‘Faith not fear’ Friday

Editor’s note: The editor apologizes for her recent overuse of alliterative titles. The popular “faith not fear” mantra just seemed like a great title for today’s post, and, well, it’s Friday. Feel free to throw tomatoes in my direction for too much cuteness.

Editor’s note No. 2: The editor was a lifeguard in high school and college who has great respect for the ocean, and was not the only person swimming at Virginia Beach yesterday. Just so you don’t think the editor has completely lost her mind.

I spent the past couple days in Virginia Beach, Va., to accompany Steve on a work trip. That meant working at a lovely independent bookstore and cafe called Prince Books during the day, and hitting the beach in the late afternoon and evening.

When I showed up at the beach on Wednesday evening, the water looked calm and lovely, perfect for an easy 30-minute swim:

When I showed up at the beach yesterday morning, though, the shoreline looked like the middle of the ocean, with huge whitecaps colliding with each other before they reached shore. The red flags posted on the lifeguard stands were billowing in the stiff wind, and the riptide was rumored to be something fierce.

I ditched the idea of going for a real swim (as if I could have if I’d wanted to!), and decided to get in and splash around. Instantly, the riptide knocked me sideways. I decided to take advantage of the conditions and swim into it (riptide=even better than an infinity pool for Great Chesapeake Bay Swim training), but ditched that plan when I literally didn’t go anywhere for 10 or 15 minutes (I was swimming hard, but the tide kept me in the same place).

Finally, I gave in, and decided to try to ride one of those crazy, disorganized waves back into shore. Between the huge waves barreling into me from the front and the riptide pulling me sideways, I was getting whipped all over the place as my feet stayed stubbornly planted in the sand …

Whoa. Feet planted, knee moving every which way with force? My knee!

I spent about a minute hyperventilating in fear at the idea of ruining my newly minted ACL graft, then realized: My foot stayed in the same place, and my body got whipped around all over the place … and I was *fine.*

I’m not planning to test my luck again anytime soon, but playing in rough water proved to be an important step for me in overcoming my post-ACL-tear fears. At my physical therapy graduation on Monday, we talked about how in the end, it’s just going to come down to getting out there and *doing* stuff. Yesterday, I did just that.

Not long after that, I spotted the perfect wave to take me back into shore. I waited until it was just about to crash on me, took a deep breath and flung myself in front of it, instantly propelled forward by its force. The wave was still strong and fast as I approached the shore, and I rolled quickly to my side to avoid being body-slammed onto the beach. I ended up flat on my back in ankle-deep water, giggling in exhilaration, unfazed by the dude with the boogie board standing a few feet away.

“Looks like you had a good ride,” he said, amused.

Well … yeah!

Have you ever worked your way back to normal activity after rehabbing from an injury? What were you afraid of, and how did you overcome that fear?




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8 responses to “‘Faith not fear’ Friday

  1. Awesome!! I love the ocean, and consider it a duty to get in every time I’m at the beach, no matter the conditions. It’s rough, cold, opaque, a little unpleasant, and exhilarating — and the day I don’t get in on a beach trip is the day I’ll consider myself officially OLD.

  2. With my elbow I honestly do not think about it anymore. Occassionally I revel at how skilled my surgeon was, to give me back the gift of using my left arm. It feels achy and sore sometimes after a long swim or cycle. But I honestly don’t think about it.

    Have you ever asked your surgeon how they know the grafts will hold? I asked mine. He told me they tried it out before they finished the job. That they tugged, pulled and checked – all of them (there were a team including students there as my operation was pretty rare). And no budging. That really helped me to have faith that I would not mess it up.

    I still freak out when it gets pulled straight (not supposed to do that and it physically can’t anymore so it hurts badly). It has happened twice. Each time I lay off swimming for a week or two to let it settle. Then, back with no further thoughts. Funny how when you have confidence you just don’t worry anymore.

  3. you’re insane. swimming in the rip tide! i love it. so glad you are starting to trust your new ACL!

  4. katekirk

    I haven’t had the kind of surgery-requiring injury you have had, Amy, but the nagging kind that have made me scale back the distance and frequency of my running. The crosstraining is probably good for me anyway, but I feel like my (albeit limited) running potential is not going anywhere. And maybe that is OK, since I’m not likely to win any awards, but I can’t help feeling that maybe *I* am the one doing the restraining, not really my hip.

  5. Umm… wow I would have died if I tired to swim in those water conditions. You are crazy!

  6. Lucas Yap

    Faith is really what I need now. I’ve never really been very active in sports until this year when I started working out and running seriously. I hope to run in a marathon one day. However, I’ve been suffering from injuries one after another and I’ve got chronic runner’s knee. And I can’t work out now because my shoulders kinda feel uncomfortable even though I haven’t really been pushing myself that much. Faith! I am going to focus my energy on recovery. Thanks for the inspiration Amy!

    • Thanks for stopping by the blog, Lucas, and for the kind words. Hang in there—as someone who’s suffered her share of sports injuries, I can confirm there’s a light at the end of that particular tunnel!

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