Got My Mojo Workin’

I know it might seem like I’m indestructible at times, but that absolutely isn’t the case. For what does seem like the first time in a long, long while, I’ve spent much of this week realising just how fragile I am, and how getting this far was as much down to perseverance as it was to do with strength.

The bottom line is that after eight weeks (out), I’m still injured. But because Jane is now a qualified masseur (Swedish but now studying Sports), I’m able to get expert help on stuff, and for free. Free is good. What I should have done, and it’s my own silly fault for not doing so, was started ultrasound as soon as I knew I had a problem. I’ve had a mobile ultrasound kit for the best part of twenty years. My problem was… I couldn’t find it. I looked in all the regular places where I hide stuff and it wasn’t there, so I adopted that laid back approach where it’ll turn up when I least expect so long as I stopped looking. So I did. But I still couldnae find it.

But on Tuesday night, while Jane was working her magic, I was kinda getting ready to go through the roof every time she got close to the middle of my quad, and it was clear that the hunt was now back on. Urgent.

I found it. I checked all the normal places again, just to be certain that I hadn’t gone mad, and indeed I hadn’t. It was tucked behind the bed settee in the study that doubles up as my office. Fortunately, the gel was there too but as I hadn’t found any more bottles while I was searching, more supplies are now on the way.

Seven weeks out at the start of this week, I was mentally in a low place. Fraud springs immediately to mind. When you’ve been smashing your body for an average of 210 miles a week for three years straight, 150 smacks you right between the eyes as not giving your best. But this has not been an easy year and in some respects just getting out the door has been a minor victory. In hindsight, I think getting injured just piled misery on being made redundant earlier in the year. At the very time that I had the golden maximum opportunity to pile the hours into my new role designing software to hunt down disease, I could hack the extra hours. It was like I was filling in the non-bike hours with wasted time.

In all truth, I hated it.

I needed something to kick me in the arse, something to make appreciate what I can still do to keep this show on the road. I’m proud of LCFN but somehow, it feels like it’s in transition, waiting for the next big thing to kick off.

Maybe tomorrow will provide the inspiration…

I’m writing this blog on a southbound train, the so-called Stella Express. Destination tonight is a bed at my brother’s gaff in Cheshire, but the real gig is tomorrow in Nottingham, at Meadow Lane to be precise (and a few pubs leading up to that).

JJ is a big deal for me. JJ is one of THE best things that ever happened after I got on my bike in 2013. There have been some big players outside of the family, and JJ is right up there. Wullie’s another at TCN. JJ hosts a radio show in Adelaide that plays British music of the past fifty years: the self styled British Beat. For the past two years, ever since another of my stalwarts, Angela, took the Vanessa flag out to Australia, JJ has been plugging the LCFN story. It’s basically because of JJ that LCFN has about a hundred followers down under. And it was most certainly because of JJ that Amelie and Ben recorded Puddles for wee Eileidh.

I owe him so much. This journey would have looked so different without Julian Jarrett on it. Chapeau, sir.

So: injured. Still. Jane’s been doing a 6am boot camp for the past few weeks and my dream kickback into live action is to head out at the same time, just like in the old days. Yeah, I know lunchtime’s warmer and you can see stuff, but LCFN has never been about doing what’s easy. If it’s worth doing, then it’s worth doing cos it’s so feckin’ difficult. 6am in the winter is difficult. But 6am can’t happen this side of full fitness: it’s a breakdown waiting to happen.

On Monday, I went out: 22 miles and helluva steady.

Tuesday: another 22, albeit on a different route. Cue a rule of the modern era: yer cannae do the same route two days running. It’s like that to keep things fresh, so you can have favourites and have things to look forward to. And to play the weather game when it’s shit.

Wednesday was 23, and the first day after ultrasound. Not bad. Surprisingly pleasing in fact. But sore after: more ultra.

Thursday (yesterday) was an ‘as flat as I can make it’ 26. Almost like the old days in fact, except for the nagging ache up the front of my thigh. Ultra.

Today was an early kick off in recognition of being on this train. An early start all round in fact: working at 6am. I headed out the door at 11am and thought “wow, this is cold”. I reprogrammed the Garmin to show the temperature and at midday it was below zero: and my favoured country roads were all iced up. November and it’s sub zero at lunchtime. Where the hell did that come from? The crash I had on black ice back in February has left its mark, not only on my thumb (not yet fully recovered) but on my confidence in those conditions: I ditched plan A and made up a plan B on the hoof. Seven miles were essential because I wanted to end Friday in three figures, and I added an extra week loop before securing the relative safety of a main road (gritted). Job done: result: 107. That used to be the bus number of the Midland Red from Sutton Parade to New Oscott when I was a kid.

So what now?

Well there’s something brewing in Italy with the flag (the other one, the one that’s not Vanessa). Word filtered back yesterday that developments are at the creative stage. I have high hopes of this, for no other reason than the person holding the fort at the other end is a genius, albeit a young one. I’m giving nothing away, except to say “watch this space”. Creativity is a wonderful thing. The flag went to Italy for a reason.

I can’t finish this week without going back to the Glasgow NE foodbank that Joe n I have been helping out at. You get so used to be at the mercy of the corporate culture that it’s just fantastic to turn up off the street and give a couple of hours back to society. Last Saturday we were helping to sort the stuff that had been donated the previous week at Celtic Park. Taking bags of random stuff from the container, the immediate task was to split each bag three ways: meat/beans/pasta in one box, toiletries in another, everything else in a third. Then once that was complete, with boxes n boxes full of stuff, the tins need to be sorted in date order in different boxes. You would not believe how long it takes to seek out the end date on every single tin: then file them in the right box. The team did gud. About ten of us managed to shift over half a ton of stuff and there’s real hope now that we might get the whole lot sorted by Christmas. Last year it took till February. I was thinking of asking Jane if she’s take Joe along for tomorrow’s session but there’s a funeral on in the church at 10am. That’ll be a no go then, and everything moves back a week.

There is nothing to beat giving something back to society. Last Saturday night, some of my Celtic minded mates did a sleepout at Celtic Park to raise money for the Celtic Foundation, which in turn supports The Invisibles, the charity that supports the homeless. Together, those fifty or so cold souls raised sixty five grand, money that will likely make the difference between life and death this winter.

Life and death. It’s like we’ve come full circle.

I ain’t for giving up anytime soon…

Yeah, I may still be struggling, but I’ve got my Mojo back!

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