Take it easy

Day off today and while I would normally be out on a walk somewhere, even if I wasn’t actively training, I can’t at the moment because of my swelling!

Ha! That got your attention. Don’t try to back out of it now, you’re reading because you want to know what my swelling is. Unless you’ve been following the blog, when you’d know that it’s my bursa. Stop giggling at the back. Too much activity and my bursa swells up. I said STOP GIGGLING!

On a serious note, I have gone from a high level of exercise to next to nothing in the space of a week. On one level, that means I have to drastically adjust my diet, because I was eating to fuel the exercise and if I continue that diet, I’ll be adding weight in all the wrong places. So I have to find some other way of exercising and I’ve picked on weights at home as my calorie consumer of choice. That and a reduction in portion size.

On another level there’s the mental change. I’d been building up to the challenge in my mind too. It was about attitude – getting up early on a rainy morning to go on the hills, going out after work, selecting routes that ended on an ascent, going the extra mile. That’s gone and I have to try and find a substitute goal to keep me occupied or I risk making an even bigger dent in the sofa.

The third level is the spare energy I have right now. Although this will diminish as my body adjusts, right now I feel I want to go charging off and doing stuff. I don’t even know what. It’s hard not to overdo things. Last night I cut the lawn then went out to Broadpool. I couldn’t just sit still.

I went out to the River Tawe with Rufus this morning. I was careful not to go too far or do any climbing, but it was hard looking up at Fan Brecheiniog where I’ve been doing a lot of my training and knowing it was out of bounds for a long while. Grrr.

Grrr, was also the noise Rufus made when I picked up the first stone. It was closely followed by a bark and then several more barks. As fats as I could throw the stones into the water, Rufus was bringing them out again. The banks of the Tawe, just above the twin waterfall, are lined with stones now. These days, dredging stones is not enough. I have to carefully select smaller stones to throw for Rufus to catch. He’s very good at it now and I love watching the absolute concentration on his face as he waits for the stone to be thrown. One good thing about throwing stones for Rufus is that i can sit down to do it, and I took advantage of this to rest the knee.

We were following wagtails along the river. they hopped from rock to rock, just keeping ahead of Rufus as he splashed and waded along the riverbed. It was like a game to them and once they realised Rufus wasn’t interested, they started playing it with me. I’m sure they knew I was trying to get a photograph; they’d wait until I’d stopped and raised the camera to my eye before flying away again.

Back home, I can feel my knee aching, which means I’ve probably done a little too much, so as I sit and type this, I have the ice pack on again.

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&%$@@!%$ (&^%$@^*

Hark, another swear word. What’s going on?

I have mentioned my recurring knee issue in previous blogs.  I’ve been doing my very best to rest it between training strolls and apart from the swelling on the front below the kneecap, it’s been pain free and only mildly uncomfortable. But last night, I was on the exercise bike in the gym and with little warning I suddenly had that horrible feeling, as if my knee was about to lock. Accompanying it was pain – not excruciating, but enough to sound alarm bells.

I stopped cycling, of course, but the pain continued and did so for the rest of the night, despite ice packs and ibuprofen gel. And this morning it was still hurting enough to leave me worried. Ibuprofen helped, as did a tight bandage. But it was clear that there was something more than a week’s rest could fix.

I have 44 days of training left. The training plan calls for two 6hr hikes this weekend, including ascent and descent with back pack. In the following three weeks, I need to do another three 8 hour hikes plus increasing amounts of cardio-vascular training in the gym. By my estimate, I have a two week window to rest the knee and hope it gets better. Even then, there is no guarantee it won’t go again either during the final training or on the mountain itself. On my last trek 6 people had to be evacuated down the trail, two by helicopter. A couple of those were as a result of pre-existing conditions. It nearly cost all of us our chance of getting toe Everest Base Camp. I’m not going to do that.

I went straight to the doctor who confirmed what I already knew, that two weeks wasn’t nearly long enough to sort the problem out. I’m having an X-Ray done too, as there may be more to it than simply Housemaid’s Knee. As long as it has a name with multiple syllables that sounds vaguely heroic, I don’t care.

So, reluctantly, I have decided to postpone the Kilimanjaro trek. Postpone, not give up. I’ll be back next year.

My knee

You know this knee now. The purply red bits are the culprits. Grrr!

I feel gutted and frustrated. Part of the preparation was psychological. I still remember climbing Kala Patthar in Nepal – and that was ‘only’  5,545m. Kili adds another 450m on to that. I can’t risk my knee giving out at that late stage. More importantly, when the adrenaline runs out and we’re heading down, that is when the damage will happen and I’m planning on using my legs after Kili.

Watch this space. I’m guessing the next post will be about the experiences of trying to claim off my travel insurance.