Lunch with Monkeys

31 Oct

I ate lunch surrounded by monkeys!!

First day of trekking and the term ‘poli poli’ is possibly my favourite.  ‘Slowly slowly’ – really gentle pace of walking to allow for acclimatisation. 

We set off from the ‘gate’ leaving porters behind packing up tents, food and our main bags.  Only to be overtaken by them along the route as they sped past is to set up camp at Simba Camp. 

The vast area surrounding Kilimanjaro mountain itself is National Park, with several different routes to the top, with camping sites along the way, until the base camps and the final summit day.  We were doing what was called the Rongai Route but isn’t the official one, as that’s not been used by the public for many years as it’s saved for the Army to train on, due to the dangers of, among other things, lions!! 

We walked from around 1230 to 1600, followed by a short acclimatisation climb to help our bodies prepare. 

Most amazing part of the day:  eating packed lunch whilst black and white collabus monkeys ran around the trees above us, scattering leaves on us.  Also briefly glimpsed – a blue monkey (which we are more likely to see on way down). To think we’d been excited to spot an eagle right at the start of the walk – monkeys overtook that by a mile in excitement stakes.  God only knows what we’ll be like when on actual safari – there may be spontaneous combustion! To add to wildlife count – a small chameleon on the path in front of us, who clearly wanted the attention as he was very slow and steady in his walk away from our clicking cameras.

Arrival at Simba – tents all set up and warm water to wash in, plus: a ‘private’ toilet tent – with an actual portable, flushing toilet.  Felt like luxury compared to Nepal. Then to our mess tent for coffee and popcorn; dinner at 1830, at which point I’ll probably fall straight asleep as absolutely shattered. 

The views down mountain are spectacular, across the moorland and back down to rain forest; in the distance, Kenya. 

We’ve briefly glimpsed up the mountain through a break in the cloud – don’t think it’s the top – but it looks bloody high!! 

Planes, planes and jeeps

24 Oct

This will be last day of internet connection for about a week, also last day of comfort for about a week!  Currently lounging in a comfy chair in a rather lovely little bar area of a delightful hotel in the Kilimanjaro region, which makes me think of every costume drama about colonial times that I’ve ever seen! 

Wherever I’ve been on travels, it’s always been the people that have made an experience.  Lasting memory of Nepal is the people I’m still in touch with from the trek and sitting in a bar by candlelight  singing rugby songs with some Australian soldiers!  New York was all about drinks with the staff at an underground (literally!) jazz bar.  This time, so far it’s the lovely lady I met on the plane, who was born in Tanzania, has moved round so many parts of the world, and was telling me tales of wonderful places I should visit. 
Slight worrying moment was her pointing out that Ethiopia  was in State of Emergency – just as we approached Addis Ababa for a change of flight.  Fortunately the lady in front of us was from there and spoke about states of emergency occurring there in the same casual way we mention rain in England!  

A few delays and a casual attitude to timing that would make ‘manana’ seem OCD and the final plane journey set off.  Worth every delay for the first glimpse of Kilimanjaro.  I’d actually spotted another mountain first and thought it really didn’t look that bad or too challenging.  When I saw this I had a change of heart upon realising I’d been looking at a molehill in comparison to the real mountain!! 

I’ve now met my fellow walkers … two of them!  We pretty much have a private trek…. which is either going to be really great or really embarrassing if my training and fitness isn’t up to all I thought it would be.  

That update will be in a week’s time.  Wish me luck!! 

Invest in What Rewards You

1 Oct

I suppose I shouldn’t start with the conclusion; but if your conclusion is also your beginning then maybe its the perfect place to start.


I arrived back from Spain yesterday.  There’d been pretty much a veto on getting leave through the normal holiday times, so more by luck than judgement I’d ended up with a three week block off in September.  A perfect chance to escape from normal life, just me and the dog, and head off to Spain.  I decided that as well as an opportunity to catch up with people I hadn’t seen in a long time (far too long a time!) it was also a chance to step back and review my life and where it was going.  I knew I had some decisions to make; decisions I’d been ignoring or putting off either deliberately or just because it was easier to get caught up on a tide and go along with it without really thinking.  I knew I had to do something about this because I had that uncomfortable feeling that I get when I know deep down I’m not being true to me. That unease that feels like I’m watching myself from somewhere high up and want to shout at myself but instead I just carry on watching.

I’d just sorted some stuff out at work that had been causing me a lot of ‘aaarrgh’ (I really can’t think of a better word to describe it) and I’d put that to rest and made my peace.  However, I needed to work out where I go next and what I really want.  I also still have the spectre of marriage/divorce to sort out … i.e., I’m still married and I really shouldn’t be!  I’d started picking back up some bad habits from a previous lifetime and I really wasn’t sure why.  To top it all off – what to do with La Panaderia, my Spanish escape place but also the money pit.  So all in all, not the usual relaxing break.  Throw into that 2,500 miles of driving there and back and I was setting myself up for one helluva journey – physically and emotionally.

Now I’m back.   I’ve thought a lot; I’ve tidied up a lot – both physically and emotionally; I’ve laughed a lot; cried a bit; I’ve caught up with people I love and reflected on the values that I hold.

That’s what it comes back to, the values I hold and how I want to live my life.  I’ve sort of mentioned it before, I think, but I want a simple life.  I don’t want a big house or a fancy car or expensive clothes.  I want to be with people I love, doing things I enjoy.  I want to invest in the things that reward me.   That’s not just about financial investment, its about investment of time; emotion; thoughts; caring.  Investment of me.  Don’t get me wrong, the financial investment is a big one, try running two mortgages and you soon realise how much the simple life has to be lead as there isn’t the cash for anything else!!  But in this hectic world, its the investment of time and emotion that often have the highest cost and the lowest reward.

I also realised I had to stop judging myself through the imagined eyes of others.  Why am I not going for promotion when I’ve got the exam?  Why am I not in a relationship after a couple of years of being single?  Why am I not living a more exciting life and travelling more or going out more or staying in more or joining this club or doing this exercise or …. well you get the picture.  I’m not even sure that anyone is asking those questions.  I very much doubt they are because people generally are quite rightly caught up in their own lives and have no time to think about or judge other people’s lives.  Even if they are – who cares?  I’ve realised that just because people appear to have it all and that all is wonderful, that veneer is often very thin.  As though 60 Minute Makeover came in and slapped some paint over it all and installed a 72″ tv, but as soon as they go, the wallpaper is going to fall off and the tv will fuse the whole house.

So where next?  Investing in the things that reward me.  I realise that I’m lucky to do a job that pays me very well.  Its also a job that I have allowed to cause me a great deal of stress and distress in the past.  Possibly because I’ve invested too much of my heart into it.  So from now on, my investment will match the reward.  The reward is financial and therefore I will do what I need to do to justify that reward.  The other reward I get is working with some lovely people (don’t get me wrong, there are also some complete arseholes, but I can just deal with them in a professional manner and invest only the time that is absolutely required and no more.  I certainly won’t invest them with time in worrying about what they think or what they are doing or what their next plans might be!).  So to the lovely people, I will invest the care and time that I hope I always have.  But I won’t take the stress home with me and I will treat it only as a job and not a life.  If that means looking for promotion, then I’ll consider it, provided it still fits in with my values.  But it won’t be something I abandon important things to get, things like my values, my sanity and my life.

La Panaderia?  Ah, such a difficult one.  I love that house.  Its taken time, money, love, inspiration, dreams to make it what it is.  To take it from a wreck to a beautiful house.  So much investment.  But where is the reward?  I love to go there; I love that friends can visit and enjoy the place.  But it also holds sad memories and holds me to a life I should have left behind me totally by now.

So, I’ve said my goodbyes.

With every box emptied and floor swept, I bid the house goodbye.  That’s all it is, bricks and mortar (or bricks and yeso, to be accurate).  Someone else will turn it into their dream.  This will let me cut ties that need cutting – and, importantly, free up cash each month that I can start investing in a new dream.  What that dream will be, I’m not totally sure yet, but that’s the good thing about dreams, they can appear when you least expect and they can change each time you open your mind.

The other parts:  I’ve reflected on paths I was starting to follow and decided to turn back around and take different ones.  Different paths that will give rewards I deserve, not shiny baubles that might be fun for a little while but have no substance. Like the Turkish Delight in Lion, Witch & Wardrobe – wonderful to indulge in, but at what cost?

All of this I could probably have worked out sitting at home.  But its the other things you realise on the physical journey that are important.  Like realising I could do it on my own and that it really wasn’t that big a deal.  Realising that on the bits that I really could have done with someone else there, I managed and that actually even in a couple I wouldn’t have necessarily been any better off!  Don’t get me wrong, it would have been lovely to share parts of the trip with someone, but it didn’t spoil the trip being on my own.  Realising that even the scary bits (like being completely lost and screaming at a satnav that didn’t understand I couldn’t drive through a statue; like sleeping in a service station car park curled up next to a dog that either barked or snored with equal loudness) I could cope with a find a way through.  Hell, give it a couple of days and I’ll have turned those into amusing anecdotes!

Now I’m back and my conclusion is now my new start.

In the short term there’s going to need to be investment in sorting out a lot of things that aren’t all within my control; but only if I start putting that investment in, will things move forward.  Like starting up a small business, its only by putting the work in early on that you get the rewards later.  So my life is a my small business for now.  A lot of work, a lot of time and effort and energy needed – but the rewards at the end of it will be worth it because from now on I’m only investing in the things that reward me.

Was going to say something comparing life to looking over a high wall at the future horizon; but actually its just a cute picture

Was going to say something comparing life to looking over a high wall at the future horizon; but actually its just a cute picture










Should we be content with content?

29 Jun

Have you ever kissed someone and had the whole world stop?  Everything fade away until all that is left is you and the other person and the moment, and the knowledge that nothing will ever be the same again.

That doesn’t happen, right?

Or have you had a job that you love going to, that it doesn’t matter how many hours you work because working just re-energises you? That you get so much satisfaction out of knowing you’ve done a good job and had a positive impact that you just can’t wait to go back to work.

That doesn’t happen, right?

So instead, lets settle for a job that pays the bills and is secure; for a relationship with someone that’s nice and reliable and who, “yes, of course I love them, its just, well….”

That’s what happens in real life, isn’t it.  That’s what life is about, isn’t it.  Isn’t it?

But what if it isn’t?   Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not criticising on either side or saying one way is better or worse than the other.  Everyone has to do what is right for them.  If you find a way of having a calm and settled life that fulfils you and makes you happy, then that’s fantastic.

Certainly I sometimes wonder if part of my stress is caused by always striving for something that I’m not quite certain even exists.  My job, for argument’s sake:  it pays me pretty well, I’ve done it for a long time and, unless I do something daft, is pretty secure.  But recently its destroyed my confidence and caused me much more unhappiness than satisfaction.  I can’t remember when I last enjoyed going to work – even getting there without having a panic attack on the way would be good (ps:  cycling to work is great for helping reduce this, its difficult to have a panic attack when you’re riding a bike nicknamed Bella that makes you want to sing in Italian!).  Is that because I’m expecting too much from a job? If I just accepted that I’ll go in, do what I can and then go home, not looking to move up or help things be more effective, perhaps I’d be happier.

Maybe its better to get to a certain point and settle there.  My weight, for example. I’ve worked hard to lose weight and get in shape (or at least, a better shape).  This wasn’t helped by the arthritis diagnosis, although knowing that the pain would be eased by losing weight did give a push in the right direction.  So now I’m at a size that is ok.  I’m normal weight, I look ok in clothes.  I’m working hard on personalised workouts which are having an impact (I can actually see muscles in my arms and that thigh tattoo is getting closer).  But I know that if I really focussed on my nutrition and upped my workouts I’d get closer to where I actually want to be.  This is also where you realise there are some things that are acceptable to say and some that aren’t: when I’ve mentioned that I still want to lose more weight/tone up more the comments are all along the lines of “no, you’ll look haggard”, “you’ll look ill”, even though I’m nowhere near the lower levels of my BMI.  (As an aside rant:  All those ‘motivational’ posters now about, “its about being fit, not being thin” – no, you didn’t get like that just through working out, you have adjusted your eating, I do believe the saying that you can’t out train a bad diet.)  But anyway, I digress.  This is about whether its ok to be content with content.  So should I be happy at just being the weight and fitness level I am?

Should I be content to have a job that pays the bills and is secure?  Should I look for a relationship with someone who would be reliable and dependable and, ok, I might not be able to talk to them about absolutely anything or absolutely nothing and they just totally get me, but they are nice?  Should I settle at the weight and shape I am?   Would it be so wrong and way less stressful, to just be content with content?

Sure, I can see the advantages in being thankful for what I have, for living in the moment, counting my blessings, being realistic in my expectations.   Blah blah blah.  But won’t it be equally stressful, just maybe in a different way, to always have a niggling doubt at the back of my mind that it could be better?  Always wondering if only I’d taken a risk or tried a bit harder or been a bit more focussed, that I could have achieved so much more.  Oh, and who is to say what’s realistic or not – who is setting those boundaries?

I’m going to say it again – this is not a criticism of anyone who says they have achieved exactly what they wanted and that they aren’t settling for content with content and that, actually, what’s wrong with content?  There isn’t anything wrong with content.  Content is great.

If that’s what you want.

But I don’t think I do.  I want to have that feeling of the world stopping; I want that feeling of knowing I’ve made a difference; I want that feeling of knowing I’m the best I can be.

If I’d been content with content, I’d still be with my first husband and working as a secretary – and probably 5 stone overweight, drinking heavily and hiding in the bathroom to cry when no-one was looking!

So I’m going to try and find a balance:  I’ll be content about what I’ve achieved so far, but not content to stop there.  It’ll be my stepping stone.  I can only be content here if I know its acting as a base to work towards where I actually want to be.  Use the good things about my job, my fitness, heck, even what I’ve learned from relationships, to act as the foundation for getting something more.  To getting that unrealistic aim – because its only unrealistic if I believe it is.  Hell:  I believe in zombies and aliens and ghost monkeys, I can certainly believe in having a job that I want to go to every single day; a body that can sport a leg tattoo and vest top with pride and finding a man that will make the world stop when they kiss me!




Who are They?

13 Apr

I’ve skied off the top of a mountain attached to a parachute.  Not recently, but I’ve done it.

I’ve gone trekking in Nepal with a group of people I’d never met before.  Not recently, but I’ve done it.

I’ve changed career, drastically, despite being well settled.  Not recently, but I’ve done it.

I’ve moved from a small village to live in London for a job – which turned out not to be the job I thought it was, but I stayed anyway.  Not recently, but I’ve done it.

I’ve moved house, job and county for love; I’ve stayed up all night talking, dancing and laughing because I was having fun; I’ve kissed someone out of the blue just because we both felt it needed to be done; I’ve  challenged people because I felt it was the right thing to do; I’ve tried to run on stage at a concert because I was dared; I’ve bought a run down old bakery in another country, because I had a vision; I’ve sung rugby songs in a remote, foreign bar during a power cut with a group of Australians, because we were glad we were alive.   All these things I’ve done, not recently, but I’ve done it.

Not recently.

When did I stop being fearless?  When did I start worrying about what People would think?  When did I get scared that I wasn’t clever enough, or pretty enough, or strong enough, or grown up enough, or interesting enough or any of the thousand of things that run through my head when I think of taking a risk or accepting a challenge?  Who are They, anyway?  The People that make up the jury that I seem to think is sitting judgement on everything I do or say.  These imaginary People who sit in my head and question everything, always looking at what the worst that could happen might be.  Why do I care what They think?

When I was younger and trying to achieve something, my mum would ask if I’d done my best.  So long as I’d done my best, then that was good enough.  If my best was good enough for my mum, why am I worried that my best isn’t good enough for a group of imaginary people?

All those things I’ve done – they might not have turned out to have the best result.  But so what?   They’ve all brought me to where I am.  Even the things that turned out disastrously, I’ve still learned something (even if its just not to do it again!), or gone down a new path because of it, or made new friends or started a fresh adventure or even just got a funny story from it.

I know what my values are.  I know I don’t set out to hurt anyone or upset anyone. I don’t want to achieve success for myself if it means damaging others.  That isn’t in my values and way of living.  So providing I’m living to those values, I’m going to stop trying to second guess that group of People, especially as I’m not even sure who They are.  If I could put a name to them – would I actually value their opinion?  Would they be people I’d care about if they actually spoke out loud to me and gave me their opinion?  Probably not.

It might be a bit scary, but I’m going to start by saying yes more – yes to things that might be a bit risky because they might make me vulnerable, or I might fail, or I might look a bit daft.  I’m also going to say no – no to things that don’t fit with my values or my aims.  But mainly, I won’t be worrying about what the worst thing that can happen – because regardless of what it is, I know I can handle it and that I’ll come out the other side, with my head held high, with a smile on my face and at the very least, with a story to tell!






Waiting for the green man

31 Aug

I was rushing into town today.  I’d had 4 hours sleep after nightshift, needed to get to optician and then on to another appointment and was running out of time.  The pedestrian crossing was red but the road was clear, however, a small girl across the other side had just been told by her mum to stand back from the kerb and wait for the little green man.  I couldn’t run across and set a bad example.  So I waited.  And took time to breathe deeply, to unhunch my shoulders and to feel the sun on my face.  It felt good.  I started to remember what it was like as a child.

When a summer’s day where you could splash in the paddling pool; or chase dandelion fairies; or just spin round and round with the warmth on your face was the best day ever.

Until Autumn, when you could kick through the leaves and throw them over your head, with crinkly colours landing on your smile; gather conkers and get excited for the fireworks that would be coming soon.  THAT was the best day ever.

Then the snow of winter:  snowmen; wooly gloves laden with snow-ice that you just licked off like a hairy ice lolly; hot chocolate and marshmallows to defrost you at the end of the day.  That HAS to be best day EVER.

When change was scary but so exciting.  The first day of new school.  What would your teacher be like?  The other pupils?  Would there be someone new?  Were you going to be the new person?  (I moved around a lot as a child and went to a lot of schools, I know that ‘new girl, first day’ feeling well.  PS – I was an army kid, we weren’t on the run nor  was I just being expelled each time!)

But while nerves were tingling, you couldn’t wait to get in there and meet the challenge head on, because you didn’t know that being nervous was a reason not to do something.

When, if you fell over you just got back up and rushed back to try again.  Falling over wasn’t a reason to miss out on the excitement of life – your friends would still be playing, you needed to be there in the thick of it.  Sitting, fidgeting as your mum stuck on a plaster, because you were impatient to get back out there and climb that tree again until you DID reach the high branch and didn’t fall out; to make it all the way down the hill in the go-kart made from a toy pram.  Even though 17 times already it had tipped you out and cut your lip open.

A time when every day held the possibility of being the Best Day Ever.

When falling down was never a reason to stop.

When nerves were never a reason not to try.

When fear of change was never a reason to hold on to the past.

So maybe we need that pause at the red light and remember what it was like to be a kid, so that when the green man appears we bound ahead with the enthusiasm and optimism we used to have.


When are you a Proper Runner?

13 Aug

I’ve never really counted myself as a runner, even though I’ve always run.  I started back when I was about 15 and was rubbish at sport.  I have no hand to eye co-ordination, so was always last picked at netball and hockey and spent most of a tennis match apologising for not being able to hit the ball back.  But I could stick a pair of trainers on and go for a jog (I’m old enough that it was called jogging back then, not running).  I’d head out into the countryside and just run for a bit until I turned round and headed home.  There was no special kit, I was probably wearing plimsolls, no garmin and bearing in mind we’d only just got a house phone there was certainly no mobile phone app to record your distance.  It was always something I could rely on to clear my head and give me my space.  I probably didn’t even realise this was what it was doing.  When I left home and moved to London at the age of 18, tearful at leaving my boyfriend in Somerset, I’d go out and pound the streets and feel better.  Over time I started other things, aerobics, step aerobics, weights, I even learned to swim, but I always went back to running.  I guess I must have been ok at it as I can remember deciding fairly last minute to do a half marathon and coming in at under 2 hours.  I’m rubbish at remembering stats so I’ve no idea of exact time – I just remember that my fiance (the same boyfriend I’d left in Somerset) wasn’t at the finish line because, as he put it “I figured you’d be ages so I didn’t think I needed to hang around”.   I remember my entire shift (all blokes) making fun at me because jogging wasn’t proper sport or keeping fit and anyone could do it.  So I told them to join me in a 10k I was doing ….. I’d finished my race and jogged some way back along the course to run the last mile again with two of them who had to eat their words with a large portion of humble pie!

I had a bit of a falling out of love with running (and exercise generally) after the end of my first marriage, for lots of reasons that could be analysed by a psychologist but boiled down to my rebellion against a husband who’d been fairly insistent on me not getting fat (I was a size 8-10, I realise in hindsight I wasn’t fat, but that’s a whole different story and would be a very dull blog).  But I’d still get back to running – training to go to Nepal on a trek, I went back and pounded the streets and local wood (yes – trail running before I even knew what trail running was!  Bloody hell, I was ahead of my time!!).   I even remember my lodger – considerably younger and considerably slimmer than me – commenting in a rather annoyed manner, when I went for a jog with her,  that how on earth could I manage to run longer and faster than her when I did nothing!!  I guess muscle memory hangs on in there longer than you imagine.

Nothing else ever really appealed to me like running.  I like the solitude of it.  I know running clubs are great and lots of people like them, but I like that whole thing of just going out and doing my own thing.  Picking my own route, deciding a distance, plodding at my own pace and working through the crazy in my head.  When I have run with other people, I’ve been too pressured and picked up my first big injury from training with the next husband (plantar fasciitis picked up on training for a 10k – I maintain it was the hill sprints, he maintains it was me pushing to do an extra 500 yards to make an even number of miles on a run, but we’ll beg to differ).

Do you become a proper runner when you’ve had your first injury?  not sure, but its when you start to realise just how important running is to you.  When you can’t do it, you start to realise just how many extra lumps of cheese or Chinese takeaways those runs stop from settling on your legs and arse!  Its also when you realise just how jumbled your head can become when you haven’t got the consistent pounding of feet on ground to settle them into some sort of order or stomp them out of your brain.

But good physio help (thank you NHS!) and I’ve always been able to get back out there.  Even after two bouts of fairly major (non-running related) surgery, the aim of getting back out and building the miles back up helped speed recovery.

I think I still never thought of myself as a runner though, because I’ve never been fast.  I’ve never completed a marathon (half is still the longest distance I’ve run).  But I can get out and plod along and just keep going.  I’m like a little Shetland pony rather than a sleek race horse, but I was happy being a little pony.  I discovered that I loved to run in the rain.  I discovered the joy of head torches and running the streets in the dark, pretending I was escaping from zombies (as opposed to drunks, but they kinda look the same, just my version was more fun).

I started to think that maybe I was a runner, or could be.  I watched other people take up the recreational activity (sport?) that I’d always loved and achieve great things with it.  They smashed pb’s, they ran ultra’s, they lost bin loads of weight.  Why wasn’t I achieving that?  Maybe I wasn’t a proper runner, but perhaps I could be – so I put in for a marathon.  I started to train.  I was doing pretty well – got my distance back up to 11 miles, taking advice about proper fuelling strategies, nutrition, hydration and all the things that proper runners did.  Then it happened.  Another injury, but this time it just didn’t feel right.  My left hip was ridiculously painful.  Not a niggle, proper ‘hurts to run’ painful; ‘hobble like an old lady when you get up’ painful.  So I did what pretend runners do, I rested and figured it would get better on its own.  I rested for a month, the excruciating pain subsided to a constant ache – that meant it was better, right?  so I tried a gentle jog.  After a few hundred yards I had to stop and walk, pain was just too unbearable.  Now clearly the logical person would at this point think to see a doctor.  But I’m not a proper runner, it must just be lack of stretching or a pulled muscle or a bit of an ache.  So I rested some more.  It wasn’t til 6 months later when the realisation that the ache was always there, that going up hill was troublesome, that my dog walking had been reduced so that I wasn’t left hobbling that I thought perhaps I should see the doctor.  So I trundled along, figuring they’d refer me to physio and all would be well.  Instead x-rays and blood tests were booked.

I started to swim instead of running.  I found I enjoyed it.  But it wasn’t running.  I had to count lengths and so it didn’t have that mind clearing opportunity that running did.  It didn’t get me out in the fresh air and let me plan my world.  It was an interim until I could run again.

Then I found out when you are a proper runner.  Its when you find out you can’t run again.  Its when you sit in the doctors and get told you’ve got osteoarthritis in your hip, even though “it isn’t something we’d usually see developing so young”  (thank you at least for that, as my first reaction was “crap, did I fall asleep and age 20 years”).  Its when you’re told that its likely to also develop in the other hip.  That first action will be to refer for physio to try and manage the pain, but that it can’t be ‘healed’ just managed. That if the physio doesn’t help the pain management, there’d be a referral to orthopaedic surgeon, but reassuringly (??) “they don’t like to do hip replacement so early”.   That it will probably get worse, but no timescale.  You’re a proper runner when you ask “when can I run again” and you’re told to look for another exercise as it wouldn’t be wise to run.  When you realise you can’t run again and you leave the doctor’s surgery and cry in your car because it feels like you’ve lost something important.  That’s when you realise you’re a proper runner.

So I know that this is just another challenge that I need to face and tackle.  I know its not the worst thing in the world and I know that other people have far worse things to face.   I know that I need to now look at what I can do – swimming, non-impact gym work and so forth – and look at managing diet (ten pounds goes on remarkably quickly when running isn’t giving that calorie deficit!).  But somehow I’ve gone to being “someone who used to run” without ever really recognising that I was a Proper Runner.  And that makes me very sad.