May 2022 : Men Don’t Grow Old!

Jun 1, 2022 | Stuart's Patient Newsletter

Men Don’t Grow Old!

Maria my good lady wife said to me last night, “Why don’t men accept that they get older”? “Of course, we do” I responded. “No, you don’t” she said “Just look at you, you expect to swim, cycle and run just as quickly, as you did when you were in your 20’s”!

This comment was based on the fact that yesterday morning I did my first Triathlon in about …. 10 years.

I was very excited to compete once again after such a long period, and for those of you who are not sports addicts a Triathlon consists of swimming, cycling and running, all nonstop, one discipline after the other, in one event.

Yesterday’s event was based at Druridge Bay Country Park, and was an ‘Olympic distance’; 1500m swim, a 40km cycle and then a 10km run (that’s a 0.93-mile swim, 25-mile cycle and 6.2-mile run, for those of us still working in Imperial). The swim was in the Country Park Lake not the sea – thank goodness and the run and cycle were around the same park and local roads.

On Saturday night I had to pack the car with all my kit; bike, wetsuit etc, etc but the first challenge was to check that the wetsuit still fit.

My beloved wetsuit is over 20 years old and my body shape is not quite the same as it was 20 years ago! Anyway, with a little huffing and puffing and a lot of breathing in I managed to squeeze into it and more importantly zip it up! I was chuffed to bits and to be fair Maria didn’t laugh too much at the sight of me trying to get my arms above my head – which becomes very helpful if you are trying to swim front crawl!

So pleased was I with myself that I said to her, “I think I can go faster than I did 10 years ago”, she smiled sweetly and simply said “We will see”.

Sunday morning was lovely and sunny at 5.00am when the alarm went off. I said ‘bye to Maria as she rolled back over for more sleep and I drove off up to Druridge Bay.

When I arrived the car park was already busy with competitors who looked much fitter and an awful lot younger than me, but I duly started getting ready to race; I racked my bike, set my running stuff out and manipulated myself into my wetsuit.

Before I knew it, we were in the water and the gun went off for the start.

Now being a fairly week swimmer I sensibly stayed near the back.

For anybody who has never swam in open water it can be a very liberating experience. You are in a beautiful natural environment with little noise and the water this day was lovely and clear with only a small amount of weed – I have done triathlons in the past where it has been so weedy, I have come out of the water looking like a swamp monster from a very bad 1930’s B movie.

However, one downside of open water swimming is there is no black line to follow as you have on the bottom of a swimming pool. This is not a problem if you are a balanced swimmer with a good stroke. Unfortunately, I have one arm stronger than the other so unless I am very careful, I can go round in circles like a child’s broken toy.

31 minutes and 45 seconds later – every second counts! – I stumble out of the lake fairly pleased with my time for a ‘Super Vet’ – over 50’s is classed as ‘Super Veterans’, over 60’s is classed as ‘Vintage’!!

I eventually manage to extract myself from my wetsuit, having forgotten how hard it is when you have numb fingers and cramp in your calves to run and ‘un-zip’ at the same time! Anyway, next comes the bike leg.

The roads thankfully, around Druridge Bay are flat and at that time of the morning there is virtually no traffic. I was flying, feeling really good, really enjoying the ride. I kept checking my heart rate monitor which was just in the ‘red zone’, meaning I was pedalling a bit too hard but as I felt so good, I ignored it.

75 minutes later I was off my bike and pulling on my running shoes. I was really pleased as the bike leg was one of the fastest, I have ever done – every minute counts!!  – and onto the run section…

Now the run is usually my best section, but this was not the case this time. As I set off my brain said “let’s go” and the legs said… “absolutely no way”!

I had gone far too hard on the bike and had no energy left for the run. It took me an age to ‘jog’ around the lake. In fact, I probably walk the dogs quicker on a morning before work.

Four laps later I eventually ‘run’ through the finish line. Not last, I am pleased to say, but not in any danger of being near the top of the results board.

I collect all my gear and stagger back to the car, relieved for a sit down. However, the real problem came 45 minutes later when I came to get out of the car at home, as it looked like rigour mortis had set in!

Maria is pleased to see me still alive, but has a smile on her face when she watches me try and walk up the steps into the house.

Over a cup of tea, whilst I am retelling my grand exploits, she started to shake her head. “Why are you so surprised your legs didn’t want to run” she says, “you are not 21 anymore, so you should expect this at your age”!!!

The problem I have, as I think a lot of men have, is that inside I don’t feel 58. I still only feel 21. The body just doesn’t agree!!

So, I will walk like John Wayne for a few days until the stiffness has gone, then I will convince myself I will do better next time and enter another race – Perhaps I will eventually accept I am getting old when I hit the “Vintage” category.

Stuart on bike training ride

Thanks for the concern shown by everyone I have seen since the last newsletter. Many of you asked how the dogs and I survived when Maria was away? The answer is we were fine – no major incidents (that we are owning up to) and we all had sausage egg and chips!

Staff update: Every six months or so we have an all-day staff meeting to discuss how we can improve they experience of patients when they visit the practice. Last month we decided to have a First Aid training day. This was excellent not only from the staff bonding point of view but also in that we are now all qualified ‘First Aiders’.

Now I really, really hope that nobody has a heart attack or stroke or any type of medical incident when they visit the practice – the last one was over 20 years ago! – but rest assured we are now in a better position to try and help you. However, you may be swamped with staff members wanting to try out their new skills!

First Aid training day

New Collections:

I am pleased to say we have just taken delivery of two new frame collections from one of our most popular frame manufacturers.

The first is Volte Face, which are a very stylish French collection for ladies.

These frames are very fashionable with strong shapes and lovely colours and are especially comfortable to wear.

Volte Face frames

The second new collection, is a gent’s collection from Holland called De Stijl. These are very well-designed frames, with a leaning towards geometric shapes and refined colours. They are very smart but also fashionable.

If you would like any more information or you would like to view either collection, please simply call the practice for an appointment.

Covid Update: A quick update on the COVID situation as it pertains to us.

The new rules state that as a health care setting all our staff must continue to wear masks when seeing patients.

From your point of view the rules have changed too: it is no longer mandatory for you to wear masks when visiting the practice, but it is highly recommended that you do so for your own protection. If you arrive at the practice without a mask, we are more than happy to provide one for you.

We are continuing to try and see everyone by appointment only, to ensure that the practice is never over crowded.

We are very grateful for your continued help with this.

The Dispensing Opticians have asked me to remind everyone that we still have the facility to spread the cost of your new spectacles over six months interest free, if it helps in these inflationary times. Please don’t feel afraid to ask, we are happy to help.

And finally…. if you are into social media, we are trying to keep everyone even more up to date by putting more practice information onto Facebook. So, if you fancy following us, then we would be delighted to have you aboard.

Well, I am about to try and climb the stairs again, so wish me luck!

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

Best wishes,