Run your shoe size, not your age … (pt 2)

Published by Si on

a band of autumn gilded larch seen through morning mists

A work in progress.  Well, more play than work, and in several parts …

This being part two, part one is here

A Prologue

 “I was quite badly injured the last half of 2016 and a good chunk of 2017, I needed a target.  Having been accused of not acting my age(stupid phrase, and idea): I was 56 in 2019, a 28 top round seemed like a good idea.  So I worked one out, basically a circuit of the Derwent valley(the one south of Keswick, not the dark peak one).  Some big hills then, and no road crossings.  Solo unsupported too; put the pack on and go.  About 60Km distance and about 4Km of ascent.  Probably a good idea to put some food, drinks and kit in the pack too. 

Perhaps a shorter warm up earlier in the year, my shoe size, not my age.  Just an 11 top jaunt. Where did I put my maps?

All of which got forgotten, until this 2020 COVID autumn, recovering from a chronic illness flare-up. 

And so, we carry on with part two …

Late October 2020

from last time … ”Time now though to recover from these lurgies and get a few kilometres in the legs and lungs.  And maybe an iced Mocha or two.”

This is going to be fun.  An upsurge of insomnia and fibromyalgia; with the resultant depression, means my body has changed.  I’m weak, but that’s to be expected, the surprise is the body fat I’ve lost.  There’s muscle still there, but I’m down to whipcord and bone.   

We’d have been in the lakes, bit of running, lots of coffee, fooling around on the crazy golf in Hope Park.  We read the data though, and stayed home. 

Early November 2020

Well we’re definitely staying home now.  Lockdown again, so no long days in the peak.  Time instead to go for a month of strength and conditioning circuits and fartlek sessions in the wood. 

This is going to hurt. 

INTERMISSION

Late March 2021

I was right, that really hurt.  Turns out I’ve developed Type 1 diabetes.  Which explains the massive weight loss (from 85 to 50kg) I’d put down to that old stalker depression.  Explains the foul mood, fibromyalgia flare and insomnia too. 

So, I spent much of January 2021 on a couple of trips to hospital.  Both times were emergency admissions, with me in a life threatening condition

The first time was getting the blood sugar down and diabetes stabilised.  I got insulin pens and a glucose meter for my birthday.  Genuinely one of the best gifts I’ve ever received. 

A second rather longer visit followed with complications from the diabetes and weight loss.  An enlarged prostate causing urine retention, kidney damage, and a worrying heartbeat.  And massive oedema in my lower legs.  Being rigged to a multi cable ECG unit with the crash trolley being parked near your cubicle is quite sobering.  

Oh, yeah, and then, I found an inguinal hernia.  A resurgence of an eating disorder from my teenage years too.

oh crap …

Late May 2021

And another thing, couldn’t keep food down.  So off for tests.  Which after some considerable unpleasantness found a complex hiatus hernia.  My stomach, and most of my transverse colon are the wrong side of my diaphragm.  Not good. 

My local hospital panicked, told me to do nothing and referred me to the regional centre.  This needs fixing; so I’m now waiting for a critical care bed(yes, it is that serious, the surgery is risky but the condition is riskier still).  My pragmatic consultant though, he gave me the all clear to train.  He wants me fit and strong as possible.  Just no climbing in a harness; a fall could see me heading for Rose Cottage* rather than the theatre. 

The prostate is improving too.  The hated leg bag is gone.  

Physio from Abbie at Accelerate for the foot problems from the oedema too. Uncomfortable but effective. 

So time to do some circuit training.  Slowly though, and carefully. 

Late August/early September 2021

Things are sort of looking up.  Weight is stable around 70kg; drugs to control my prostate are working superbly; drugs to minimise the hiatus hernia problems are working too.  Diabetes is behaving itself, much to the chagrin of the GP practice nurse, and delight of me and my diabetic consultant.

Training is going well.  Weight and circuit sessions are rebuilding strength and flexibility.  Light yoga before bed is helping control one of the more unpleasant side effects of the hiatus hernia. 

And I’m running again.  Just a very easy fartlek session every three days or so in my local wood.  And the runs are getting slowly longer, slowly easier.  I think I’ve a handle on managing my diabetes while running too.  Basically 1gCHO/min, no insulin.  For now, this is a dark art that I’m still very new at. 

I’m now strong enough to comfortably shoulder my large format camera bag, which feels like a win. 

All this is of course a long way from a Wainwright 7 or a Charnley round; even from a circuit of Burbage valley.  But, as I genuinely did not think I was coming out of hospital on the second round, it’s a start.  Fingers crossed, that “shoe size not your age” I’d planned, a Wainwright 7 and a Charnley in 2022; a BGR and Rigby in 2023.  That would be a good way to mark my sixtieth year on this rock.  I’m leashing in the ADHD and not even remotely considering adding a Tranter and/or a Paddy into that. 

I can live with this.

Addendum: Mid September 2021

Autumn drizzle, chilly.  Fartlek time.  But there’s farting about time first.  Phone, gel(enough to get me home if I go hypo), hankie, camera, water, door key.  Socks on, no that one goes on the other left.  No snack, my blood sugar was a bit high, so I can hold the 2mmol/L drop from the run. 

Right, out the blooming door.  Definitely drizzling.  

Into the wood, hoping the creak is the gate hinges not my hinges.  Check the time, then lope away.  

Steady, I’m grinning already.  Because I genuinely love being out in weather like this.  The wood smells fresh, earthily welcoming, early autumn ochres, reds and purples shine.  Wet grass kiss my bare shins, drizzlemisted spider webs glisten in the soft light. 

Still running, take a desire path to the crossroads.  Duck because the browse line is a tad under 1m80, I’m quite a chunk over that.  Slow, walk now; I’ve run at what was my all day on the fell pace for five minutes.  And I’m still breathing easily.  Brisk walk though, down the badger path.  Then pick up the pace again, to that all day lope, for a loop through the meadow.  

Still grinning. 

Back to the wood.  Walking again. The bottom path, trees about the right spacing for some speed work.  Here goes.  About five minute 1500m pace.  Four intervals, walk between.  Go.  Feel “right” jog not walk between the last pair.  Oh, that was fun.  For the first time in near a year, I feel like I’m actually running. 

Time to head home.  Running steadily.  Still grinning. 

Addendum2: Mid October 2021

Things getting better.

A perfect weather window forecast, a lift available.  Diabetes & other nasties behaving themselves.  Time then to play in the moors.

So I did. 

Easy & familiar run, Burbage North to Surprise, over Higger & Winyards Nick.  Prick test & about 30g mixed carbs.  Then go.  

Onto the open moor for the first time in a year, since the diabetes really set in & complicated matters.  Moving easily, a steady awayday pace.  A privilege I first knew, now fretted, I’d lost forever.  Atop Higger, a pause.  A quiet pause amidst the crags & moors that had been my playground for decades, ravens swirling around me in the cooling winds.  The coping dams cracked.  Overwhelming relief flooded in.  I may have sat down & had a little^ cry.  These crags & moors are still my playground. 

The grin when I got to Surprise View, back to K & the car is still lurking.

It’s a start. 😎

Addendum3: Mid November 2021

Cold early morning, mist wreathed playing dragon breath on the station.  Running bag on my back, the moors are calling.  And I’m under my own steam(though K is giving me a lift back after her booster).

That loop of the Burbage Valley so far away in late summer was easy.  Easy enough that I could relish the misty moorland weather and have the energy for photography(okay, and a little cry of further relief) too.

It continues.

Still grinning. Grinning quite a lot.

To be continued …

ps: I mean that sentence about the Tranter and Paddy!

*for those who don’t know, Rose Cottage is a hospital euphemism for the morgue. 

^ editing Si here; reader, he blubbed – he blubbed quite a lot.