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  • emilyvonjentzen

Better Days Ahead

After several of my prior swims, when speaking to my crew afterwards, one thing that was interesting was that the worst parts of my swims, the middle of the night, me crying—at rock bottom—there were no photos. While I gave my crew full permission to document EVERYTHING by photo, video, or written notes in the crew log, no one was really comfortable documenting the bad times. I often think of that when I read back on my blogs from prior years and I always feel more inclined to write, to share, when things are going AWESOME.

It probably is human nature-for the most part-to feel better about sharing the good times as opposed to the hard ones. Well, in an effort to give the full picture here, this post is on the hard times; the right now hard times.

So as it turns out, my back pain last week was NOT simply my three hard weeks catching up to me, but rather I appear to have pulled a deep back muscle somehow. While I took it SUPER easy last week, I was in a pretty significant amount of pain for roughly 7 full days. I was on an exhausting cycle of ice, heat, and stretch--with the occasional bubble bath. After a trip to the walk in orthopedic clinic for some guidance, I was sent home with instructions to rest, wait and see and come back in a week if it hasn’t gotten better (and an assurance from the doctor that it was probably a muscular issue and nothing more serious).

So then I got an over the counter “tens unit” and rolled that into my cycle. I went back to work and created a makeshift desk podium (out of a bankers box) so that I could stand and type…all the while still rotating through my constant routine of ice, tens unit, heat, stretch, repeat.

I went to my yoga instructor to see if she had any “yoga magic” that could help and she also believed the issue to be muscular. She suggested rest and attempting to focus on using my abs more to relieve stress on the back. I did this at my super easy workout Friday morning and while I was swimming things were feeling pretty good (although turns were a little uncomfortable). Unfortunately after I swam I was still in pain.

Friday night I had dinner with my super-athletic-in-every-way-friend Savannah and she let me borrow a muscle rub called Deep Blue….which is similar to icy hot, but all natural with essential oils. So I added that to the mix, tried another super easy workout on Saturday morning (this time increasing my post swim hot tub time from 15 minutes to 30 minutes). This workout I had no pain while swimming (even on turns), but significant pain after my hot tub session.

So after refueling I had slathered on the Deep Blue, laid on my heating pad in a restorative yoga pose and rested, and rested, and rested. By Saturday evening I was finally starting to feel a little relief. I have been SLOWLY moving towards less and less pain ever since.

While being hyper focused on “fixing” my pulled back muscle I had a hard time keeping harmony in other areas of my life. Work stress and drama from an awful rotten neighbor—among other things—were not “processed” well by me over the past week. There were quite a few “cry-downs” and super dramatic worries about my back “never getting better.”


Of course, patience is still a virtue I struggle to embrace.


Fortunately amidst all of this sourness, I was able to resist the urge to stick to my training plan with the jump back up to hard training that was scheduled to resume on Saturday. I modified this week quite a bit (added an extra day off and cut out some significant yards) in the hope that I can be back to 100% soon

This past week has had me humming the chorus from a Pistal Annie’s song….”my life is like a lemon drop, I’m sucking on the bitter to get to the sweet part, I know there are better days ahead…”

Like tomorrow….my birthday!


January is over and here's my monthly yardage log.

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