2pm at the RCJ gym, to meet Howard, the osteopath. He’s here every Tuesday, apparently, although I’ve never seen him before. Was recommended to me by the manager. “Hello, you’re John.” “Hello, you must be Howard.” “Yes.”

“Do you recognise me?”

The man in front of me is Howard G—- . I was at school with him. He is very different from how I remember him: balder, heavier, posher, and browner. So I start my appointment exchanging potted histories and pleasantries with a guy I haven’t seen in sixteen years. He was a broker who became an osteopath. I am a musician in the process of becoming a lawyer. Who fucking knew. Weird shit, anyway. This is part of what the Americans call the marathon ‘journey’, I suppose.

I lay out the problems with the knees as I lie on the table in a weird little windowless Gothic-arched room in the basement of the RCJ. Probably where they used to store the black caps, or something. I explain the problems: pain on the tip of the kneecap when running, discomfort walking down stairs normally. He gets to osteopathic examination, manipulating my legs with me face up and down, hearing the weird ‘click’ of my right knee. The click is a ligament moving. I always wondered. As with Lara’s torture session, I feel just wrong. I know I don’t have the build of a distance runner, but I never realised I might not have the other bits too. My patella is ‘mobile’. Great. He explains the structure of the knee with the help of a handy anatomy chart on the wall. The quadriceps are connected to the what? are connected to the patella are something something, now hear de word of de Lord. He is cheerily reassuring about my marathon prospects, though. Nothing really hurts much until he starts massaging the rectus femoris, which is the bit of your thigh immediately above your knee, one of the four quadriceps, that connects to the tendon going behind the kneecap. It feels like ‘bubble wrap’ according to Howard, and it screams when deep massaged. It’s not where the pain lies when running, but given how clearly everything is all connected down there, it may be the source of the problem. We chat a lot and he shows me yet more stretches, including one which works on the annoying bloody lower calf. Twenty-five quid well spent, I book in for next Tuesday. Knees feel pretty good already. My rectus femidom is tingling all day and evening. I hope this is a good sign. Feel slightly more positive. The boat is still listing, but she ain’t sunk.

I decide I need to read the psychological chapters of Non-Run again, and I stick it in the bag for tomorrow. Maybe it’s all in the mind.

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