Category: Health

Knee-ly there

(I do love me a craptastic punific title!!)

I was at the physio yesterday and, bar a spot of confusion over the eccentric loading exercises I’d been given previously*, it went well. It’s the small things that matter you see, and the fact that the physio was able to prod and press on that tender spot under my left kneecap WITHOUT ME WANTING TO PUNCH HER IN THE FACE WITH A BRICK was, I believe, a very good thing. Progress indeed.

After a course of ultrasound on my knee the physio gave me some new exercises (raised-heel weighted squats, some lunges and more flexibility focussed work) and an entire week within which to make some progress. I’ll need to go for a couple of brisk walks at some point as well to see how well the knee holds up to that kind of exercise.

All in all it’s good progress, with the hint that I may be able to start jogging again, lightly, in the near future. It will be difficult to get back into the routine I’m sure, and I do need to shift some weight ASAP before that, but I have the advantage of knowing that I can start from scratch and work my way up.

I will go back to jogScotland without a doubt. The way they structure their programs lends itself to rehabilitation of an injury, so I’ll likely slot into one of the beginner groups and just take it easy. We’ll see how it goes I guess.

So, on a gloomy rainy grey day I have a glimmer of light, and it just goes to show what can be achieved when you actually listen to the experts and stick to the training programme they have given you (yeah yeah, shut up).

* Eccentric loading is, as it sounds, a way of exercising an injured area without adding undue stress. One of the exercises I was given involved a simple squat, you lower yourself into the squat then lift the injured leg off the floor before raising yourself up out of the squat with your good leg. The physio yesterday questioned it, as did I as you aren’t actually working the injured leg (but that’s the point!), and there was a small moment where I wondered if I’d spent a month doing the wrong exercises!! Thankfully, I hadn’t.

I miss the plod plod plod

You know when, during a conversation with someone, something they say just clicks and seems so obvious that you wonder why on earth you hadn’t realised it until now? I had such a moment recently and the clarity of what was said was quite startling.

I’m mourning my ability to run.

It’s quite a simple sentence and, without wanting to belittle anyone who is mourning the loss of a loved one, quite a powerful statement. Powerful enough to make me request a physio appointment to try and get my knee sorted (any ability to exercise it would be good), powerful enough to make me decide that I should be doing some base exercises to improve my flexibility and strength, powerful enough to get me thinking about my diet and hopefully to make some proper inroads into weight loss.

The constant nagging reminders bounce past me on pavements, lithe and flowing like I never did despite picturing myself that way. Toned and controlled muscles in perfect motion I was not, but I miss the high, the achievement of a run in wild weather when sensible people are tucked up at home, the thrill of distance and speed, the banter and chat, the shared goals and breathless pain. I miss having that constant nag telling me to get to bed earlier, eat right, watch my posture, drink plenty of water, the little voice in my head that for once had a real chance of being heard, the angel in running shoes.

I miss being god of the morning, I miss it all.

But this isn’t a sad post, nor a plea for encouragement or help. Instead it is a public acknowledgement that I’m trying, that I’m doing what I can. I’m shouting into the void, the full fury of pent up frustration unleashed, leaving my desire quietened if not sated. It is a not a gushing, out-pouring of angst (honest, it’s not), but a quiet realisation that things change, as they always have, and that getting on with getting on is about all that can be done.

Vastus Lateralis

I have a weak vastus lateralis and a sore knee!

The physio lady was very nice, chatty, friendly and didn’t have cold hands at all. She was a complete bitch.

After some questions about how I got the injury and some gentle prodding and pushing of the area around my knee, she asked me to pull my toes back, tense the muscles in my leg, and lift it up off the bed. Standing to one side, she put one arm under my leg, just behind my knee, and told me to try and stop my leg from bending whilst she pushed down on the lower half of my leg.

After punching her repeatedly in the face she finally stopped.

Actually it wasn’t that bad, but my knee is noticeably sore, although she did warn me about that. During the initial questions I remarked that the pain was around a 3 or 4, but about 8 when the doctor pushed the sore bit. When I commented that, of course, that was what doctors do and she looked up from the chart she was scribbling on to warn me that “ohhh Physios are much worse”.

So, it turns out that because the muscle on the inside of my left knee isn’t as strong as it should be, then running has been ‘pushing’ my kneecap to and fro, which has caused the inflammation (the sore bit) and a little scar tissue under the kneecap. Strengthening the knee around that area should stop this from happening, so I have a couple of exercises to do until my next appointment.

Which is about what I expected, the exercises that is, not the weak muscle thing. That I can probably trace back to damaging my knee during a hike many many moons ago, and which still causes me to walk a little funny, which in turn is probably more pronounced when I run. It’s obvious when you think about it…

So, exercises from the physio will be added to the “soon to be started” regime of general core strengthening stuff, and possibly even a little pilates or somesuch. I won’t be going running any time soon, but when I do I want to be lighter, stronger and more flexible.

And I figure if I say it on here, then at the very least there will be an element of public shame if I don’t stick to said regime.

Now, pass the doughnuts. What? The diet starts TOMORROW…

The Long Run

It’s like something is constantly, gently, clawing at the inside of my forehead. My concentration is shot, and I flit between things I need to get done and other tasks and diversions. Unimportant yet easier to handle in my current state of mind. Diverted, distracted, stressed and unable to gain a moment of calm. Sleep arrives, quickly followed by the alarm, another day spent tired and worn out. Maybe I need a holiday?

Stepping out into the morning air, the dew clinging to the chill on the breeze my brain is already going, rolling along through the checklist for the day. Phone her, start this, talk to him, finish that, all tumbling together regardless of priority, without due care as to why they are present, scrabbling for attention, for verification, clamouring to be noticed above the noise.

As I ease the car from the driveway, the damp air pools down the windows, the blades wiping the glass clean. My brain clutter continues.

Pulling out into the road, navigating potholes, the car speeds up as I force my attention forward and away from the rambling chaos that jumbles my view. I press on, and push down into the depths of my mind, searching once more for that notion, that precious thing that helps me focus, that has kept me on track for a while now. Once shiny and new, an unexpected visitor, it now lies dormant, run over and road dirtied. I swerve to avoid a carcass, briefly wondering if I am suffering the same, and immediately unsure of which I mean. Runover or swerving? Both?

The sun flashes behind me, peeking over hills and through treetops, blinding and guiding me as the road winds on. Winding through fields, crows peck at the threads of my mind and scatter, pulling them away, swooping and wheeling, dark and featureless.

I grasp at moments hoping they will stick and help me through, clinging to shards of hope until the road jars them from my grasp. The fall and shatter and on I search.

The journey settles down, familiar and routine and my thoughts drift, quieting my attention, but only for a while. They always return and as I approach my destination, so the fog descends, blocking my view, hiding the hidden notion, obscuring the corners and recesses of thought. As I slow to take a corner, a rabbit, startled, takes off in a graceful fit of speed. Running hard, bounding, turning and twisting, it runs free.

And my answer is found.

You see I’ve been feeling, I dunno, not stressed really, more distracted and a little jittery recently. Nothing major, and it only really hits home when I sit down to try and get through some work (in the office or at home). It’s only really come on a few weeks ago and it’s taken me until now to figure out what has caused it.

I’m off to see the Doctor on Friday to see what he says but it’s almost a relief to realise that I’m not going mad, I’m not descending into any deep dark places. I just miss running.

I’m guessing at Patellar Tendinitis, but I’ll let the Doc decide…

Vitamin injuries

In an effort to try and be a little more healthy, and being aware that, despite my best efforts I just don’t eat enough ‘green’ stuff, I’ve started taking multi-vitamins. One a day, it says, for 100% RDA of… well lots of things which are all good for you. That’s what it says on the tub, Asda own brand, do you know how expensive these things are? I’m not made of money you know, need to keep some cash aside for the gardener.

So I’m watching what I eat, taking multi-vitamins, drinking plenty of water and trying to cut down on the caffeine intake. In saying that, my caffeine intake isn’t really that high, not when you compare it with some of the numpties out there. Ohh “numpties” is a great word, isn’t it, and is currently being used in an advert for car insurance.

Where was I?

Ahh yes, with a 5K this Sunday and two more 10Ks to come in before the end of October, I’m trying to lose a little more weight and be a little more healthy. My body is a temple and all that, although currently it feels like I’m carrying a big barrel of water in front of me whilst I run, a bit too flibbedy-flobbedy for my liking. Not so much a temple but an imitation of buddha perhaps. I’ve been plodding on as best I can but have had to stop.

I’m injured. I’m trying not to add 2 and 2 to make 7 but it DOES coincide with when I started taking the multi-vitamins…

Now being injured is not a new experience for me, be it a broken foot, torn ankle ligaments, dodgy back, etc etc. There has rarely been a year gone past without me ending up crocked or, at worst, in plaster. Well there HAD rarely been a year gone past until last year. I started this jogging thing in July 2006 and 366 days later (ok, maybe not exactly).. well you can guess what happened. A twinge on the outside of my left knee got worse and worse and forced me to stop (Lateral Collateral Ligament I think).

That was last Wednesday and I rested up until last night figuring that would be long enough.

I was wrong.

All of 15 mins into a very gentle jog and I had to phone Louise to come and pick me up. Ohh the humiliation.

So don’t mind me, I’m a little down and hacked off as, previously, any time I’ve tried to “get into exercise” this is the point where I lose interest and give up.

But I’m determined that won’t happen again, not this time. No way. Not now. Not after all that bloody work, not after all the runs in the teeming rain, the cold winter evenings running through snow and ice, the balmy summer evenings that leave me drained and exhausted.

But most of all I’m not giving up because I want to relive the few highs I achieved, those moments when I forget I was running and the world woke up before me, those moments when I felt so alive, so basic and raw. No, I’m not giving that up.

No way.

Recently I have…

… laughed until I cried at the way Louise’s cousin tells stories. She is hilarious.

… bought some new music. More on that in another post though, but it’s been a while. I can always tell when I’m need a new ‘fix’ because I invariably start listening to old favourites on a regular basis.

… been enjoying the chorizo and black pudding tapas that Louise made. Recipe may follow if she can remember what she put in it.

… been cursing Sky+. I had recorded the European Grand Prix and settled down on Sunday evening to watch it (whilst flicking back and forth to the Open golf). What a race! 5 laps to go and Alonso is harassing Massa to try and take the lead when up pops a message on-screen. “End of Recorded Programme”. WTF?! OK, there were some delays because of the rain but I thought Sky+ could handle programmes that ran over their alloted time. Feckers.

… been loving the BBC and Peter Alliss. Like Murray Walker, he will be sadly missed when he decides to hang up the microphone. One choice phrase from Sunday, describing the impact of the championship on local businesses and of their return to normality: “The local newspaper shop will cancel the order for 9000 papers and go back to the usual order of 10 copies of the Dundee Courier and a copy of Men Only for the vicar.”

… sent away two race applications, both a little late so I might not get a place. One 5K in Hamilton in a couple of weeks time, the other a 10K in Cumbernauld in September.

… enjoyed the professionally quashed double-take I received whilst getting fitted for my kilt for my friends wedding. When I asked when the kilt would be ready to pick up, the salesman said he would just phone “Ehh.. Mr. Humphrey I guess… or is it Mr. Beattie, it doesn’t say”. To which I replied “Well yes, either of them would do”. He twitched slightly before glossing over it. Well done Mr. Salesman.

… spent most of the last two days alone. Well not alone but as good as, for “she who must be obeyed” has had her nose stuck in some book or other. Apparently joking about “just reading the last chapter” is verbotin.

… been writing up some posts for my other blog but struggling to finish them for some reason, just can’t quite pull the threads together properly.

… “enjoyed” a hill session on Sunday morning. Apparently some of our jogScotland coaches have sadistic tendencies! I thought they were all nice and fluffy but no, give them a whistle and soon you are sprinting up hills, repeatedly, until all the oxygen on the planet disappears and your legs go all wobbly. Jim, the coach who took us, said that we’d look back on it and realise we’d enjoyed it, everyone laughed. Dammit though, he’s right.

(i)Plodding along

Struggled out for a run last night, bloody freezing it was, and had my first ‘confrontation’ with a small, slightly angry looking dog. Looked a bit like a pit bull to me so I gave it a wide berth, hoping that my day-glo yellow top would scare it off. Thankfully it only stood and glared at me, for if it had given chase then it would easily have caught me and had a nice juicy leg to chew on, during which I’d be trying to decide whether to try and kick it with my free leg, or just enjoy the rest…

Speaking of rest, the ‘rest’ of the gadget blogs out there need to give this whole iPhone thing one, it’s getting beyond a joke! I’ve been using Daring Fireball to ‘track’ the goings-on and there has been a right old mix of interesting posts, and downright shoddy reporting. But I won’t mention it any further here because…

Ohh indulge me for a moment please.

The iPhone DOES look very very smart and I can see me owning one in the future. I am currently HATING my Samsung, and wish I’d never moved away from the smartphone (Windows Mobile) models. Seeing how well the iPhone handles email and the internet – two things I THOUGHT I didn’t need on my phone as I was trying to simplify my life – makes me sad and angry that I’m stuck with my current phone for another 10 months!! ARGH!!

However, I most certainly will not be getting the current version of the iPhone, for one reason and one reason only. You can’t remove/swap the SIM card. You see I’ve always had contracts for my mobile phones but my usage pattern fluctuates quite a bit and I’m toying with going PAYG in the future… or certainly looking to get a more flexible contract. As such I am also considering buying a handset outright and then I can swap my SIM/contract as and when I like.

That’s the plan anyway.

Dammit, I wasn’t going to talk about the bloody iPhone… oh well.


Well done the Edinburgh Evening News for posting only “good” news yesterday. Apparently “readers would find only uplifting and positive stories.”

I think other local city papers should follow their example, as the Edinburgh Evening News thought that local MP Alistair Darling being named as the Chancellor of the Exchequer was good news (good news for HIM I guess), and, and this really is the icing on the cake, they also made sure to report the good news of the drop in the number of new syphilis cases in the city.

Bravo Edinburgh! Syphilis free by 2010!!


And finally… tonight we are off out to Yen Rotunda for some teppenyaki. My previous review is still listed on their website, so maybe it’s about time I claimed my free drink. Spookily enough (this one is for my mother) it’s exactly two years since I was last there. Here’s hoping it’s as good as I remember.

How does it know?!

In preparation for painting on Sunday, I filled the iPod with a random selection of ‘general listening’ music, or as Louise said “I hope you didn’t just fill it with your crap…”. As it turned out it was a pretty good selection, even if we only got through 108 of 784 tracks..

Fast forward to last night, I dash into the house, change into my running stuff, grab said iPod and dash back out the door (big dark clouds, and I wanted to try and remain slightly dry you see, yeah yeah I know, I’m a big wuss). I jump in the car and head off to the park and I’m halfway there before I realise that I’ve not changed the music on the iPod.

Oh well, nothing for it now, I think to myself and head off on my run.

First track, Take it Easy by The Eagles; “Well I’m a runnin’ down the road, tryin ta loosen my load..”. I laugh a little to myself.

20 minutes later, right after a large hill, Robert Palmer, Addicted to Love: “You’re runnin’ at a different speed,
Your heart beats in double time… Your throat is tight, you can’t breathe”. This time I grimace along, ironically.

And I actually think that, gosh, how ironic.. and that gets me thinking about.. bloody hell, the very next track.

I almost stop running in shock.

5km and Nike+

I’ve created a new category for these posts, it’s about time I think…

Anyway, completed the jogScotland Glasgow Green 5K tonight, in a 29 mins and 18 secs!! Woooohoooo. My private aim was under 30 minutes but given that I was still a little leg heavy after Sunday’s 10K I was doubtful I’d manage it, but I did!!

Last kilometre almost killed me mind you but hey, I’m still alive and feel vibrant. What a buzz.

The downside is that, given that this is a popular race (around 2500 entries I think they said) I am pretty sure the distance is accurate. Alas my Nike+ thinks I only ran 4.6km. I know it’s never going to be as accurate as a GPS system but it was only out by 100m on Sunday, yet tonight it’s lost .. ummm.. fractions were never my strong point.. let’s just say that it’s lost a ‘fair percentage’ of the distance I ran.

Of course I’ve yet to actually calibrate the thing properly, but to do that I need to find, ideally, a 400m running track and apparently Hamilton boasts only one and that is fenced off and locked up most of the time, and even then I doubt it’s going to be in very good condition from I could tell from peering through the gate.

Still, an new PB for me. This running thing could catch on you know…