I went to see my Doctor early this year with a painful knee.
"Difficult customer, Johnny Knee", he said after a cursory investigation. "There's no middle way - it's either pills or replacement". He carefully wrote the words "paracetamol" and "glucosamine" on a piece of paper and passed it to me as I limped away.
A few weeks later I decided I'd like a second opinion and went back to see a different Doctor who sent me off for X-Rays. When I returned last week for the results he said the good news was that my knee was showing signs of arthritis but not particularly desperate. However, it transpired that my hips had severe arthritis and I'm ready for a hip replacement operation. I didn't quite catch the technical words he used but it was something like "fatally tucked".
It appears my years of Marathon Running have come home to roost. I was never described in running circles as a "whippet" but was a "heavier built" runner which obviously placed much greater strain on the old joints.
Would I have avoided the jogging if I'd known the damage it would do? I don't think so. I took up running in my forties during difficult times and it gave me a terrific sense of self confidence when I really needed it. The feeling of powering back home on a warm Summer evening after 5 miles out into the woods in a PB of 36 minutes was priceless, as was the time I sprinted past Olympian Sir Steve Redgrave on Tower Bridge in the London Marathon. I was Alf Tupper, the tough of the track.