I am SOOOOO ready to get back to playing football again. Tuesday nights are a bit of a nightmare Chez 6000, so while I’m not playing, I’m doing my level best to help out with taking kids to various places. That way, when I can play once again, and I can’t take kids to places, we can at least look back over the year and note that I did take some of the kids to some places at least some of the time.

The only thing holding me back now is this bloody calf, which sadly, I do need to chat to a Physio about. Medical expenses can like to be absolutely ridiculous this year. Not quite one hour at the cardiologist cost over R4000, but as was pointed out, that’s a tiny fraction of what an actual cardio incident might cost, and that’s a reassuring way to look at it.

The calf is a weird one. I can do everything except run. I can walk up huge hills at 6kph. I can walk for 10km around the neighbourhood. I can use a stepping machine. I can do a cardio session. No issue.
But 20 seconds into a gentle jog (ok, it was a bit longer here, but…) and we’re back to square one. And downhills are worse than uphills, which makes me wonder if the calf actually knows what it’s doing.

I read this article which told me I was getting old, but did have an interesting link to L5/S1 lower back trouble (which I’ve had since I was 16) in elite athletes (which I’ve been all my life). Just weird that it’s never manifested itself in my calf until now, but I guess that’s where the age bit comes in. If “the science” is to be believed, that is. [rolleyes emoji]

But it needs to get sorted and it needs to get sorted before 19th July, which is the last Tuesday before the anniversary of my Covid infection. And I am determined not to let this keep me out for over a year. Whatever it takes to be on that pitch, I will be there.

Because like I say, everything else is ready to go: I haven’t been this fit since… well… just before I got Covid. Whether I can ever get back to that level, I don’t know, but there’s no harm in trying and hoping.

So I’m very ready to get this one little thing mended now and get going again.


The calf has been tested by walking a lot. And that includes Forest Drive (the posh one in Bishopscourt, not the crappy one in Pinelands) which is 100m of going upwards in 650m of going forwards (mainly upwards and forwards).

So today a gentle jog around the neighbourhood seemed in order. And off I went.
Bit of uphill – lovely. Bit of flat stuff – lovely. Bit of downhill – lovely. Finally!

But still taking things slowly because I’m older and wiser than I used to be.

And then I jogged down Oak Avenue (the one with the dead cat) and just as I got to the bottom there was a twangy poppy snappy ping and some pretty nasty pain from my left leg, and now I had a couple of kilometres and the best part of 100m to climb before I was home – with a mashed calf.

It probably didn’t help.

And so ice packs and drugs have been the order for the afternoon (plus some Deep Heat, because who doesn’t want to smell like a Frenchman’s groin?).

I think I need to chat to my physio next week.

Back to it

I hurt my back at the end of November and – because I’m old now – it’s taken a long time to get right. As a measure of just how long, I don’t think it’s quite there yet. But nearly.

Still, with that as a reason, and my Dad’s visit as a handy excuse, I’ve managed to avoid most forms of strenuous exercise for almost 8 weeks now. Add to that all the calamari, beer and burgers I’ve been enjoying during his stay, and well… there’s some work to do.

I have a couple of inches to lose and a couple of kilos that they can take with them.

This morning (with my Dad still only over Algeria), I went for a slow, hot run. The speed was simply because I couldn’t go any faster, the heat was because it was a hot day.

It didn’t break any records, save for perhaps being the most overdue run in recent history. The back seems to have held up and there have been no immediate after-effects save for quite a lot of tiredness.

Watch this space for more updates as the weight comes off and the fitness increases. Or not, if I decide not to exercise or not to blog about it.

10,000 steps folly

I have now knocked up 10,000 steps (or more – often more) each day for the last 45 days, according to my Garmin watch. Given that some days, I’ve done far more than 10,000 steps, I reckon I’ve managed somewhere around half a million steps in the last 6½ weeks. And that’s on top of gym visits and cycling and other things that don’t get recorded as steps.

And now it’s become a bit of a thing to keep it going, and that’s why (very occasionally) you’ll find me walking around the garden at 9pm just to knock off the last 500. Yes, I get health insurance points for it. No, they’re not really worth much. But yes, I do see it as something of a personal challenge and yes, I know that 10,000 steps (or so) is not going to be enough to keep this middle-age weight down.

That’s what (for me, at least) this guy fails to get. He doesn’t like the 10,000 step thing at all:

“There’s no scientific validation. It’s very hard to do it every day, and there’s no mention of intensity, or difficulty level, or heart rate, or breathing, or anything that determines whether exercise is valuable to you from a cardiovascular perspective.”

He quotes someone as saying.
Well, it’s not hard at all – as proven by my last 45 days.

If you are a top athlete (or even if you’re not), doing 10,000 steps (or anywhere thereabouts, because sure, this isn’t an exact science) is not going to make you into a world beater. That’s where the extras – the gym and the cycling – come in. You’ll need conditioning, coaching, a decent diet and perhaps even some mental training to achieve your lofty goals.

The thing is that it isn’t about that though. If you’re a top athlete but you need a watch to tell you that you haven’t done much exercise today, then actually, I’d wager that you’re not actually a top athlete at all.

But for the average Joe (or Joanne) on the street, a reasonably price watch which helpfully tells the time, and can give them some idea of how active they’ve been that day, is a godsend. Because then they can see that at 5pm they’ve been lounging around in front of a computer screen for too long that afternoon. And they can choose to do something about it.

Sure, Discovery (aforementioned medical insurance) uses 5,000 and 10,000 as their goto numbers, but then I can get as many points as I do for 10,000 steps each day simply by scanning my card at the gym. I don’t even have to look at a cardio machine, let alone do anything on one. They don’t value those 10,000 steps too highly.

It doesn’t even have to be 10,000 steps. Simply because “there’s no scientific validation”, that 10,000 really is completely arbitrary. Do what you want with the numbers: it’s there just as a guide, an aide-memoire.
But surely if it helps you to be more active than your mate who doesn’t subscribe to the 10,000 steps mantra, then it’s a good thing. It’s certainly not doing me any harm, anyway.

That said, blogging is a very sedentary endeavour, and thus I must get myself moving. These steps aren’t going to walk themselves, you know.

Better never late

We’ve been through this whole saga, so I’m not going to bore you with it again, but in case you do need to catch up, there was this and then there was this. Eventually (and more positively) there was this.

So this cartoon doesn’t really apply to me, but having spent another hour at the gym yesterday, I can completely sympathise.

It’s all about how you choose to look at things, I suppose. Starting to do something good is a positive thing to do, no matter when you begin.

Although it didn’t feel great at 8 o’clock on a grey, wet Monday morning, I’ll be honest.