Iron Mike's Marathon Swims All I am is a body adrift in water, salt and sky

Wow, February already?

February 19, 2017 / by ironmike

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Hadn’t realized it has been so long since I posted. Jeez. Much has happened. For instance, I didn’t win the Marathon Swimmers Federation solo swimmer. Not big surprise for the competition I had. (Congrats Howard James!)

What has been happening most germane to my swimming was trouble with my elbow. I’ve had a bum elbow for quite a while. During my military retirement physical, the orthopedic doc, staring at an x-ray of my hinky joint, told me “I’ve never seen arthritis in an elbow, but I imagine if I were to look at one, this is what it would look like.”

Well, now that elbow gives me the occasional, and annoying, pain in the, um, elbow. The pain sometimes radiates down my forearm to my hand, putting parts of it to sleep. The pain is sharp and only lasts for a second, but the shooting pain down the arm lasts longer. I’ve tried to isolate when it happens; seems more so that it is when I’m extending for the pull.

A different pain occurs sometimes when I’m swimming in the tendons around the inner elbow. Using my crack research team (Google, WebMD), it seems what I’ve got there is golfer’s elbow. At least that’s the closest I can seem to find for that particular pain.

I’ve dealt with this over the last couple of months by lessening my swimming volume, but also quitting things like pull-ups, and holding heavy bags in my right hand. It seems to be doing the job. The last couple of weeks the swimming has felt fine, elbow-wise, if not volume-low (only about 4 miles a week the last two). I’m keeping the sessions boring and low-impact; no speed work, no intervals. I need my elbow to maintain for my summer plans and I hope this plan of LSD (not the drug, mom, but Long Slow Distance) will work.

This recent elbow pain came up in a conversation with my wife. She reminded me of my Issyk Kul swim last year. The day after on the drive home, I was sitting in the passenger seat and reached to the glove compartment with my right arm and pain immediately shot down the arm. Same pain. Dammit.

For that swim I had a regimen of pain killers which I followed. I’m not following that regimen with my weekly swimming. Maybe I should start taking 600mg of ibuprofen on the days that I swim and see if that helps. I’ll certainly be following a regimen in July in Manhattan!

So that’s what I’ve been doing since before Christmas. How about you, dear reader(s)? What have you been up to?

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