Paving paradise

When you’re young – and, for the purpose of this post let’s qualify that as being under twenty five – it’s easy to forget your mortality. Most people in this category (in the western world at least) are blessed with good health and supple joints, and find it relatively easy to exercise if they actually put their minds to it.

I was a late bloomer when it came to discovering the joy of regular exercise. It wasn’t until I reached the grand old age of 26 that I started to go to the gym frequently and took up running and triathlons. Fast forward five years and I like to think I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been. Or at least I would think that if it hadn’t been for my recent spate of injuries.

First I put my back out two days before Glastonbury-an affliction that was fortunately managed with the help of slow release Ibuprofen, heat patches and an osteopath treatment in the healing fields on the second day.

Then today came the one I’ve been dreading: my first running injury. I was six kilometres into an eight kilometre run when it happened-a sudden acute pain in the muscle at the back of my knee. I carried on running for a while, but when it became apparent the pain was not going away I was forced to walk the remaining two kilometres.

This was displeasing, and has completely burst my bubble of invincibility when it came to running. I am suddenly both physically and mentally pained by the realisation that my body isn’t as strong as it once was. I may be looking after it now, but when it was in prime condition I was systematically abusing it with crap food, fags and litres of Bacardi Breezer and Jagerbombs in the student union.

Wasn’t it Joni Mitchell who sang about not knowing what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot, apparently. Now I know how she feels.

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