Food, friends and supraspinatus problems

22 Feb

I need to get back to being organised as I’m not blogging very consistently these days. To try to catch up, I thought I’d share a few photos that illustrate what I’ve been up to.

Stu and I went for a Valentine’s Date to a new coffee shop that has opened up. GL has a lovely range of home-made cakes (although they seemed a little pricy) and the decor was cute and quirky.

Valentine's date with Stu

Valentine’s date with Stu

I’ve also been trying to eat more healthily – sometimes it works, but I’m not winning often enough as I seem to be addicted to sugar at the moment.

Scrambled egg on toast with cheese

Scrambled egg on toast with cheese

Vegan chipotle chilli with ‪quinoa‬ and ‪amaranth‬

Vegan chipotle chilli with ‪quinoa‬ and ‪amaranth‬

I’d love to share a recipe for my vegan chipotle chilli with quinoa and amaranth, but it was mainly throwing in what I could find in my kitchen and hoping that it turned out OK! A very simple recipe that I made this week and can share with you is for a delicious, healthy, paleo, vegan chocolate mousse:

Avocado chocolate mousse

I’ve read several variants of this recipe that call for the addition of almond/coconut milk and something as a sweetener (agave nectar/dates/sugar/honey – yes, I know that’s not vegan), but I didn’t feel the need to make it sweeter.

Have you ever tried this dessert? What ingredients do you use?

As you may know, Stuart and I are fundraising for the Chestnut Appeal this year, via justgiving. The charity kindly sent us some running vests this week. Stuart wore his out for a training run, so I made him pose for a photo. I’ve also worn mine for a training run with some work colleagues, but I didn’t take a selfie… maybe next time!

Stuart in his Chestnut Appeal vest

Stuart in his Chestnut Appeal vest

Despite a hailstorm yesterday, spring finally seems to be on its way. Buds can be seen in gardens and I’ve left work in daylight a few times recently, which is fantastic. I’m looking forward to being able to go out for bike rides after work.  Another advantage of arriving home before it’s dark is that I get to see my neighbour’s pug. I have no idea what his or her name is, but they’re s/he’s adorable!

Neighbour's pug

Neighbour’s pug

There are also likely to be some big changes at work soon with some colleagues leaving and new staff being recruited. The first person to leave is my friend Kerry who is going to work in Australia. I’m so jealous of her! My colleague Anna and I took a quick selfie to bid farewell to Kerry.

Farewell to Kerry

I admire Kerry for being brave enough to change her life in such a dramatic way. A lot of people talk about how they want to change their situation, but never do anything about it.

On Monday, I went to swimming as usual and ended up being observed by not one, but two coaches for almost 45 minutes. Everyone else was carrying on with the planned swim set (I think it was 400m reps), whilst I swam up and down, 50m at a time, with fins on whilst being given a whole stream of adjustments to make. Coach Peter has been trying for over a year to make me a good swimmer and I think he’s starting to run out of ideas. He regularly tells me: ‘You’d be a good swimmer, if you didn’t have to breathe”… of course, the problem is that I do need to breathe. I try so hard to do exactly what I’m told, but I always seem to end up lifting my head out of the water. This week, Peter go Coach Jo to come over and observe me as well. Jo told me that I needed to lift my head higher in the water. This felt more comfortable, but very different as I’ve never tried swimming with my head in this position before. I’m hoping that it will create a bow wave so that I can breathe without choking. Peter also identified that there seems to be a timing problem with my breathing, but I’m not aware of it myself. It would make sense for me to be filmed soon so that I can see the problem – I find that this makes it easier for me to work out what I need to change.

At the very end of the session, Peter got me to stand against the wall with my arms stretched out against the wall (palms outwards) at shoulder height. I then bent my elbows at 90 degrees, so that my hands were at head height. I then had to rotate my arms at the elbow, until my palms touched the wall. I found this very difficult and told coach peter that I have tight shoulders. It turns out that was what he was looking for… I could have told him that a year ago! I now have to do exercises twice a day every day in the hope that increasing the range of movement in my shoulders will improve my swimming.

On Friday, I had a fantastic shoulder massage from my running friend Becky, which has helped to loosen up my shoulders a bit. Becky thinks the problem is probably located in the supraspinatus muscle – as it was gristly when she massaged it there, I reckon she’s right!

Saturday morning’s swimming session turned out to be a session that focussed on legs and kicking drills, so I didn’t really get to feel the benefit of Becky’s massage. Hopefully tomorrow, I’ll be able to see whether there has been any improvement!

If anyone can recommend any shoulder exercises that will benefit me as a swimmer, I’d love to hear them 🙂

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