Thursday, 23 February 2012


I've had what I think is Plantar Fasciitis since Christmas.  This is an inflammation of where the large muscles underneath the foot join the heel bone.  It's very painful but it's a weird sort of pain because it only hurts when you first start walking on the bad foot after not walking on it for a while, and then it wears off. For example, first thing in the morning, when you get out of bed.  Or if you've been sitting around for a while with your feet up and then get up to go and do something.  The pain of your heel striking the floor - and any pressure being put on it - makes you limp, sometimes severely.  But, like I said, it wears off after a few minutes.

There isn't a great deal of treatment you can do other than rest it up.  For more severe cases one can, apparently, have a cortisone injection straight into the site.  I'm not doing that.  Ever.  But what I have had to do is not run on it.  At all.  So the last run I did just before Christmas - 22 December to be exact - when I topped running 50 miles in 2011 - was the last time I went out.  It was just too painful.  Sometimes it was almost more than I could do to just walk to the kitchen to put the kettle on.

The odd thing is that it does get better, it just takes a bloody long time.  I've had it once before, several years ago, but I can't remember now what caused it.  I'm suspecting it might have been when TLH and I were going to the gym and I'd been using the treadmill a fair bit, but I dunno.  I really can't remember.  I do remember that it took months to go away.  So when it turned up again this time, I recognised what it was and realised I was in for a long road to recovery.

But, over the last weekend just gone, there was much improvement.  Barely any wincing at all.  So yesterday I decided to take the plunge and go for a gentle run.  Not that any of my runs are anything other than gentle, of course, there's no way you could mistake me for Jessica Ennis, even on a good day and with the sun in  your eyes.

Strangely - and I never thought I'd say this - but I've actually been missing going for a run.  I also like running in the cold so the frosty, sunny mornings we've had this winter have found me yearning to be able to pull on my Mizunos and go for a quick trot.  Plus not doing any exercise at all over the last two months - but still filling my face with yummy, yummy food - had not done me any favours at all on the weighing scales or, I suspect, in the blood pressure department (which, if you recall, is the reason I started running in the first place), and the spectre of statins is now constantly over my head.

So, yesterday morning, I went for a run.  A very, very slow run.  More of a shamble, really.  Interspersed with a lot of walking.  And it was fine!  I use the Couch-to-5k (or 'Ease into 5k' as it's been rechristened) iPhone app, which always runs for exactly the same length of time for each week.  So week 1 is 33 minutes, week 2 is a bit longer and so on.  I usually manage to cover just under 2 miles for the week 1 setting, but yesterday I did 1.5 miles.  I really didn't want to upset my foot any more than was necessary, but I still ended up sweaty and red-faced so managed to get a reasonable workout.  I just had to wait to see what would happen the next morning and if I'd crippled myself.

But - hooray!  Foot is fine this morning.  There's some residual discomfort but it's nowhere near as bad as it has been so I think I'm probably going to live.

And, to celebrate, I've just registered for my first 'proper' run.  It's a fun run, really, 4 kilometres around Clandon Park (which is near me).  There's a longer, 10 km, run at the same time but I'm not going to push my luck.  2 miles translates into about 3.20 km (or going the other way, 4 km equals 2.5 miles) so it's not really a great deal further than the distance I already cover.  But it gives me something to actually work towards.

Blimey, I'm starting to take all this a bit seriously, aren't I......?

Friday, 17 February 2012

Boobs successfully squished!

See this?


This is a cream-filled coffee choux bun and is my reward for undergoing my first ever mammogram.

I was a little horrified a few weeks ago when I got the letter in the post 'inviting' me to come along for one.  It just underlines that I'm not getting any younger.  Weirdly, my mother had asked me only a month or so before if I'd had a letter yet but I scoffed at her.  'I'm only 48', I said, 'they only ask you once you hit 50, and I'm not 50 for AGES yet....'.  Then the letter arrived.  I'm so old.

I know what's involved, they stick your bosoms into a machine and squish them flat, but I had no real idea as to what it was actually like to have this done.  So I asked around.  My sister-in-law said it was excruciatingly painful.  This was not good.  I began to have The Fear.

I asked the women in my favourite message board on Ravelry and the general consensus was that while it can be painful for some people, for the majority it's more uncomfortable.  The discomfort also seems to be connected to where in your cycle you are, and the size of your boobs in general.   Smaller boobs = more pain.  This was more heartening since my matronly boob shelf is cumbersome and about as far from perky as you can imagine.  It has never done me any good and gets in the way.  Clothes don't fit me properly because I'm top-heavy.  I have to wear the most industrial sports bra on the planet in order to reduce the likelihood of giving myself black eyes when I go running. Of the blokes I've dated over the years, absolutely none of them have been boob-oriented, and, of course, I can't have kids so, all in all, they've been a bit of a waste on me.

I decided not to worry too much about it but take some painkillers an hour or so before 'just in case'.  The Ravelry gals also suggested that I should treat myself to something afterwards.  It being a fibre-related messageboard, a trip to the nearest wool shop was the top choice.  But I pointed out that my nearest wool shop was 15 mins drive away, but delicious, delicious cream cakes would be in walking distance.

My appointment was for 2pm this afternoon in a mobile unit, parked in the car park of my nearest Sainsburys.  A very fancy mobile unit, it turns out.  All wood panelling, carpet, piped music and friendly staff.  What happens next is that you go into the little room with the machine and stand there topless. A kindly lady with (hopefully) warm hands flops each of your boobs, one at a time, onto a 'plate' (for want of a better word) and then she lowers a clear plastic panel onto it, flattening it as much as is just about comfortable for a few seconds while she takes an x-ray.

 Each boob gets squished horizontally and then vertically, a total of 4 x-rays being taken.  The vertical one was a bit more uncomfortable than the horizontal one but, as the nurse said, less painful than end-stage breast cancer, so it's a small price to pay really.  All finished and done in 10 mins.  I get the results in 2 weeks - I'm hopeful that they'll be fine as, for all my whinging about The Girls, they've never given me any medical problems at all.

And with that, I trotted across the carpark to Sainsburys and headed straight to the cake department and brought home that bun at the top of the page which I've just forced into my gaping maw.

Cake - mmmmmmmmmmmm.....

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Ta-da post - knitted twirly scarf

*taps screen* Is this thing on?  Anyone still out there?  It appears to have been getting on for 3 weeks since I last posted.

I'm so lazy about doing this.  And it's not as if absolutely nothing is happening in my life, well, I mean there's nothing drastic going on, just life bimbling along at its inexorable pace.  But if I put my mind to it, I could work up a post or two about it but, you know, I have a lazy streak about this sort of thing a mile wide and I also seriously don't think my life is all that interesting.  I count it an achievement to get up and get dressed in the morning.  If I was then working on a cure for cancer or building my own home in a field by some woods with a river running through it or even just caring for my own kids - that would be something.  But I don't do any of that.

So what AM I doing at the moment?  I'll tell you what I'm doing, I'm KNITTING, that's what!  After finishing the cowl that I mentioned in my last post, I decided to move onto another simple pattern, if I could find something I liked.  I rather fancied having a go at some legwarmers.  Don't laugh.  I used to wear them in the 80s when leggings were first fashionable.  But the 'simple' pattern I chose turned out to be one knitted in the round and it defeated me.  Further searching on Ravelry took me to an incredibly simple pattern for a knitted twirly scarf (the pattern calls it a 'potato chip scarf' which is a name I don't care for), quite similar to the one I crocheted last year.  I know I said I didn't want to make another scarf because I've got hundreds of the damn things but then I realised that I could give the scarf as a present!  Genius!

I went rummaging in my stash and grabbed one of the balls of Stylecraft Life DK yarn in Fern Green.  I've got 2 or 3 of these left over from when I was crocheting stuff last year.  It's a mixture of wool and acrylic, and is quite nice to work with.  The Fern Green is one of my favourite colours and, I've found out, also a favourite of my eldest niece so guess who's getting this scarf for Christmas this year?! (She doesn't read my blog so she won't know about this - hopefully!)

This took one 100gm ball of yarn and I just started knitting and stopped when the ball ended.  I've no idea how long it is but the length was fine on me so should be ok on a lanky 15 year old.

It was also long enough for an elderly cat but it gave him The Fear, as you can probably tell.

The jug of daffodils didn't seem to mind as much.

It took me 12 days in total but that was only knitting for about an hour or two each evening in front of the telly.  Unfortunately I'm not competent enough yet to be able to knit without looking so the latest Danish TV serial 'Borgen' is currently going unwatched because I can't knit and read subtitles at the same time!

Of course, I then realised that my eldest niece has a younger sister and it wouldn't really be fair to make a scarf for one and not the other.  My second-eldest niece is much more girly than her elder sister and she loves pinks and purples.  I chose to make the second scarf from Stylecraft Special Double Knit in Violet.  This yarn is 100% acrylic which means it slips off the needles really easily.  It's also a kind of acrylic that is amazingly soft - there are some acrylic yarns that are very cheap and nasty, and so rough you could use them as an exfoliant, but Stylecraft Special DK is just lovely.  It's also inexpensive and comes in some gorgeous colours - I've used it quite a lot and will again.

This is as far as I'd got (i.e., just started) as at 3 February - it's much further along now, but you get an idea of the colour.  I'll post photos when it's finished.

I'm enjoying this simple-pimple knitting very much, and this pattern is incredibly easy.  If you want to have a go at it yourself, then you can find a tutorial with pictures for it here.  The pattern is free.