March 2024: “Getting older – the bad side and the good side!”

Mar 8, 2024 | Stuart's Patient Newsletter

“Getting older – the bad side and the good side!”

It’s Sunday morning, the dogs have been walked, so they are happy. I have just taken Maria ‘breakfast in bed,’ so she’s happy and I am sitting downstairs in the garden room with the sun streaming in through the window. There is definitely a mild spring warmth in the sun, so I should be happy, but I am not ………. I am very grumpy!

 What reason do I have for being grumpy?

Well – I should, as I write this, be running along by the banks of the river Seine in Paris – but, I am not!

It is a long story, going back many years.

Some of you will know that for my sins I do the occasional Triathlon and run 10km and half marathons. Latterly the running has taken a bit of a back seat and I have done more cycling – the physio says it’s better for you as you get older! – but back in the day I used to really enjoy running half marathons (13.1 miles), my favourite being Haweswater in the Lake District, which is always the first weekend in March. In fact, myself and six friends ran it for my 50th birthday and had a really great day.

Now the only problem with Haweswater in March is that you cannot predict the weather. I have run it in glorious Spring sunshine like today, but I have also run it when the driving sleety snow has been horizontal, and the organisers were worried about runners getting hypothermia.  Every time I have run it in the past Maria dutifully comes along to support with the dogs and to drive me home if I am too stiff afterwards!

So, one Saturday night last October I announced to Maria that I was going to enter Haweswater half marathon again.

There was a rolling of the eye’s moment – not an uncommon reaction by Maria, to some of my ideas! – before she said,

“Do you really think running a half marathon is really a good idea at your age?”  I protested that I had run lots in the past so it wouldn’t be a problem and I had five months to train, so it would be fine.

Her parting shot before she went to bed was, “If you are daft enough to run that far why can’t you pick a different one, where the dogs and I don’t get soaking wet standing in the freezing cold?” She had a point, sometimes the dogs refuse to get out of the car to ‘watch’!

Still thinking about a run, I whimsically entered ‘Half marathons / March 2024’ into Google to see what events appeared. Low and behold, as if by magic, ‘Paris Half Marathon’ popped up. Date – 3rd March 2024. Perfect I thought, that will meet with approval.

So, without consulting Maria I entered the event, booked the flights and the hotel. Full of enthusiasm, I ran upstairs to wake her up to tell her, but all she said was, “Could you have not just booked a weekend in Paris, in the Summer, without you running?”  I said it would be fine and a great way to celebrate my birthday. Her reply – “Yes dear, it will be lovely”

So, over the last 5 months I have gradually built up my training; cycling on my indoor bike and running on the treadmill in the garage, being very careful to not run on two consecutive days to protect my aging joints. Everything was going to plan, gradually lengthening my run distances, and doing the occasional run outdoors, all going well…. until last weekend!

Last Sunday was scheduled as a 9.5-mile run, outside, around our local country roads. I started off well, nice gentle pace, no problems with fitness and running with a steady comfortable heart rate. After about 4 miles I felt a slight tightening /stiffening of my left hip. Like a typical bloke I just ignored it and kept running, reassuring myself I would just ‘run it off’!

Needless to say, by the time I got home, after 90 minutes running ‘it’ hadn’t eased off and was a little sore to say the least. As I hobbled into the house Maria met me with the question “Are you OK? What have you done?” I reassured her that it was only a mild injury, and ‘it’ would be fine.

Monday morning was a different story. I had ‘some’ trouble getting out of bed and going downstairs was agony. Throughout the whole of last week, I hoped it would improve but unsurprisingly it didn’t – I was still adamant I would be fine to run in Paris!

Maria being the practical one in our marriage suggested I try a gentle jog on Thursday, to see how it felt. Great idea, if I can manage 2 or 3 miles, I convinced myself, then I would be fine. I managed all of 20 yards before I turned around and hobbled home. So, any misplaced dreams I had of managing to run 13.1 miles in Paris went out of the window.

We knocked the trip on the head, but I have promised Maria, I will take her to Paris in the Summer and not enter a run! However, I know for a fact that when the entries open for Paris half marathon next October……. I will be entering!

I think what made things worse is, I spoke to a friend who is a Physio last week, who’s comment was, “Well what do you expect at your age? Your body is getting older!”

So, whilst I may not like this getting older business from the physical point of view, there are some positives as Maria and I have recently become Grandparents!

Matt’s wife Miriam gave birth to twins a few weeks ago. They were a little premature so have spent several weeks in hospital, but I am pleased to say they are home now, and mother and babies are doing well. We’re not convinced Matt is, as he has had to buy a new car to fit everyone in!

So, we have a grandson called Noah and a granddaughter called Ava, who are now both growing at an alarmingly fast rate. When they were weighed last week, they were 7lb 8oz and 7lb 1 oz respectively.

We have been down to London to see them, and they are both gorgeous. Yes, I’m sure all grandparents say this about their grandchildren but, why wouldn’t you – gorgeous, the perk of getting older!

All being well they are coming up to see us in a few weeks time, although I suspect they may need a Pickford’s removal truck to get all their stuff here!

No doubt they will become regular features of these ramblings, a bit like the dogs!

It’s a Leap Year!

Last week saw February 29th in the calendar for the first time in 4 years. I love Leap years as we get an extra working day, but the staff are not convinced.

Is it just another working day or are they working an extra day in the year for which they are not getting paid?  – Legally it is just another working day.

However, we did come to a compromise – we all finished early on Thursday and went out for a meal.  If you are looking for a good Italian restaurant in Newcastle for lunch or an early evening meal, we can recommend ‘Liosis Italian Bistro’ which has opened in Saville Place across the road from us.

It is not a big bistro, so you will have to book, but the food was excellent and reasonably priced.

Unfortunately, the staff now think we should go every Thursday night, instead of working until 7pm – that is never going to happen! – but we will certainly be going back.

Last Thursday turned into a really busy day as we also saw a new frame Rep’ who brought in two new collections of frames, which we have never stocked before.

The first is a very fashionable collection called Kaleos and the second is Project Green, which as its name suggests is sustainable eyewear. Project Green frames are made from ‘bio- acetates’ which means they are carbon neutral and even their display lenses are compostable. Unlike many eco frames we have seen in the past; the frame quality is very good and they are all very stylish.

As part of their sustainability pledge, the manufacturers of Project Green frames plant a tree via the One Tree Planted foundation, for every frame they sell.

We are really excited about both these collections which we should have in the practice by the middle of this month. Both will add to the diverse range of frames we can now show you, when you need or want new spectacles.

Our contribution to eco sustainability.

Please don’t forget to bring your refillable lens spray bottles in when you are running low. We refill them free of charge and the solution is specifically formulated to help keep your lenses in good condition.

Also, for the last couple of years we have been supplying your new spectacles in our small jute bags, which we hope you will keep using again and again. Some people use them to store and carry their spectacles around in, others use them for lots of other things! In fact, last week one patient told me that she puts her husbands packed lunch in them!

Finally on the recyclable topic, please don’t forget if you have any old spectacles that you no longer need, if you bring them into the practice, we can send them away and they can be reused by a national charity in the developing world.

Well, I am off to try and book a physio appointment online for my aging hip, but don’t worry its only 365 days until the next Paris Half Marathon!

Hope you are well, and I look forward to seeing you soon.

Best wishes,