Category: <span>Sport</span>

I used to run, for a few years it was my thing and I loved it. I did a few 5Ks and one 10K, but eventually I had to stop as the pain in my left knee was too much. I went to a physio who diagnosed me, gave me exercises, and after doing them for a while (not long enough) I fell away from exercise, life took over (divorce etc) and whilst I managed to run another 5K a few years later, it was slow and ultimately painful. Disheartened I stopped running altogether.

I’m 8 years older than when I wrote this and now that I’m again committed to regular exercise the two aforementioned syndromes which affect my knees – Osgood Schlatters and Sinding–Larsen–Johansson – need dealing with. Both manifest themselves just below the kneecap, and the pain ranges from a dull ache to a sharp needle like spasm. Neither of which are pleasant.

I’m enjoying Bootcamp but I’m recognising the same ‘slipping’ away that the pain in my knees is bringing that could ultimately end in disheartenment and a myriad of excuses that I will convince myself are valid, then I’ll just stop going.

One reason I am still going to Bootcamp – and I’m not gonna lie, it’s brutally hard work at times – is that I made a commitment, both in time and finance. I’ve also been talking about it on social media and using that as a driver as well. know I don’t like to ‘let people down’ or be seen to be failing at things (the benefits of counselling) and I’m using that knowledge to my advantage.

But once again my knees have started to complain and I realised that I needed to take a similar approach. I asked the trainers at the gym for their recommendations and so it came to pass yesterday when I finally had a consultation with a physio and he sent me a short summary of the first stages of my treatment.

“Don’t hate me too much, wall sit 10 secs on 10 secs off x 4 mins, foam roll/quad release as much as possible. DO NOT RUN OR JUMP OR HOP!!”

He also confirmed that rest is NOT what is needed so I can continue doing Bootcamp (with some alterations, and the trainers at AG Fitness have already been ace in helping work around this with me).

The thing is I now have to do these exercise every day for two weeks. Every day. EVERY DAY (I’m talking to myself here, obviously).

Having lived with occasional pain in my knees for a long time, I know it will take a while to get them ‘fixed’ but given how confident Ryan (the physio at OST) was as soon as he diagnosed me, I’m actually starting to believe it myself. Maybe one day, just maybe, I might get back to running again.

OST – http://www.oneillssportstherapy.co.uk/
AG Fitness – https://www.agfitnesstraining.co.uk/

Health Sport

Me on the Singapore Flyer

Talcum powder is at the top of my packing list.

Internal debates about camera lenses and electronic devices have begun. Laptop or iPad? Prime and Telephoto? Neither or both? One or all?

Flights are booked, same hotel in Chinatown as last time, which means the same street bar on the corner. Race tickets are bought, three different stands this time so something new there.

Plans to stay on UK time being pondered. How much daylight would I lose? How much of Singapore do I want to try and see? Plans for what to do whilst we are there are underway.

I need to buy a new ‘Eddie’ shirt (?).

Beyond that it’s mostly just pack and go.

7ish hrs to Dubai, a few hours layover, then 7ish hrs to Singapore. I wonder if I’ll sleep on the plane this time?

I’m excited and happy to go as it’s largely to mark a landmark birthday (50th) of one of my close friends. We are a small group, there are only five of us in the ‘inner circle’, and four of us will be in Singapore.

It’s not until September, Glastonbury is first, but it’s something to look forward to. I loved Singapore the last time I was there, and I really can’t wait to go back.

Must remember the talcum powder.

Life Sport

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The health kick has stalled again but I think I’ve figured out why.

I need a goal. I need an achievement.

In the past I’ve managed to tackle a 10KM run, and a 47 mile cycle ride from Glasgow to Edinburgh and, more recently, I took part in a local 5KM event.

All of them gave me a target, a goal, a reason to do some training.

This is not news to me, I know I need a challenge to push me to exercise. After that I know that the healthier eating falls into place and after a couple of weeks I start to change my approach and attitude to being healthy, I’ll take more care of what I eat, I’ll push myself to do more exercise, I’ll even start to plan around going for a run, or to the gym, shuffling my social calendar where I can.

But whilst I know HOW to set myself goals, it seems that without some form of focus or event I can’t seem to stick to it.

Being healthy is not a specific enough goal. Lose 10kg is specific and measurable, but hasn’t been attainable despite the fact it is most definitely realistic and I can set myself a time limit to achieve. But there is no competition other than with myself.

Although I’m not sure “competition” is the right word.

There is definitely something I need to have in place that has my exercise being focused on an event, as opposed to a simple goal of losing weight.

So it’s time to come clean. My name is Gordon McLean and (I think) I’m a praise-addict.

I think I have to finally admit that it’s the achievement and praise that completing an event brings that triggers something in my head. Looking at how I interact with others when talking about exercise and health, it starts to make sense.

I’m aware of my weight and size, and whilst I’ve been heavier, it doesn’t change the fact that I don’t talk about my weight. I don’t drop it into conversation at work, for example, nor is it something that anyone asks me about (you tend to only comment when people have lost a very noticeable amount of weight and then only if you are reasonably sure that they have been trying to lose weight in the first place).

If I manage a short run, or I lose a little weight, I will mention those things in a self-deprecating way, but when I was taking part in Pedal for Scotland (the 47 mile cycle) or the recent 5KM run, everyone knew about it as I talked about my ‘training’ for it.

But, at work at least, we talk about what we did at the weekend. The achievements of our lives if you will, and I’m realising that the external validation (for want of a better word) is what drives me on. It’s also why I share weight and fitness ‘stats’ on a Twitter account, and why I write about it here now and then.

At this point I’m pausing to wonder if it’s praise for an achievement that I seek, or simply just having an achievement to boasting about.

None of this is new. I’ve floated similar thoughts on Twitter in the past and several very lovely people have offered me ‘competition’, be it comparing Fitbit stats, or mileage ran. At the time it was an intriguing thought as I was convinced it was purely my competitive nature that drove me but, as I’m starting to figure out, it’s not that at all.

Competition will always push me to push myself. I like to win. I like to help others win. Even going back to my time in the Boys Brigade, it was that same drive and determination to push myself further, and either help or drag others along with me if I had to, that made my squad win all the trophies going for the year I had them (I won both personal trophies that year too).

Ohh that’s a boast, isn’t it.

Regardless of whether it is praise or boast that motivates me, I know that I need to figure out how to ‘game’ my brain again. Sign up for another 5KM run perhaps? There is a local Parkrun* but, for no good reason they don’t seem count in my own internal (and admittedly quite weird) scale of ‘achievement’. Perhaps that’s all I need to change. To set myself a date driven ‘run 5KM at Parkrun by the end of October’, perhaps?

My general fitness isn’t actually too bad, I play basketball once a week and, injuries aside, have been managing to do at least one run or longer walk once a week as well, but it’s not enough and I know it.

The bottom line is that I need to lose weight for medical reasons.

My weight needs to go so my blood pressure lowers naturally so I can, in turn, lower the dosage of my high blood pressure medication before it starts messing with my liver. Beyond that I’d like to lose some weight to be more comfortable in my clothes and to change my own internal body image.

But, despite the seriousness of the issue, knowing that I have to lose weight, that I am compromising my health, still isn’t enough to motivate me to make the right kind of changes.

I guess that losing weight and eating healthily just doesn’t sound like much of an achievement to me.

 

* Parkrun – free, timed event that runs every week. Is it because it’s not a one-off event that I don’t seem to think it counts?  

 

Health Personal Musings Sport

The Olympics are over, and whilst we wait for the Paralympics to start, I think it’s fair to say that the Olympics were a much bigger event than I realised. I’m sure the successes of Team GB contributed but even without that, the coverage by the BBC, and the overall feeling of euphoria and pride that built from that amazing opening ceremony was genuinely moving.

It was a funny thing, watching that opening ceremony and finding myself hugely moved by it and then to find those emotions carried through whilst watching the events. Whether cheering on cyclists, swimmers, runners, jumpers or people shooting things, I found myself bought in to the whole concept of Team GB. Most odd.

But good!

The one thing I’m taking away from the Olympics, is that it showed that we can do great things, that the great British approach of “ach we are alright I guess” CAN be “We are AWESOME!”.

I’ve spoken before about focussing on positives, and keeping clear of negativity wherever I can, and this is all proof positive of what it can achieve. Of course all the competitors train hard, are dedicated and will push themselves, but hearing the members of Team GB thank the crowds for spurring them on suggests there was more to it than just training.

Someone I work with, when asked how he is doing, will always say “I’m great!” or “I’m fantastic!” and whilst he may be feigning those emotions, I’ve started trying it myself (although with words like “good”, I’m not quite ready to say I’m fantastic yet) and it works. A little bit of PMA (positive mental attitude) goes a long way it seems.

I enjoyed the Olympics immensely, I always do being a bit of a sport nut. I like seeing sports you don’t see much coverage of getting the spotlight, I like those special moments that bring a sporting victory into sharp relief (c’mon, who didn’t shed a tear at the story of Gemma Gibbons looking heaven-ward and saying “love you Mum”), I like the underdogs take part knowing they won’t win but can say they competed at the Olympics.

I’ve also been a little saddened that the disparity between men and women still exists, that amidst all the fervour there were moments of tragedy, and that even as the closing ceremony reached its end, the view seemed to be that we would return to previous values of ‘good enough’.

The stories make such a big part of the events, it’s not just about a piece of metal for so many of the competitors, it is about a life event, the completion of a long hard journey. Just being an Olympics competitor is an achievement few people will experience and that to me is a great message to take from watching some of these people.

You don’t have to be the best of the best to achieve, as long as you are pushing yourself and doing the best you can, you are already ahead of the game.

The Olympics continue to conflict and amaze but I bloody love them!

Sport

There was a large sporting event happening in South Africa, you may have heard about it. I’ve been really good and, despite watching almost every game, I’ve not really mentioned it here and I’ve tried not to be too boring about it on Twitter (I feel sorry for my followers at times, I really do).

Spain won. I yelled and punched the air when this happened. I was most pleased. Mainly because Holland seemed to think the best way to stop Spain was to kick them (in the chest at one point).

And here endeth the football.

Sport

It must be a false memory.

Like that one where I’m still convinced that, when I was about 6, I used a toy phone to speak to my cousins in Dundee. I am still sure, to this day, that I did speak to them despite all evidence to the contrary. I’m nothing if not stubborn.

So it’s with an expression of perplexity that I sit night after night and watch the World Cup (of Football, in case you were confused). I hear the vulva horn thingies buzzing away and can see the pitch, the ball, the referee and the players. Every possible moment has a mention of England in one form or another, and there are liberal doses of casual xenophobia left, right and centre.

It’s definitely a World Cup.

But by GOD it’s boring. It wasn’t always this boring, I know it wasn’t. I got to watch ALL (every single game) of Mexico ’86 as I was off school with chickenpox. I kept my own notebook of scores, laboriously coloured in each flag and the mascot was painstakingly recreated on the cover. The football was fun, goals were score, crowds cheered, commentators fumbled over foreign names and got over excited every time one of those new fangled Mexican Wave things started.

It was exciting, entertaining, and engrossing.

Fast forward to South Africa 2010 and… what has happened? Dull, boring and I’ve even turned off a couple of the games through sheer disinterest.

It wasn’t always like this, was it?

Sport

All quiet on the house front unfortunately.

But I have been able to crack on with some website work and as always it’s great when the client is accomodating, helpful and all round just a nice guy. Say hi to www.davidbelbin.com (then go buy one of his books!).

I’m also adding some functionality for a previous client, so I’ve got plenty to keep me busy AND I’ve found time to gently kick start my reading habit. Tackling the last of the Larsson trilogy which is a fun read in a Dan Brown kinda way. Mind you, I did read half of From Russia With Love before realising I’d already read it, oops.

The only other moment of excitement has been paying £4 for the privilege of receiving 4 rather shady looking photos of my fizzog. I need to renew my driving license and, amazingly, the photos actually look like me! (and no, I’m not showing you them).

Right, time to mark off another day in the “Hurry up I want an iPhone 4!” calendar.

Oh yeah, and football. World Cup and all that. If you need me, I’ll be in front of the TV.

Life Sport Tech Work

One reason I like the Olympics, especially now the BBC red button is so heavily used for additional coverage is the.. er.. additional coverage that all the sports receive. So far I’ve watched a little basketball, fencing, archery, canoe slalom, badminton, weightlifting, boxing, cycling, swimming, and diving. That’s all before the athletics have started.

I’ve watched tennis and football too but they get enough coverage (thankfully there isn’t an Olympic golf contest!).

There is one thing that the BBC remain good at, and I guess it’s largely down to their researchers, is building stories into each event, adding personal backdrops to the unfolding drama and, for me at least, helping to drag you into the excitement.

Add in some skilled commentators who understand that their audience might not understand the finer points of the given sport and it’s an excellent combination (if only they’d managed to shut up during the opening ceremony, where they managed to spoil two surprises).

An example, the men’s cycling road race. At about the halfway point there was a breakaway of 3 riders. Now I’ve watched enough Tour de France to know that breakaways are difficult and that the peloton (the chasing pack) usually reel them back in (strength in numbers and all that).

However the breakaway pulled out a 30 second gap and managed to hold it. With a third of the race to go 2 more riders broke out of the peloton to try and reel them back in before the finish. They managed to get about 15 seconds out from the peloton but couldn’t catch the leaders. Then, with the race entering the final quarter, the last few kilometres, a lone Swiss rider broke from the peloton.

Now, this is a one off event, 3 medals and that’s it. Why the peloton didn’t work harder to catch the leaders I don’t know (there is an element of teamwork at play here too, with the Spanish riders in the peloton probably holding back because they know they have one of the front 3 riders).

Back to the Swiss rider then, and all of a sudden he’s catching the first 2 breakaway riders and no sooner has he done that than he starts to drag them up to the front 3. The kilometres are ticking down, surely the front 3 can’t be caught … but wait! there they are, just up ahead…

By now I’m on the edge of my seat. One man has to work VERY hard to close such a gap, surely he won’t have enough left for the final few hundred metres to the finish line, uphill!

6 riders turn the final corner, up out of their seats, legs pumping hard, lungs burning, adrenalin flooding their veins as they realise they could win! The Russian rider breaks into a sprint, but surely he’s too early!! The hill continues, the other riders are weaving hard now, focussed, determined, they catch the now fading Russian and pass him, the Spaniard edges ahead, the line approaches… HE’S WON!!!!

But what of the Swiss? Does he get anything for his efforts? Any reward at all? I’m desperate to know, unsure if he was beaten into 4th or managed to earn 3rd place and a coveted medal… the tension is killing me, come on commentator!!

He did it, he got bronze!! WOO HOOOOO

OK, so maybe I get a little wrapped up in such things a little too easily but I appreciate the effort, the training, the techniques and strategies at play, and not just in cycling. The mental pressures are as tough as the physical ones at times, and for some this is a one time only chance, the pinnacle of their sport.

How can you NOT be dragged into such drama? How can you possibly flick idlly to Eastenders or Big Brother when there is REAL emotion, real guts and passion on display.

Honestly, if you aren’t watching the Olympics you are some weird kind of cretin. It’s not about sport, it’s about passion, commitment and desire. It’s about despair and pain, about winning, about competing, about focus and drive. Tears, laughter and joy, not medals. It’s about being alive.

Isn’t it?

Sport