Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Do You Believe in Magic?

Date: Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Time: 5:50 a.m.
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Long Course Meters
90 days to Olympic Trials

12x50 on 1:00
odd: 25 kick/25 swim
even: 25 drill/25 swim

4x200 on 3:30
50 back/50 breast/100 free (90 percent effort)
(avg. 2:47)

4x50 breast on 1:30
25 kick underwater/25 pull

100 easy

200 fly kick no board

6x50 on 1:15
25 breast kick fast underwater/25 easy

6x100 on 2:00
1-3: 50 back @ 200 IM effort (avg. :35)/50 free aerobic
4-6: 50 breast @ 200 IM effort (avg. :38)/50 free aerobic

200 easy

Total: 3,000 meters (75 minutes)

At the start of the final set, I started to feel a strain in the back of my neck. Throughout the set, it was hard to swim well as I felt the difficulty of trying to balance my head while swimming backstroke. I also had problems when I turned my head to breathe on freestyle. Oddly, I did not feel this strain very much on breaststroke.

I have been dealing with this pain in my neck all day. I took some ibuprofen, but it did not do much to dull the pain. I feel it is muscular in nature, but I could not pinpoint what caused it. The only thing I could figure was that during the set of fast underwater kicking, I was straining my neck to keep from exhaling underwater, in order to be able to go further before taking a breath. I did not do any sudden head movements, nor did I hit my head. If I had this pain when I woke up, I would have equated it to sleeping at a bad angle, but I felt just fine when I woke up, and had no issues during the first hour of swimming (other than the extremely warm water).

As fate would have it, today was my monthly massage appointment with Tod Miller. I told him about the "injury," and what I think may have caused it. He furrowed his brow, trying to think of the cause as well. He figured it might be a pinched nerve, caused by a random motion while swimming. (Possibly, but wouldn't I be in a lot more pain?) Or maybe it was just muscle strain, in which case I had come to the right person to make it all better. Tod's magic fingers worked on all the muscles in and around my neck, all the way to my shoulders and down into my upper back.  I have been feeling like a pretzel these past few days, and maybe this was a far as my muscles were willing to be twisted.

No matter. In a matter of 90 minutes, I was feeling closer to a real person again, instead of a robot without a neck joint. The tendons and muscles in my neck were much looser, and my upper body had better range of motion. This is why I am glad I decided to have monthly sessions with Tod, instead of three or four per year. I've been able to keep up this tough training for the past six months because I've had my muscles kneaded and stomped back into submission every month. It's made all the difference.

I came home and put ice on my neck for about 30 minutes. The numbness gave me more range of motion, and I'm sure the ibuprofen will help as well. If I wake up in the morning with a stiff neck, I probably will not swim in the morning. But I'm playing it all by ear.

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