Limping into the New Year

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Once again I’ve left it so long that this post should begin with a litany of apologies, excuses and resolutions to do better in future. Once again, that would be boring to write and more boring still to read, so I’ll save us all the trouble and skip to the latest update from the world of pseudo-Olympic foolishness.

Last weekend saw the publication of an article in the Oxford Times for which I did the interviews back in November while my attention was focused on telling the difference between a foil and a sabre. In all honesty, I’d forgotten to buy the newspaper at any point before Christmas and assumed the article had been published and, as usual, ignored.

This time though, as I was halfway out the front door on my way to the pub on a Friday evening, I got a call from Central News – ITV’s regional news programme. They had seen the article in the paper and wanted an interview the following morning that would feature on the lunchtime bulletin. Much to the detriment of my Friday night, I agreed to meet them (or just ‘him’ as it turned out) at the Iffley Road track at 10AM the next day.

It was cold, and wet, and despite my relative abstinence the night before my head hurt. I ran round the track a couple of times, and up and down the home straight a couple of times, and beside the camera a couple of times, and fairly quickly realised that I’m almost as out of shape as I thought I was.

Random-running-footage secured, we did a quick interview before I scurried off into the murky morning in search of a cup of tea, a copy of the previous day’s Oxford Times, and a video recorder at Jamie and Kate’s house.

The story in the newspaper was the usual cobbling together of words I may at some point have used. Much like hearing a recording of your own voice, seeing your words reported in print is only ever disappointing and slightly confusing. You’re sure they sounded better when you said them.

In a similar vein, my debut on ITV as an “And finally…” story was equally cringe worthy. All the well-structured, concise and important things I had to say went out the window the moment the camera was pointed at me and I mumbled something about the challenge being… challenging.

One thing of interest at the time, and even more so since, that I noticed about the TV pictures was the way I was running. Fortunately, the TV really does add pounds, so my Lycra running tights didn’t look quite as ridiculous on screen as they do in the mirror at home, but my running style did make me wonder if maybe I was carrying an injury I wasn’t aware of. I seemed to be labouring a bit on my right side.

Sure enough, having swum a few times at the start of last week and noticed a slight weakness in my right knee, it finally gave way on Sunday night. The knee clicked as I bent it, as it often does, but this time it also hurt, and when I tried to stand up again, I couldn’t.

To cut what has the potential to be a very long story a lot shorter, it would appear on first inspection by a knee surgeon that my medial meniscus (cartilage on the inside of my knee joint) may have torn. It’s possible I did the bulk of this damage months ago when I crashed my bike, and that since then my cartilage has been waiting like some biological time-bomb to explode at the least glamorous moment it could find.

When I fell off my bike, I did so during a three-minute cycle to the shops mere days after surviving 40km of competitive triathlon cycling without so much as a wobble. This time, my knee made it through the stresses and strains of some heavy-duty lunging while I fenced in November, only to snap like a dry twig when I knelt on the floor to remove the modem plug from its socket.

Under normal circumstances, I’d be clamouring for them to get on with repairing or removing the cartilage as soon as possible so I could get back to training for what I hope will be a summer jam-packed with Olympic endeavour. However, the mitigating factor of a long-planned trip to Florida in three weeks time to play golf has me sitting on the sofa with my leg elevated and iced in the hope that somehow it will get strong enough in the interim to allow me to still go.

The surgeon assures me it should be fine if I rest it between now and then. Once I’ve played golf and come home, he will then either repair or remove the cartilage. That’s all very encouraging, but I’m not sure he appreciates quite how violent my golf swing can be.

For the moment though, I’m going for that option, even if it does mean walking around like Herr Flick for the next few days.


Anonymous said...

Was just "running" down your list of events still "to do"..and I think under these unfortunate circumstances you should probably go for the "Shooting" next..(as long as the "Running Target" doesn't mean what I think it might mean)?
Post me a copy of the newspaper article please..and hope the knee improves soon. wowo

frogstar said...

oh, fucksticks! so sorry to hear about your knee issues...