For some reason, I am only witty between the hours of 4 and 6 AM. I had a wonderful post all scripted out while I was driving this morning, and it was even funny, like something people would actually want to read... but of course, now that the afternoon has rolled around, I've utterly forgotten it. Bah.
The shoulders are, well, hanging in there. Better than race day, but definitely not good enough for eight miles. Last night I did the entire 3500 meters kick except for 3 x 200 IM, which I swam normally (but with fins). I could feel them getting worse as the practice wore on, but there was also a weird sense of relief to finally just push through the pain and work my arms again. It's been almost two weeks and I don't do well when I can't swim. On the flip side, though, I can ignore a lot of pain and fatigue if I have to; there seems to be a certain unconscious 'meter' in my head which tells me how much to hold back. I think that comes from the nine-times-a-week thing; if you go all-out every time, pushing through sore or tired muscles, you'll regret it in twelve hours when you're doing it again. And because of that, I instinctively don't 'max out' on any level during practice. Same goes for open-water races. Only when I'm swimming a (comparatively) short pool race do I tell myself "No reason to hold back," and just go as fast and as hard as I can. That's sort of what I did last night - not sprinting by any means, but just telling myself, "No reason to protect the arms," and swimming normally. Not the best decision, probably, but I needed that one little interlude; I miss it so much.
Anyway, I was sore afterward, so I went home, took Aleve, "iced the heck out of them" (Kelly's words) and tried to sleep with my arms down by my sides instead of curled up near my head like I usually do. And, wonder of wonders, it may have done some good. The arms may have gotten the message that not only do they have to heal, they have to do it in a way which means I can still swim once they do. They're better. In fact, they're much better. But they're obviously not 100% yet. So. The time has come for drastic action. I'm not going to swim for five days (well, four days now) - until Tuesday night's practice. I'm going to ice them, and rest them, and pop Aleve, and do everything right. If during Tuesday's practice I don't feel like I've made significant strides forward, if the practice is not entirely (or almost) pain-free - then (a) I won't do Boston, and (b) I'll swallow my misgivings and try to find a doctor or physical therapist before I leave, like my aunt (who had a similar problem) suggested. I'm getting tired of everything being dependent on everything else, and something has to be decided, one way or another. The race is four weeks from tomorrow. My (tentative) intended departure date from the U.S. is the next day. I'm running out of time. My physical conditioning would probably still be fine to swim even if I just sat on the couch and ate bonbons until then, but those tendons may not be, and I know myself. If I did that race, even if I was in pain after the first stroke, I would still finish. I'd do breaststroke, and kick on my back, and whine a lot, but I wouldn't quit. Sometimes I think I don't know how to quit. So this is my bottom line, because I won't take the chance of hurting myself more severely, maybe permanently.
See, that sounds mature, doesn't it? That's the trick: if I write it down here, maybe I'll actually follow my own advice for a change! :)
Anyhow, so this is the 'tangled web we weave':
- I can't book a plane ticket, because I don't know if I can swim Boston yet.
- I don't know about Boston, because my shoulders aren't healed yet.
- Even if the shoulders heal, I still don't know if I can do Boston, because I don't know if the race coordinators will let me use a kayak escort.
- I don't know that, because they haven't made a decision yet.
- I also can't book a Eurail ticket, because I don't know what day I have to be back at UCU for orientation.
- I don't know that, because the orientation packet refuses to arrive in the mail.
- Therefore, I don't know if I'm doing Italy, France, and Greece or just Italy and France, because I don't know how much time I have.
- Therefore I can't even pack effectively, because I don't know what the sequence of pre-semester events is going to be.
Oops, Mary just drove up, finished with another exciting day in Macclenny. Sometimes I feel like I'm almost in a stupor after I finish that run; I'm glad I only have it once a week. Ten hours is a long time to drive in circles through the rural outskirts of Jacksonville, dodging construction, crazy semi drivers, and street-sleeping bulldogs (that would be in Maxville).
Speaking of which, there was a turtle crossing the road at 5 AM at the beach this morning. It made it about 2/3 of the way across, then saw my headlights and froze. I might have gotten out and helped it, but I've heard that they don't like it when you do that (Greg claims he got bitten once). I will now use the darkness and the early hour to explain away the fact that I know nothing about turtle breeds and say only that although it looked too small to be a sea turtle, it was heading in the apparent right direction (towards the ocean), so I just crept slowly around it and wished it luck.