For a good few years of my life I was in the sea pretty much every day, and the life I was leading up until my accident consisted solely of the beach and surfing. So it was pretty strange when that all came to an abrupt halt and I found myself on dry land.
I have basically had to block it all from my mind because it is pretty painful to think about one of my biggest passions in life and the fact that I will almost certainly never be able to do it again. I love the beach, I love the waves and I love watching people surfing. These days, though, it makes me sad, but at the same time I can’t completely erase it because it is still such a massive passion of mine. My sister and her fiance have taken up surfing and I love hearing about their little surf trips, and I am forever trying to convince people to learn to surf, but it kills me that I can’t do it myself any more.
It is the same with loads of sports for me. It is almost worse I think that I played so many sports before my accident than if I had been a pretty inactive person. Everyone thought it would be great that I played tennis quite a lot before, for example, because they thought that I would get involved with wheelchair tennis and everything would be great. Well, I don’t quite see it that way unfortunately. When I play tennis in a wheelchair (which I have quite a few times now) I just get frustrated that I can’t play like I used to; I can’t move around the court properly, I can’t get to shots, and I feel like everyone has to feed the ball to me just so that I can get it back. And the frustration leads to me getting upset and miserable, and all in all it just isn’t the most pleasant experience for anyone involved!
So I have been especially apprehensive about swimming since my accident, and although I have been in a pool on a few occasions over the last two years, I haven’t attempted to properly swim. Well until Friday that is, when I had my first ‘proper swimming session’ with my Personal Trainer Jo. I have completely avoided public swimming pools because they hoist you in to the pool in a very undignified way, and I don’t like the idea of there being loads of people/kids in the pool, and public pools are normally pretty cold. But one of Jo’s other clients has very kindly agreed to let me use their pool…. well the picture speaks for itself really….
And I ended up having an absolutely awesome time, and a great workout too. Swimming is amaaaaazing exercise, and it was so nice to not be reliant on a chair or a standing frame or any other form of mobility equipment. I could just swim normally (ish) and I even did front crawl once I was feeling brave enough. Of course I turned it into a competition (I just can’t help myself).. Jo swam breast stroke while I did front crawl because I wanted to see if I could go faster than her! I think I did pretty well, especially for my first time, and I definitely have something to work on now.
It is now going to become part of my weekly exercise schedule (although I am rapidly running out of days in the week!) And I have been told about some bits of equipment that I can get to give us more drills to do in the pool.
So now that I have got back in the water again and remembered just how much I love it, maybe I will have to persevere with the other sports I loved and hopefully I can begin to enjoy them again. I just need to accept that they will be different for me now, but as with everything in my life these days, different doesn’t necessarily mean bad.
Jo….you know I had to include our ‘team shower’ pic for everyone to see….