After shifting the sciatica I brought on myself back in November, the drive down to the alps went well on Boxing Day, the skiing went well but the return journey brought the sciatica back. Goodness knows how – same length of journey, same car, same seat, same seat settings … it just did.
I was taking it easy but had gone up to nearly 72kg and was suffering with a good dose of what they are calling an epidemic of Australian flu (generous people the Australians, not only were they happy to give us a beating in the cricket but they send over their flu – thanks guys).
It all meant that I was rather tired of doing nothing and after a week I decided I’d been idle for long enough and thought I’d see what exercise I could do without hurting it more.
Lunges and sit-ups were out but crunches, press-ups and ‘from sitting to standing, using just one leg (arms folded so no impetus to be gained from swinging them)’ worked with both legs. So I did a few of those.
Unfortunately, although I could do the exercises, I paid for them the following day with worse sciatica. ‘Old enough to know better’ comes to mind.
Clearly, long car journeys and vigorous exercise were completely ruled out – so we did the only sensible thing and drove four and a half hours to the Lake District to do some fell walking.
It was a long weekend that had been arranged months previously with three other couples – the third time we’ve done the trip and not one we’d ever want to miss. It also gave us the opportunity to stop off at my sister’s to see my father who moved in with her a while ago. It was just two days before his 94th birthday so that trip was even more essential.
We were in Ambleside and the trip was great and, as ever, the Lake District was spectacular. We walked, ate, and I nearly cycled (I just took a mountain bike but some of the others had road bikes so I gave it a miss). As it was, the closest that I did get to cycling was working on a communal jigsaw of a stage of Le Tour in (I think) 2012.
The walking was fantastic (but very cold) although I spent the whole time not knowing where I was, where we’d come from or where we were going. In two walks we did well over 13 miles and 6400 ft of ascent – not record breaking but OK for a non-walker.
[If you like pointless trivia, how many lakes are there in the Lake District? Altogether there are over 30 bodies of water over 0.1 sq km, and more than 80 bodies of water in all, including reservoirs, but there is only one lake.
The lake is Bassenthwaite Lake – the others are ‘meres’ (eg Windermere – so ‘Lake Windermere’ is both wrong and tautologous), ‘waters’ (eg Ullswater) or tarns.]
Returning on Sunday, we just had time to get things turned around before getting ready to head off for me to deliver the eulogy at an Aunt’s funeral the Monday. RIP my Aunt Joy.
So, sort of active – but a world away from the cycle training I’d want to be doing at this stage.
However, it would be churlish not to appreciate what I can do – it’s remarkable that I could do the pretty strenuous walking when it still hurts to get up out of a chair. Two of my friends on the trip are a Consultant Rheumatologist and a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon – both very talented and eminent in their fields – and neither is sure what I’ve done. Two of the others are Vets – they thought it best simply to put me out of everyone’s misery.
All in all, I can’t help but think that this getting old business is over-rated.