Swimming through back pain
Originally from Switzerland, a regular weekend for Michaela Loher Seaton usually involved the odd mountain or two — either climbing up them, or skiing down them. Now 10 years later with two children and work to juggle, Michaela has overcome her persistent back pain and is conquering new peaks — this time in the pool at Heatley. Here she tells TheGo about how she has a new lease on life.
“Before kids and my new life in Australia I used to ‘go’ a fair bit. I ran, mountain biked, climbed mountains, trained with the local sports club in athletics and skied whenever I got a chance to. Hiking and running have always been high-up in my books.
Well, things have changed: Kids do that sort of thing to you, but there’s nothing wrong with that. Through my pregnancies my back started to cause me quite a few problems, then — after the discomfort coming and going — I was in constant pain. I had doctors’ appointments, physiotherapy sessions, went to Pilates; but nothing would ease my pain. If anything, my mood swings got worse.
“At times it got really embarrassing for me having top athletes, or even grandmas, next to me swimming lap-after-lap with what looked like no effort at all. But I was wrong — all those people, including the top athletes, were absolutely supportive and helpful, giving me great advice” - Michaela Loher Seaton
Then at the end of last year I finally got into some good hands — professionals who actually understood my pathology and my pain. Now I’m on the mend. Swimming has become a big part of it. I got talked into it, literally, as I could not swim at all. Meaning, four strokes in freestyle and I was close to drowning! So I went to buy new swimmers (for motivation), a floaty for my legs and a board to hold on to.
I started off going one to three times a week, which wasn’t, and still is not, easy to manage with my family’s life; but we manage together. Sometimes they all come with me or I use the kids’ swimming lessons to get a short training session in too. The worst part though was trying to find a pool which wasn’t too busy, as I didn’t want to slow down all these great swimmers! At times it got really embarrassing for me having top athletes, or even grandmas, next to me swimming lap-after-lap with what looked like no effort at all. But I was wrong — all those people, including the top athletes, were absolutely supportive and helpful, giving me great advice.
Three months later and a couple of arm muscles richer I am up to 20 laps freestyle swimming, without any floats. I am very proud of myself. I haven’t quite given up running though — I have just chosen a version with less impact by popping on a floating belt, some old runners and going up into the deep end of the pool for some cardio. I would never have thought to do anything else but run on the road but, guess what, I love it and it’s heaven during North Queensland’s summertime!
Moving just makes me happy and being able to do so out in amongst nature is all the motivation I need: being outdoors is giving me so much satisfaction! I love to take deep breaths in and enjoy what’s around me and be aware of how extraordinary it all is. It’s different on the top of a mountain, in a grass field or along the ocean. Speaking of which, sailing around the world still is a dream of mine, which my husband and I will hopefully be able to realise one day!”