The "Buchberger 12," and I have spent the last four months together.  The Buchberger 12 is a series of twelve exercises designed to strengthen the rotator cuff and scapular (shoulder blade) stabilizing muscles of the shoulder. These exercises prepare and protect the shoulder for the extreme stresses of overhand sports (baseball, softball, swimming, volleyball, tennis, water polo, etc.). The 12 exercises are performed over two days--six exercsises on the first day, and a second six on the second day (twice a day, then repeat). This routine, combined with my back physical therapy (core) exercises and side lying hip series keep the days interesting and shoulder on the path to healing. Sometimes I'm as graceful as a water buffalo.

I haven't done half as much swimming this month compared to the last two December's due to the rotator cuff overuse injury. There were many days this month I was told not to swim. After a weekly appointment for Active Relase Therapy (ART) two weeks ago, I was told I could finally get back in the pool and "flop my feet around." That is like telling a cat to dive in a fish tank to 'look but don't touch.' I tried my best. Really. One Friday I kicked and kicked and kicked. On my stomach. On my side. On the other side. Streamline on my back. Dolphin with arms at my side. Never a kickboard--the added arching really hurts my lower back. Finally I snuck in a few 25s freestyle as a test. The next swim I snuck in a few more lengths. My post swim time includes going through the six exercises followed by icing. Last Friday, I showed greater range of motion and I've been able to increase my yardage the last few days. Today, my shoulder felt great but my lower back did not.

This past Saturday, my husband and I were standing behind our lane, "thinking about" jumping into the pool (ever notice the "swimmers" are the last to get in?) when a woman approached. She asked, "Which lanes are you going to take up?" I smiled and explained that we were sharing the lane and she was shocked. I told her that I wouldn't mind sharing with eight or 20 people. We're used to it. Have you ever watched new arrivals on the pool deck lurk behind the lanes, arms crossed, creating postural distortion with one hip higher than the other, looking as if they are ready to explode as they wait for their OWN empty lane? Some of them will hover for 20 minutes instead of asking if they can join a lane already in progress, or gasp-- circle swim. Sure it's their choice, but they need to give the swimmers some space. If I'm in the middle of a set, I don't stop and actively search for others to invite into my lane 4 tribe. At the end of a set, swimmers may give you the nod or wave you in. If you are the new arrival on deck, find a lane with similar ability, pick a side, and sit and slide. I know the others exist, however. The swimmers who do not share their lanes. But most swimmers are there for a workout and don't mind sharing at all. Learn to share a lane and you'll spend more time exercising and less time waiting.