuck in some mud. Not that big of a problem, done it before, and we just deal with it. That day was different. I stepped off my Wave Runner and immediately my right leg went in up to my calf in mud. I tried pulling it out, it sank to my knee. I tried again and before I knew it I was up to my mid-thigh in mud and I was starting to panic. It’s here, quicksand…it is real. I told my husband, who was pulling the Wave Runner into deeper water that he had to pull me out. I didn’t want my other leg sinking so I quit trying. I was literally panicking and yelling at him to pull me out. Finally he was able to pull me out. What I didn’t realize until a few weeks later, that incident pulled my leg slightly out of the SI joint. I couldn’t tell at that time, it wasn’t too terrible until a few weeks went by and I couldn’t walk. After some rehabbing at home myself, it was fine the next day. I completed a triathlon that weekend without issue. A few days later the left side went out and did not get better. After going to the doctor and finding out about my SI joint, I also found out that it caused my disc to bulge in my L5. The doctor said I can recover, which is a good thing, but it may take a while. I have now had 2 rounds of shots and two rounds of PT. Fingers crossed this will catapult me into recovery more.
Now what? Well I can sit and sulk over the fact that I shouldn’t run OR I can find something else to do. So, I focused on my cycling (which I am still slow as heck at) and my swim. SWIM. I love the water (WTR CHIK), and although I was not a competitive swimmer until I became a triathlete 6 years ago, I have decided to focus on swimming more. The more I focus on swimming, the more I love it. I started looking for swim races. I have my heart set on 4 this year, one I am registered for, waiting for the others to open. The more I am in the water, the more comfortable I am with myself, it has become my place of zen. But there is one thing I still need to focus on to get me to where I think I want to be. I want to swim in open water all the time (except in the winter because I don’t do cold). The thing I need to focus on? My fear of seaweed. Yep, you read that right, someone who eats only plants is afraid of water plants. I love animals and I am not afraid of sharks, jelly fish, turtles, or anything else like that…but get a plant to infringe upon my swim path and I can almost walk on water. So, any suggestions would be helpful! I am looking forward to doing more swim races in the future.
Currently I am signed up for a 70.3 relay where I have a runner. I am training for a 3.5 mile swim in St. John, Virgin Islands, Memorial Day weekend. Then Virginia Beach Life Guard Association has swim series over the summer that I will likely sign up for. Therefore, Aqua Bike races and Swim races will be my new way forward, with a focus more on swim races. I have found my new love, a love that was always there, but one that has come into focus due to injury.
So, when you find yourself at a place you don’t think you want to be, refocus and find your new love.