Tuesday, 2 February 2021

How many epiphanies??? This is the last one, I promise.

 I'm a serial epiphanist. 

Seriously though... I've made a few changes, accepted some things, and applied some common sense. The first thing I need to share is, I no longer run, and triathlon is no longer part of my plan. Why? Well... arthritis, mainly. Specifically it's the gout that I want to avoid aggravating, as each flare-up creates further permanent joint damage, and it can move way beyond the initial painful joint. I'd rather not endure that.

I've spent some time and effort in controlling the gout with diet and lifestyle. I quit drinking over three years ago and that's been a huge benefit, but I also found that quitting sugar completely, in all its forms, has been a help. It's the main trigger for me, it seems, so whatever I can do to tell gout to go and fuck itself, I have done. 

I have read the opinions of some gout sufferers and they maintain that only a very, very small number of people can control it through diet; I would love to know how many of those people went to the lengths of cutting sugar out of their diet, though. 

I digress a little. 

This means I'm selling all my tri stuff. WonderBike is a great machine, but he's also wasted on me. I just don't have the road confidence, and it's not coming any time soon. Two collisions in the past have put the fear of god into me, and a fearful rider is just not a safe one.

It also means the three races I had planned for this year will no longer have me in them. One is scheduled for the first anniversary of my mum's death, July 4th, and I thought it would be a nice way to mark the occasion. I realise now though, there is no reason to associate the two things. I can just have an awesome day, chat with her, say thanks, and go about my life.

There have been a lot of changes in the past 12 months. I mean, the world lost its shit, my folks both died, I moved to a different house, and my kids now come to visit, it's all changed. Some of those things are definitely for the better. Some things just are.

I'll miss the freedom that running brought, even though I have barely been able to do it for the last several years thanks to muscle problems, then joint pain. But it's ok, because I did it. I did something that I chose to do simply because I wanted to do something that I didn't want to do. I wanted to do something that I knew I would find really, really difficult. I started running a few months after I quit smoking, so probably October or so 2003. I didn't light up any races, I didn't place, I didn't even enjoy many races. But I loved the training, and I managed to pass that love on to a bunch of other people, who all went on to do half marathons, something they had never dreamed they would do. I'm very, very proud of that, of them.

I'm still aiming to work out, when gyms re-open. And to swim. But to do it just for fun, and for strength and health. No deadlines, just the sheer pleasure of moving, of lifting heavy shit, of doing. 

I didn't want to walk the dog the other night, but when we were out I found myself smiling, in the woods, in the dark, alone because the dog was away chasing stuff. And I reminded myself, out loud: "When in doubt, move. Just move."


  1. That's interesting, because Tim used to have the occasional bout of gout. We eat almost no sugar - I don't think he ever ate much - though he drinks as much as ever. He hasn't had an attack of gout since moving in with me. That obviously isn't the solution for everyone, though he probably used to eat more snacks, of one sort or another.

    1. Alcohol is a factor for most because it combines two of the major factors for an attack: dehydration and sugar. I have heard people say it depends on the booze, read a guy the other day saying he always hydrates well but never drinks beer, only spirits. Beer is supposedly one of the bigger no-nos. But it seems everyone is basically different. I mean, red meat is supposedly also one of the biggest triggers, and I basically live on that.
      When the doctor was trying to advise me on diet, she said "No fizzy drinks! But eat lots of fruit and vegetables". I asked why, she looked confused. I explained that she said that about the drinks because of high fructose corn syrup, but fruit is obviously a source of dietary fructose. Not concentrated in the same way, but plenty able to cause damage. She didn't have an answer. Smartarse patients.