Back problem, 2 jog-runs, and a beautiful book about failure

Mon 27 May – Sun 2 June 2019

Health and Efficiency

Back problems

pain from back problems

In my last blog I mentioned that after the weekend’s disappointing jog-run and follow-on gym session, my lower back was aching. Monday morning I woke up and couldn’t move. Trying to shift in bed or get out was agony. 🙁 I was staying over at Dave’s so he was a mixture of concerned and amused. The most comfortable position was being on all fours when I could eventually move – this worked because there was no pressure on my lower back.

Lower back

Eventually managed to get myself out of bed. Indeed, my back was at its best when I was standing and moving about – lying down and sitting definitely made it worse. My grand plan was the gym again on Mon morning but that was out of the window. 🙁 Instead I had a morning of gently walking around the local area which worked in relieving the discomfort and getting me mobile.

man being pummelled

Mon afternoon, fortuitously I had already booked a session with my mate training to be a professional masseur. He has actually taken his exam so he doesn’t need to practice now. Looks like my free massages are over. Pleased to say that my back was better by the end of Monday and improved day on day through the week.

Two jog-runs in one week

man jogging

I have been aiming to run more than one jog-run per week for ages. I had pencilled in Tues for a 5K but clearly that was in doubt with my bad back. However Monday as a day off from exercise, lots of walking, and a relieving massage meant that my back was not too bad on Tuesday morning. So I went ahead and did a 5K and I was very pleased that it was worth taking the risk. A time of a bit over 35 mins for 5.60 km (3 times around Green Park) with 5k being about 32 mins. I really want to jog-run 2 or 3 times per week: free exercise, relatively quick and I enjoy it. 🙂

Second jog-run of the week was my usual weekend 10K. Took place last Sunday and was a decent one despite the heat. Just over an hour and 5 mins which was about 2 and a half minutes better than the previous week. Big success was every one kilometre stretch under 7 mins. 🙂 Though my dodgy right knee was hurting a bit for the rest of the day. Sometimes I do feel my body is falling apart with old age. 🙁


dumbells in the gym

Two good gym sessions last week – Wed and Sat mornings. No gym on Mon because of my bad back. Both of these sessions were great. I love being back at the gym and spending an hour trying out different machines and exercises to focus on the body parts that I want to work on. 🙂


woman doing yoga

Fri morning it was back over to east London for my yoga session. All went well and we did some more exercises focusing on helping my lower back. I work really hard in my yoga sessions (it’s definitely not all ching, ching, ching) and boy do I sweat. One of the hardest thing is synchronising my breathing with the exercise but I’m getting there. I love the way yoga and other exercise is making me more aware of my body generally.


man weighing himself

And I think one of the effects of being more aware of my body is that it is helping me to lose weight. My gradual weight loss continues though it is quite slow rather than dramatic. I am finding good points where I can go through mini-starvations like skipping breakfast when I am exercising in the morning. 🙂

Details on my weight and jog-runs can be found here.

Books and Reading

‘The Salt Path’ by Raynor Winn

It’s unusual for me to read non-fiction, this book is an exception. The true story of an older couple who lose their home, become homeless, and then find out one of them is dying. They decide to walk the South West Path that follows the coastline of Somerset, Devon, Cornwall, and Dorset. They had very little money, are forced into ‘wild camping’, and are frequently hungry.

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It’s an incredibly sad but uplifting story. A couple who thought their future was secure and settled but find themselves in a nightmare scenario. It’s very easy to see this as some soaring anthem to freeing yourself of the burdens of modern life. But that is an easy view to take when you aren’t in that situation and have the panoply of normal living to fall back on.

For me, it did make me think of the transience of life. We need to prepare for death, it is inevitable. This life we live will not go on forever as it is. It’s also a book about the power of a relationship when two people love and support each other. And it’s a condemnation of current failings – crazy house prices, the rich getting richer, rampant consumerism, and the devaluation of people. Finally, there’s a lot about nature. I’m not into the countryside but I love it when we can incorporate nature into modern life.

‘White Houses’ by Amy Bloom

This is my latest book. It’s a lesbian love story based on the relationship between president’s wife Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok. Very good and I’m reading it for the Velvet Page book club on Thursday evening. 🙂

Mum on holiday

open top car trip

Thursday was a day without any major exercise me and Dave took my mum down to visit her friend who lives near Portsmouth. Dave picked us up in a Zipcar (a great example of the sharing economy) and off we went. Stopped for a coffee but still got there for lunchtime. I was in charge of directions and made one ‘small’ mistake.

This was a trip mum was supposed to make about 3 weeks previously but had to postpone due to a bad back. Although it’s probably her best mate, at her age she is slightly reluctant to change her routine. I made sure she rescheduled the visit and I’m pretty sure she is going to be glad that she went. We are off to pick her up again this week.

Personal Development

Some progress on language learning particularly through the use of the Drops app to learn Spanish vocabulary as I am walking about. Though that is when I am not reading my kindle as I move about. Also some coding practice. Both areas could be stronger. No art or cultural visits. 🙁 I am on top of emails which is good and very active on social media which I really enjoy especially the confrontational element of Twitter. 🙂

The Week Ahead

  • Two jog-runs planned. 5K on Wed once Trump has fucked off and there aren’t security restrictions in Green Park. Then 10K on Sun morning, the day after Trooping the Colour – again with security restrictions out of the way.
  • 2-3 gym sessions and a yoga session on Fri morning
  • Back to THT for a paid massage on Mon afternoon. This is a great subsidised cost service for people living with HIV.
  • Finishing ‘White Houses’ and attending Velvet Page on Thurs night. Will then get at least one more book read by next Sunday.
  • Me and Dave are driving down to collect mum on Thurs from her friends, if she wants to come back…
  • Gonna carry on pursuing my different forms of personal development
  • Must make sure there is some art and culture in my life

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