I’m acutely aware that it has become my habit to use this blog as a kind of substitute mother figure for complaining about all my aches and pains. Probably fair enough, as I’m also aware of my real mother’s rather direct view of such things – it goes along the lines of ‘If you stop running long distances, you’re less likely to injure yourself’. And fair enough, but not necessarily what you want to hear when a good proportion of your life revolves around those very distances.
For those of you who are runners, you’ll know what this means. After a couple of days of not running, you get a little, well, ansty. To the extent that, as 60’s pop favourites Peter & Gordon would have it, the birds sing out of tune. A couple more days of this, and your otherwise gregarious and kindly nature turns a little sour. This is a good time to get some advance apologising in to your family. After a couple of weeks, you start to notice that all the runners that you see out and about (and there are far more than there were a week ago…), have cheery smiles on their faces. They’re also running faster than you’re ever likely to manage on your return…should this ever happen. Another week and you feel more Wagner than Cher, as I believe you young people might say.
So, I’m pleased to announce that the Emu is back and running. And the journey back has been an interesting one, which I’ll try to summarise for you.
Running hasn’t been quite right since I did my back in during the summer, and I started to have a problem in my left knee a month later. Unfortunately, this wasn’t a ‘bit of a dull ache that you could run through’ sort of a problem, it was more of a ‘sudden collapse of the left leg leaving you like a dropped puppet’ sort of an affair. It was, as they say round these parts, ‘rarely waird’ as it also managed to come with shooting nerve pains and elephantine-like swellings.
Talking this interesting phenomena through a couple of days later, a friend recommended a masseur who could iron out all sorts of muscular and nerve problems. So a couple of days later I found myself, not for the first time in my life, semi naked on a bench with a perfect stranger with unknown qualifications moving my back about.
An interesting approach to first impressions as well, as Mrs Emu arrived just as we’d got going, after her 12 hour shift a-nursing. Introduced Mrs E, and Mr Masseur announced that he had no time in his life for western medicine. Mrs E mentioned that she’d had to deal with a 12″ blood clot that afternoon. Mr M said that the way to resolve such ailments was to take a little cayenne pepper. So, having isolated 50% of the potential customers in the house, he went on to address the second half. As he dug about in the nether regions of my back, he came across an astonishing discovery, and I heard him whisper faintly…’aha, it’s trapped’. Fearing I’d misjudged him, and that he really did know what he was doing, I asked what he’d found. A trapped nerve, causing all my referred problems? Sadly no. Apparently he’d identified some trapped energy. And it all went a little downhill from there. Towards the end of the session, he was moving some nerves around in my feet, using the faux-science that I believe is called reflexology. I asked why the right foot was so much more painful than the left. Apparently it’s because the right foot represents the past, and the left one the future. To give the man some credit, he did at least have the grace to look a little embarrassed. Anyhow, after about an hour, he prescribed some magnesium crystals. I tried to bend my left leg and travelled at some speed towards the ceiling.
After a couple of weeks of rest, a visit to a knee specialist, an X-ray, an MRI scan, and a general sense of relief around having health insurance, I ended up on the bench of a fine physiotherapist who looked at my legs, tutted loudly about the muscle tone in my left thigh, and noted that my left leg was about half an inch longer than my right. ‘Funny’, I said, ‘I’d never noticed that’. ‘No’, he said. ‘It’s where you put your back out in August, and the pelvis hasn’t reset properly’. And so, with a bit of manipulation and a loud crack, my legs were restored to roughly the same length. And so I get back to running.
What does this tell us about life, the world and everything?
Well, as John Lydon once notably said: ‘Never trust a hippy’.
And as the Emu says: ‘The kneebone’s connected to the thighbone…’