It's the time of year when most sporty-folk in the northern hemisphere start to take things a little easier.
The 'off season' has rolled around. With it came the stark realisation that I haven't even had an 'on-season', and that hurts. It would be easy to give up.
I haven't moaned in writing (much) but this year has been dogged by long-term injury.
Specifically, my right knee, which suddenly started hurting on 9th September 2017, and my right shoulder which was damaged in February in a mountain bike fall. While attempting one of these daft challenges!
I have made lots of visit to FASIC, the Edinburgh University Sports Injury clinic, trips which have taken a whole day by public transport.
Most mornings now start with one hour in our gym area performing the exercises I've been set. These change every few months with each new visit.
My shoulder improved for our Montenegro swim trip, then relapsed. Now it's improving again and I hope to keep it on that trajectory.
|Short reminders of current knee exercises|
My knee is a different matter. I've given up running completely. I've had special orthotics built for my cycling shoes and another custom bike fit.
I'm seeing the podiatrist who helped my colleague Cameron McNeish and getting extra work from his physio. Four months into that treatment and my knee still hurts after walking the dog for two hours.
And yet I feel it's improving. Am I just kidding myself, clutching at straws?
For someone who partly defined himself by his ability in the mountains, losing the ability to hike longer distances is crushing.
Many other people go through much, much worse. I can walk, I can see, I can hear and I'm generally healthy. Stop moaning.
And generally I don't moan, but sometimes it's hard to push through. To keep doing the exercises, to believe it will all come right in the end.