Friday, 29 May 2009

Birthday osteopathy #2: A Present.

Things are looking up.

The osteopath, Laura, has given me an early birthday present, as you may have guessed from the title of this post. It wasn't a trapped nerve, eureka moment, but I really didn't think it would be. She explained to me what she reckoned was wrong, and it all fell into place.

The torn muscle is not all of the problem, and in fact was probably caused by a previous problem. I've always had problems with my back and neck, leading to bad posture, favouring one side of my torso, being constantly out of whack. Laura thinks this is what is lying behind the other stuff, and it makes perfect sense.

I'll have to go further later, as I'm about to take the dog out for a walk. Because I feel like moving again.


Birthday osteopathy.

I'm going to see Laura, the osteopath, in an hour or so. She's not just the osteopath, of course, she's a friend too.

I've held off from this form of treatment because I was kind of tacitly advised against it - given the impression that it might not be a very good idea as no-one yet knows what exactly is wrong. But then no-one, at least from the orthodox side of medicine IE the NHS, has gone to very much trouble to figure it out. This is understandable, my condition being fairly mundane and unlikely to kill me, and hard to pinpoint.

So we shall see what she comes up with. I'm hoping that, after a couple of minutes of fiddling, she will exclaim "Well, bugger me! It's one of those.." and frees something up just like that and the pain abruptly disappears, never to return. If this happens I shall be back down the gym/out on the road by Monday, believe me. Yes, it's unlikely, but imagine..

And then I'll stop moaning.

What's more likely is that, hopefully, she'll recognise the problem and she'll know what I've got to do to either resolve it or at least minimise its effects. For all I know it could be a trapped nerve - which to my uneducated mind might explain the sciatica - and easily fixed, but that's wishful thinking. A torn muscle would ring bells, and maybe be almost as easily seen to. What else it could be I really don't have much of a clue, along with the specialists and others I've seen so far.

If she does sort it out I might have to give her a hug, though only after I've put my clothes back on, naturally. I'm getting very down on diazepam, ibuprofen and codeine. (By 'down on' I mean 'really bloody pissed off with'). 

It's worth a try, anyway. Even if she just makes it better for the weekend, it'll be worth it.

The weekend, yes.. Seems it shall be spent amost exclusively in the Nash, not in Stockholm City Hospital. It's alittle annoying that things didn't go quite as I'd hoped and I'm not currently strolling around Stockholm, checking out the route and feeling fit as a fiddle etc. I suppose the Nash is the next best thing.

I've been looking at marathons to do, again, and I'm kind of intrigued with the Amsterdam one, though October may still be too early. I'll have to have a chat with Stuart about it - if he reckons it can be done then that's the very fellow for me. If not I may have to wait for next year's slew of races. Most of them seem to be in April, probably just to piss off the runners by making them train through winter. There's more likely a far better reason for it, actually, but I'm now running a bit late for Laura, which could be a weird song title, so I'll have to google it later.

A shower, a drive over to Mayfield trying to avoid changing gear as much as possible, then maybe some kind of result.

Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

I knew it was a bad idea.

Talk about being lax..

Some explaining might be necessary, or it would be if anyone's reading this who doesn't already know what's being going on. So here's an email I'm about send out to anybody I have addresses for.

Hello everyone,

As many of you know I've had to postpone my marathon run. It was due to happen May 30th in Stockholm, a couple of days from now. It was all booked from around the start of October last year and, at that point, all was looking good, if a bit daunting.

Pretty much immediately I started getting chest pains, just niggling at first and not enough to detract from the training. Apparently I'd torn a muscle, so I concentrated for a while on exercises that didn't affect that area and hoped it would heal quick. Unfortunately this didn't work, and the pain increased all over my chest and back. Consequently training became impossible - I didn't think running used hardly any muscles above the waist, naively(!) - or at best counter-productive. I've had all sorts of physiotherapy, blood tests and x-rays and am now waiting for an appointment with the Rheumatology Dpt of my local hospital, as well as an MRI scan, to try and determine where the problem lies.

As soon as I can I will resume training. This time it will be along with a friend who is Head of PE at a school near here and who has done the New York Marathon. He has also pretty much decided to do another marathon himself, which will be perfect as I'll have to work at it so as not to hold him back - as you can imagine he's quite a bit fitter than me.. Once we start we'll decide which marathon to go for (I had been considering Berlin, which is at the end of September, but it looks like that's a bit too soon), and I'll let everyone know asap.

So - thank you to everyone who has sponsored me so far, I'm sorry it hasn't happened yet, but it definitely will. Whatever the problem is it'll get sorted out and then I'll probably have to apologise again for sending you all an email asking for a sponsorship you've already given! 

Everyone else, well, I'll be getting on to you for sponsorship soon, hopefully!

I'm writing a blog about all this, which I haven't updated for a while but shall get back into, here:

Not all of it's about the training, and probably quite a bit of it will bore your heads off, but there it is, anyway. Any news etc will be on there.

It doesn't finish as abruptly as that, of course, I just felt that was enough italics.

So I'm not doing the Stockholm Marathon. I'm not at all happy about it, and I feel like a failure in some ways because I really had - and still have - my heart set on it, and I was quite evangelical about it for a while, but the only way i could have done it was to walk it which, as I've said, would have been pointless. 

I'm just hoping this injury, or whatever it is, gets sorted out as soon as possible and I can get on with the training and planning the contingencies. The fact that Stuart should be doing it with me, with his prior knowledge and, I hope, boundless patience will be a great help. I really hope it comes off.

I'm seeing an osteopath on Friday. Maybe I'll know more then. And maybe it'll be good news. Actually, it will be good news, as long as it's some news.

Feels like Phase 2. 


Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Hello again! Once more I have been a little lax with my 'blogging', for which there is a good reason. I haven't really got much to blog about, at least not in terms of progress. It's all a bit crap really.

Since the last time I was on here I've actually become less fit, if such a thing was possible. I'll explain why.

You know this torn muscle, or whatever it is, that the physiotherapist concluded was the cause of all the chest discomfort? It turns out, at least for want of a better, more medically astute and grounded observation, that it's spread. I know the tear itself hasn't really spread, but the disomfort has, and I think it's because the original injury wasn't necessarily confined to that particular problem area. Given that the physio was oohing and aahing throughout the last session in a way that a paleontologist might do if he had unexpectedly come across a fossil of something impossible, or a dentist might when presented with a mouth containing three times the normal amount of teeth, then I'm not exactly surprised all is not as simple as I'd hoped.

She was perplexed by the state of my shoulder area, and the causes of it, and I think I now know the answer and could set her mind at rest. I think my entire thorax, along with my arms and potentially my abdomen, if not my entire body, is screwed. I really can't think of any other word to describe it. (Actually I can, and did, but I've changed it, months later. So there.) I sneezed a couple of times yesterday and it felt like I'd just fallen off a really high wall.

Everything above my diaphragm feels, when I'm running, like a suitcase full of wet towels resting on everything below it. I get out of breath in seconds, as opposed to minutes back when I was just starting to 'get fit'. Hannah jumped on my stomach the other day and my throat started to hurt. How the hell does that happen? I feel like that bloke in the Operation game, only all my organs etc have been forced back into the wrong places by a bored maniac and now, if I eat too much, I get liver ache and I can't move my arms.

Obviously this is causing me quite a bit of concern, bearing in mind I'm due to be running 26 miles in just over 100 days. The way it's going that statement could be true in more ways than one. It's really getting me down, now. I really don't want to fail, and whatever happens I'm going to complete the 26 miles anyway, I hope, but just doing that won't be enough. I could have walked that far 6 months ago, with a bottle of wine and a couple of packets of cigarettes. I have to run it, or it's not a marathon. It's just a really long walk. With maybe a little bit of jogging when I get the feeling someone's watching.

See, I could go to the gym now, but it barely seems worth it today. There's a lightbulb needs changing in the hall and I'm almost scared of doing that, lest I lose my balance from the exertion or rip a tendon.

(I'm now slightly embarassed that I used the word 'lest' in the last sentence, but I'm too tired to do anything about it.)

Maybe this is all to do with my core fitness, as Scott suggested months ago. He said I needed to get it up, so to speak, but I was hamstrung by the torn muscle. Maybe my lack of core fitness is the key - perhaps I should have done less running and more of the boring stuff (cos running isn't at all boring) like stretches and jumps and so on. Perhaps I've run before I can run.

I'm at a loss as to what I can do. It seems ridiculous that anyone could be too unfit to get fit, but life is ridiculous sometimes. I never felt particularly unfit or incapable before. Now I feel nothing but. I don't want to be the inflatable boy who takes a pin to his inflatable school, but I'm afraid I'm going to be doing a good impression of him come May 30th.

Sunday, 25 January 2009

People who complain

Rubbish, aren't they?

I'm being flippant, of course - the amount of complaining I've been doing on this blog is something I'm acutely aware of. Well, not complaining as such, more moaning. I'm pretty certain I haven't blamed anybody or anything but circumstance and my own decrepitude for the little problems I'm experiencing in my training. I could have, and should have, done a lot more over the years to keep myself in shape, and I'm paying for it now. It's not anybody else's doing.

The people who complain that I'm talking about, the rubbish ones, are that particular section of the public who throw up their arms in disgust and pious intolerance at what seems like the drop of a hat about things that either barely concern them or that they have no understanding of, but that they see as some kind of final straw, laid on the back of their particular put-upon donkey. Especially the ones who complain about other peoples' apparent undeserved good fortune.

The most obvious recent example of this foundless, jealousy-borne outrage is the pathetic hounding of Jonathan Ross, of course. (It turns out the word 'foundless' doesn't seem to exist. But I reckon it should. So.) Thousands of Daily Mail readers finding the most lazy outlet possible for their grievances - the mobile phone text or internet messageboard they are invited to contribute to in expression of their revulsion on a particular suggested hot topic - even without having heard/seen/read the transgression in question.

After the Andrew Sachs affair, and Ross's 3 month wage-free penance, there must have been (as Ross himself suggested) thousands of meretritious misery-magpies with pencils in one hand and the rewind button in the other, aurally squinting at every word out of the poor bloke's mouth, convinced he would very soon utter something unforgivable and then... Then they'd do what they knew they had to do, what they have been directed to do, and report him to Sir with much alacrity.

On his radio show he made a massively innocuous joke in response to his producer plainly extemporising on his experiences in his villa garden in Spain, to do with being 'grabbed' by an 80 year old woman in a frisky manner. Ross said this ""Eighty, oh God! I think you should, just for charity. Give her one last night, will you? One last night before the grave. Would it kill you?" 

Amazingly, no-one complained. They hadn't been told to yet, of course. The News of the World naturally is setting about righting this. It won't be long. And most of the complaints will focus on the license fee and how 'they' are being forced to pay an outrageous salary to this talentless, puerile, salacious oik, and isn't that disgusting? Down with the BBC! Sack Ross! And then burn his house down! He's a murderer! He is public enemy number one!

Only he's not. There's millions of people who love him, and they're not just teenage boys. More people watch him and listen to him than watch and listen to 50% of all the other shows on the BBC put together. He's perhaps the most popular man on TV today. This may explain the revulsion. 30,000 people complained, simply by texting '666' or something to a number which hogged the front page of the Mail for a few days, knocking the oncoming recession and the troubles in the Middle East and all the other really shitty stuff onto those pages of a newspaper that you can't see unless you buy it and open it and look at it. It's a shame no other paper came up with an opposite campaign along the lines of "If you read this transcript of 2 grown men being silly and childish and think to yourself 'well, I never heard it in the first place and really it's not my business anyway and also I couldn't give a toss' please text SO WHAT? to blah blah". I'm thinking they'd have got a lot more than 30,000 responses - as long as people could be bothered over something so trivial.

Anyway, I've wound myself up now, and I've been typing for ages.

I went for a 3 mile run Friday and it nearly killed me. It didn't though. Things are looking up.

(I've got new running shoes, by the way. And they're brilliant. Very shiny, too. I hope it doesn't rain too much over the next few months, I'd hate to get them dirty.)

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Muscles, Obama and things like that.

I've been a bit lax again with regards to this blog. One of the main reasons is that I haven't been able to do any training cos of my chest/shoulder/whatever the hell it is.

I went in last week and saw Scott for an hour and he gave me some new excercises that would hopefully antagonise my chest area less than the previous. Oddly I immediately felt a little better. Maybe I just needed to get some hormones flowing or something. I still couldn't run though as I've left my stupid running shoes in Aarhus and I can't afford new ones just now.. bad time to go broke.

Still, I had an appointment with the physio today, which was interesting. It's one of the few sessions that I wish could last longer. Half an hour just isn't enough. It's not that it's particularly comfortable or relaxing, but there's not a lot of things more satisfying that having someone who knows what they're doing moving your muscles around and going "Oooh.." quite a lot - not only because you feel vindicated after months of moaning and being met with looks that say "Oh come on, it's not that bad."

Claire Tricks, as she is brilliantly named, was quite surprised at how knackered the area in question is. She thinks I may have torn a muscle round there, and sympathised heavily. There were a couple of moments where I thought I might cry, kind of, one particular prod causing me to swear quite loudly in a voice that could been that of a 6 year old who works on a building site. She's taped my shoulder up - I have to leave the tape on for 3 or 4 days - and is hoping that'll help but thinks I may need an MRI to check it out properly.

So it's not a heart attack anyway, which is nice. And it actually is getting less painful, which means I'm taking less painkiller, which means I'm not feeling so dark and down all the time, which is even nicer.

On the down side I can't swim for a bit, or at least not anything strenuous, which is not so nice. But I can get back into the other training, especially once I get my shoes situation sorted out.

Anyway, Barack Obama is due to be inaugurated at around 5 today, which I shall avidly be watching. It really could be the start of a new age of this cracked century. You get the feeling he really could lead the change that the world needs so desperately right now.

To be simplistic - it's been 8 long years of thick-headed, greed fuelled anti-peace and dread, and change can't come fast enough. It's a very exciting time, even despite all the lethargic and cynical qualities of the way we've found ourselves conducting our lives. In a world of shock, fear, desperate indignities and epidemic helplessness, it's possible something good may arise, and from a most unlikely place. At the risk of sounding patronising, if there's one brilliant upside to America's famous and infamous 'gung ho' reputation, it's that if this spirit is allied to rational, compassionate ideas, then maybe we could be seeing the beginning of a more benign juggernaut that, rather than blundering unstoppably into wars and other awful misjudgements, might instead bash a hole in all that and bring reason and compassion with it.

Well, anyway, I hope so. It's not too late yet.

Though it's geting that way for me. I have to get the last of the wallpaper in the hall and the bathroom down, so I'm off.

If anyone has £150,000 lying about and needs some investment advice, I've got a great idea.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009


It seems events continue to conspire against me. Having cheered up mightily about my knee, it's now my chest that's playing up.

That little sharp pain I mentioned before.. it's become nasty. Since I started doing some core fitness training, which I had a funny feeling was a bad idea, I've spent 50%, more or less, of my waking hours on either codeine, ibuprofen or diazepam. The words 'either' and 'or' could be replaced with 'and' for a lot of the time, actually. It really isn't nice. 

I went up the hospital to get it seen to, but there was a queue of about 4 hours, and the K and S waiting room is no place to be when you're in pain and christingly worried about your health. Mostly there were old people who didn't seem to have anything wrong with them except horror and disgust at the way the world is these days, which they were quite vocal about. Dotted around where slightly less old people who seemed, again, in perfectly reasonable health, in their cases the only evident malaise being just that - malaise. Probably not helped by being in a cancer-coloured waiting-room cum corridor filled with moany old pensioners. And there was a bloke wandering around in a gown, asbo bracelet round his ankle, looking like he'd lost his mum, or something.

Considering the fella on the phone (NHS Direct, one of the most savagely sarcastic names for a helpline anywhere) had told me I had to phone for an ambulance as soon as I mentioned heavy, sharp chest pains, I was a little perplexed that my condition had been deemed no more serious than that of any of these malingerers, and really quite pissed off about the whole waiting around thing, so I left. Consequently I haven't yet had any medical advice or attention. I'm not complaining about that - after all, I could have waited. But I could do with some.

So I haven't been training like I should have been. 

The christmas period didn't help, of course. Had things to do, you know.. However, and how's about this for sad, I missed New Year's Eve cos of this bloody pain! Unthinkable, I know. A massive great piss-up, one of the few nights of the year where being a drunk 39 year old lolling around in a bush and smoking more than one cigarette at once because you've miscounted how many people you are is kind of acceptable, and I ended up sitting on the sofa in a kind of L shape all evening, watching The Great Escape and drinking quite a bit of red wine. Every cloud, eh?

I've lost track, mostly because the Diazepam is kicking in now. I'm not actually sure if I've taken any, but that's what it does to you.

Dinner is imminent. I shall return.