Health matters

Yes, it does. And last week was a rather unhealthy week for me. I’m still paying the penalty. After eating too much, drinking too much, not getting enough sleep, and doing not really quite enough vigorous exercise, I feel fairly ropey. My body – often described as a temple* – isn’t looking or feeling great.

This weekend was a good example. Saturday started with a lovely 7km walk on the mountain with friends (light not great for ‘togging, but still):

…but that’s pretty much where the good stuff (health-wise, at least) ended.

I lazed in front of the miserable football all afternoon, before heading out for cheese and wine and wine and wine in the evening. Great fun, but quite winey, with hindsight. We staggered in after 1am [audience: woooah!] and then were up early again for a birthday party in town.

Sunday afternoon came and went, with absolutely no impetus to move, let alone exercise. On the plus side, there was no desire to drink either.


Anyway, this week is going to be different. Healthier food, alcohol free, and plenty of exercise, as I get myself back on track. No, it’s not a “detox”: my body was doing quite nicely (rather too well, some might argue) at keeping me detoxed.

No, this is going to be a week of moderation: of earlier nights and a reasonable amount of exercise. I’ve already smashed some gym, boet, and I’m feeling ready to go.


Right after this nap.



* originally admired for its beauty, but then ransacked and razed by marauding forces in the early medieval period. 

Death by run

I was going to have a nice, gentle, controlled session at the gym this morning, but then I was asked to sort out an ailing cellphone and suddenly there wasn’t really time to get there before the parking (always an issue on Friday) would have been totally filled.

Still, lovely morning, so why not take advantage of the spring sunshine and go for a little 5km jog around the block(s)?

Well, having done a little 5km jog around the block(s), I now have a number of reasons. And the spring sunshine is one of them.

When I left home, it was 14°C. When I got back, it was 27°C.

I wasn’t gone that long. It just got very warm, very quickly.

I have no issue with running in the heat, as long as I know that I’m going to be running in the heat. (There are limits.)
I was not expecting this heat. This heat did not help.

Next up, football on Tuesday night. The most energetic game I have played in a long, long while. And while I had a lovely time, and we won a tight, frantic, occasionally bad-tempered game, sweet mother of beagles, I’ve been hurting since then. Upon awakening this morning, I thought I’d moved on and recovered, but within 500m of starting my run, it became clear that I was mistaken. Things were still quite broken. A sensible individual would have sensibly admitted defeat and returned home, sensibly.

I kept going.

And then there was Forest Drive, 650m of road during which you gain (or lose, I suppose, but not in this case) over 100m of altitude. A challenge on any day. It seemed longer, steeper, higher today. That’s probably because I donated blood on Wednesday morning. Usually, I’m back up to speed within 24 hours. That clearly hasn’t happened this time. There was a dramatic shortage of oxygen, not helped by the increasing heat (see above).

A sensible individual would have… ah, never mind.

I finished a hideous five point something with a 6:28 average. Dreadful, and I feel no better for it.

I will take these things into consideration next time, not least delaying repairing cellphones until after I have safely – and gently – gymed.

I’m physically damaged and I need to go to bed.

Earning curry

Because of events earlier in the week, and because of event this evening, I needed to get some exercise in.

Let me explain.

My Medical Insurance gives me money off things like healthy food, sports equipment, gym membership, and vaguely healthy smoothies at the local vaguely healthy smoothie outlet. There are other benefits too, shopping vouchers, cheap flights (although not for 50p), car insurance; the list goes on.

All I have to do to earn these discounts, vouchers and vaguely healthy smoothies is to stay active, and all I have to do to show them that I’m staying active is to use my smartwatch to log my exercise. 10,000 steps a day gets you 100 points, as does a gym visit. A parkrun (just going and doing it, not achieving any specific time) gets you 300 and there are various steps for points depending on how long you can keep it up for (your age-related heart rate, that is).

It’s not a perfect system, but it works. People (generally) stay more active, (generally) stay healthier and – in turn – (generally) cost the medical insurance company less. Symbiotic, innit?

I’m on the top target (for mere mortals) of 900 points a week and that might seem like a breeze – I always get there – but you can only score points for one thing each day. So today, for example, where I have visited the gym (100), done a really hard workout (85% of my maximum age-related heart rate) (300), and done 10,000 steps (100), I’ll “only” score 300 points, even though I separately scored (100 + 300 + 100 =) 500.

This week wasn’t good for scoring points. Saturday was a write-off, Sunday was only very slightly better, and Tuesday’s football remained unrecorded because there was so much blood running down the outside of my arm that it masked the heart rate detector on the back of my watch.

Long story. I lived. Thanks to the Brandulance.

All this means that I have had some hard work to do over the last couple of days before tomorrow’s deadline. Again, I’ll make it, but it’s a reminder of spreading one’s exertions across the week, rather than trying to play catch-up, albeit that it really wasn’t my fault this week.

It’s curry night tonight, and I feel that I am fully deserving of plenty of the good stuff given the hard work I’ve put in over the past 72 hours.


Another game of football beckons this evening; something that I am really looking forward to. Or rather, I was. I do need to somehow mend my lower limbs first though, as after a hefty gym session yesterday (and despite a gentle one this morning), I am very much suffering from Concrete Leg Syndrome.

You won’t find any reference to Concrete Leg Syndrome in any of the medical books, because it’s a name I just made up. There are no visible contusions, no specific damage to the muscles or joints of the legs, nor is there any one area or part which is particularly painful. It’s just that in CLS, it does genuinely feel like your legs are made of concrete. Heavy, immobile (no, not the Italian centre forward), generally slow and a bit grumpy.

I’m not in agony, not even pain. To be honest, even ‘mild discomfort’ is going a bit OTT as a description. I’m simply just aware that my legs appear to be made of concrete at the moment.

Because CLS isn’t actually a thing, there’s also no real treatment for it. Sure, stretching helps a bit, and generally a little light exercise assists with easing the weightiness of the thighs.  I’ve also tried popping a couple of anti-inflammatories, but it seems that time is the only healer. And given that tonight’s game kicks off in about 6 hours, it’s something I don’t have a lot of. Later, I may slather my lower half (no, not all of it) with Deep Heat in a last ditch attempt to wake my legs up from their petrified stupor.

There may be advantages too, of course. It must surely be difficult for an opponent to injure a concrete leg, and if I get time to swing one of my mighty trunks backwards and then forwards again into the ball (and I get it on target), there’s likely to be no stopping it – even the net may be in danger. But 5-a-side relies mainly on speed and dexterity: attributes I was already running a little short of given my advanced years. CLS will likely only make things worse. Just call me The Statue.

Watch this space tomorrow, as I report back on the game and my personal experience of 40 minutes of high tempo, leg-dragging football.


I spotted this and it rang very true. We went for a walk this afternoon in the Constantia Green Belt: a beautiful Cape Town oasis full of invasive plants and white privilege ignoring the “Keep Dogs On Leads” signs.

Science indeed. I have done science for loads of years, and I can assure you that this is absolutely true. We wandered, beagle on lead, for over an hour. OK, so we stopped often for fun with the new camera (not mine) and rope swings, so we only managed a gentle 4½kms, but that’s basically all of my Christmas indulgences accounted for and now I can start planning for the New Year indulgences.

And then a 2 hour snooze on the 2nd should clear those calories too.