After my problems with my knee at the beginning of the year (and then throughout the rest of the year, if we’re being completely honest), I’ve been working hard to put things right.
I’m happy to say that it’s paying off.
Some decent weight loss (still a work in progress), a huge improvement in fitness (also ongoing) and, this last weekend, a 5km run. Walking isn’t an issue, but that constant impact on the knee as one runs isn’t good. 5km might not sound like much, but given that I wasn’t sure that I’d ever be able to run again, it was huge.
I was dragged out to try a flat parkrun on the weekend and – without wanting to blow my own trumpet – I smashed it. No knee issues whatsoever, and I finished feeling that I could have gone faster or further if I’d wanted to.
Sure, a little muscle stiffness here and there the next day, but nothing terrible. And so now I’m moving straight onto the next hurdle: a game of football on Tuesday evening. Running apparently isn’t an issue, but that constant impact on the knee as one plays football isn’t good. A game of football on Tuesday evening might not sound like much, but given that I wasn’t sure that I’d ever be able to play a game of football again, it will be huge.
Hold thumbs for great news on Wednesday morning.
Following promises made in the post about yesterday’s Run In The Sun, I’d like to inform readers that the only bits of me that are sore are all of them.
But it’s a “good sore”, as if my body is grudgingly acknowledging that it needed a bit of a push to move it towards some greater degree of fitness.
Younger readers may not appreciate my concern that tomorrow morning, being a critical 48 hours on from the exercise in question, may be a whole different story.
“What a difference a day makes; Twenty-four little hours.
Brought the sun and the flowers,
Where there used to be rain.”
Sadly, it seems that we’re doing things backwards down here in Cape Agulhas. Yesterday gave us this scene of the boy ‘togging whales (more of that when we’re back in Cape Town):
But today, I found myself walking the beagle and gazing out over an ocean that looked like this:
It was almost as if all the colour had been sucked away.
The snakes and the tortoises that we saw wandering around here yesterday have been replaced by snails and happily chattering frogs. Annoyingly chattering. Puff adders may be venomous and nasty, but at least they are quiet.
And then the recollection that I’ve promised to take the boy up the local hill on his bike in this grey mizzle. That is, once I’ve dried out from this morning’s exertions…
Even after yesterday’s exertions, there was still time for a bit more healthy wandering this morning – this time inland with the beagle and the kids in Newlands Forest.
Considering that this is virtually on our doorstep and I run past it fairly regularly (I drive past it even more often), it’s amazing that this was my first time wandering up past the fire base and into the forest proper.
The lower areas are pretty ugh. They were busy and parking was packed, despite it being early. Much like in Tokai, the dog owners (not us) don’t clear up after themselves, so given that the first thing the dogs do when they get out of the car is defaecate, it’s fairly unpleasant around the car park. But once you’re far from the madding crowds and their lack of concern and respect for other people, and into the peace and quiet of the trees, it’s all good. We didn’t even get mugged.
Porcupine quills and feathers told us what we could have seen, but the fresh air and filtered sunshine was enough to keep us all happy. Not knowing what to expect, I didn’t take my camera (I know, this doesn’t make sense to me either), but next time (and there will be a next time), maybe I will.
Still, there are a few photos of the weekend on Flickr.
I’ve made the decision to compare my current fitness against how I was doing exactly 365 days ago. At the moment, that’s pretty depressing, because I was a whole lot fitter this time last year. However, there is method in my madness, because come 8:16am on Monday 27th January 2014, I will suddenly leap (metaphorically, at least) ahead of my past self and feel a whole lot better about where I am right now.
It’s true that it has taken – is taking, in fact – me longer to recover from my smashed up ankle, but its also true that I probably could have done more to speed up the process – had I the money, time and perhaps a little more motivation to do so. However, the start of the New Year is a watershed moment and I will be prioritising my fitness and recovery (albeit hopefully without spending any more money on it). At the same time, I’ll be cleaning up my diet as well. 11 months of relative inactivity needs correcting and you can’t do that with exercise alone.
Nothing ridiculous here. No “Paleo” nonsense, no “juicing”, no Tim Noakes’ “Cardio Destruction” diet (or whatever it’s called). And there’s not – and there never will be – a CrossFit in sight. Sensible eating, sensible exercise, no daft targets.