Seven Times Fall, Eight Times Rise

Nanakorobi Yaoki

Seven times fall, eight times rise. My swollen knee with an ice pack on it.

Seven times fall, eight times rise. I live by it, even now. If I had stayed down every time I had a setback, it would have been a bleak life. I’ve always found a way to rise again. Some would call it stubbornness, but I think it’s existential. If you stay down, you allow events to control you; it’s a conscious decision. Sure, we can only control a percentage of things in our lives. But if you give up, then that percentage of controllable matters reduces significantly.

The image here shows an ice pack on my right knee after a three-mile run. It’s swollen, and I can’t straighten it. What are my choices now? I sit around for a few weeks with my feet up, putting weight on and losing fitness or taking some action. I’m going with the latter.

How many times can I write about injury and my comeback? Quite a few, it seems. I regard this injury as a subset of my April bike crash in Girona. My recovery from the accident is extended, due to having a plate put in my collarbone a month after the accident.

Only recently, I wrote about a chink in my armour, and here, another piece of the armour has dropped off.

That recovery period has seen my training load plummet; with it, I have lost muscle mass. Lose muscle mass and the joints are not supported as well, therefore tendons, ligaments, and bone surfaces take a hammering.

Stubborn Old Bugger?

I decline to give up. I will rise. Is this me being a stubborn old bugger? Not at all; it’s a rational choice. If I don’t work hard and train back to fitness, muscle mass decline will continue, and the various ailments will stack up. That’s not a cycle I want to enter. I want to stay in good shape for as long as I can, then have a short decline to the finish line.

As a sobering reminder, here’s a photo of me only ten weeks ago. I feature it here simply because my wife Mish posted a blog about roses in the city, which features me in the trauma ward in Girona with a Sant Jordi festival rose. That wasn’t long ago. It’s rational to say I’m still in the recovery phase.

Nanakorobi yaoki - seven times fall, eight times rise

On With My Big Boy Pants

I choose to come back and be as fit as I can be. This is a knee injury triggered by a loss of muscle mass and the underlying osteoarthritis kicking in. I know of pro athletes in their twenties and thirties who have osteoarthritis and are bone-on-bone. Sure, my age is a factor, but this issue can strike people a third of my age.

It’s time to get my big boy pants on. Seven times fall, eight times rise.

Let’s get this knee sorted out with some appropriate ice and rest, but not for too long. I want to get back in the gym as early as tomorrow. I must continue with my physiotherapy for my collarbone recovery. Do some mobility work and core work without aggravating my knee. I know from experience that slow, low-intensity cycling can help recovery by stimulating blood flow around the joint. So I will do all of that over the next few days.

Ben Patrick, The King Of Seven Times Fall, Eight Times Rise

The ATG Coaching techniques developed by Ben Patrick, aka @kneesovertoesguy will be core to my plan. I damaged a meniscus in my knee three years ago and used Ben’s online exercises to get back to total health and more. I found not only did the work take the musculature around my knees to optimum levels, but it also improved by overall flexibility.

As always, there are no shortcuts; the work must be done. And I will do the job, as I always do. Ben Patrick returned from serious knee issues, and I will do the same.

That’s my homework for the next three months. Watch this space. Seven times fall, eight times rise.

Fear Of ?

There’s a fear under all of this for me. Until May 2023, I was in excellent shape for my age. Then, a severe cycling accident. And this year, another. I chose to stop cycling because I didn’t want to put my wife, Mish, through any further stress. But that’s a big part of my fitness regime and social world gone. I have come to terms with that.

But now, with running as my primary cardio fitness source and a social outlet, I can see that being ruled out. I don’t generally fear ageing, but the past few weeks have troubled me. I fear my world shrinking. One by one, my interests will be wrested from me, and my world will become narrower and narrower. I remember as a kid, the old woman who lived next door to us would sit in a chair in the window, day after day after day. Her world had become so narrow that her only interest was the sparse street traffic in a one-horse town in Lancashire. Living death.

Not for me. Time to do the work. And I have to be sensible, but I can certainly return to a high fitness level. While my injuries were severe, when analysed, they were largely fractures. I didn’t suffer any significant joint problems or organ problems. A head injury didn’t give me any long-term severe issues. I can remain in better condition with a patient approach than most people my age. Seven times fall, eight times rise – and try not to keep falling.

I have a lot more to say about my life adjustments as I enter the fourth quarter, but I will address that in a subsequent blog.

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