Right. That’s it. I’ve joined a gym and the French holiday weight is coming off. I need to lose it in time to put it back on at Christmas, and time is ticking. If you see me near a bag of crisps, shoot me.
It was a great retox holiday, but now it’s time for the detox. The final push I needed happened earlier this week. I got back from a three-mile run, and for the first time ever, I could feel my dodgy knee complaining as a direct result. It’s usually other things that set it off: too much gardening, kneeling, and most catastrophically, some years ago, climbing Helvellyn on what should have been a rest day after another long yomp.
Talk about tempting fate. Here’s how it happened: A friend and I had trudged up Helvellyn via the zig-zag pony track route, and on over the top, heading for Dollywaggon Pike. Only a few minutes after passing the summit I happened to comment: “I’m so lucky I’ve never had any problems with my knees.” And that was it. Moments later, agony. Weird.
A very long and painful walk back down Dollywagon and Grisedale that was, I can assure you. Grisedale is a jolly long trudge at the best of times, but with only one working knee it literally took hours.
These days my knee is, broadly speaking, behaving itself. But pounding the pavements in a somewhat overweight state does seem to be asking a lot of any knee, especially one that’s been bending and bumping and grinding for the best past of five decades. There must be only so much pounding a piece of cartilage can take before it rises up, or more to the point, wears down. And Arthur Itis is no fun to live with.
If my knee ever gets so bad that I can’t run, I’ll probably just implode into some kind of stress-fuelled black hole. There’s just something about running that nothing else achieves: rhythm, relaxation, hypnosis, hormones, endorphins? Whatever it is, I seem to need it. If I can’t run, I’m stuffed.
I want to be slimmer: I also want to eat all the bad stuff. Like so many other things in life, I simply have to decide which I want more.
So, it’s back to the gym for lots of lovely low-impact training until the weight has gone. This lunchtime, on my first visit, I went for a main course of cross-trainer, bike and rowing machine, with a bit of a swim and steam room for dessert.
Afternoon tea was an hour’s digging on the allotment, which I believe still exists somewhere under all those weeds.
The gym membership is on a two-week trial, so that gives me an excellent short-term focus. It also coincides with more time off work, which gives me plenty of opportunity to exercise, and fewer excuses for feeding my face all day.
Here’s hoping my colleagues won’t recognise the slender, svelte athlete who slinks into the office a couple of weeks from now…