Sunday thoughts

We all know what Sunday Thoughts are all about now, but before I get started I want to give a little shout-out to the vegan world, the running world, and to everyone else who is compassionate.

A fellow vegan athlete – a much better athlete than I, a much longer-term vegan than I, and a father – has been battling cancer for a little while, and is now recovering from surgery. His name is Scott Spitz, he blogs at Run Fast. Run Vegan., and he needs financial help to deal with the cost of cancer treatment. This morning Ben and I each purchased a Team Legs & Lungs t-shirt in order to make a $20 donation (for two t-shirts and international  shipping the total cost was equivalent to £30, which isn’t bad for two t-shirts even without considering the worthy cause – plus the t-shirt design is awesome!). There are other ways to donate, but if you do want to purchase a t-shirt, the last day for doing to is tomorrow, Monday 20th May. I’m not telling you what to think, feel, or do, but if anyone is interested, the options are there.

I would like to extend my best wishes to Scott and his family for his recovery.

New things I have learnt this week

  • This week I have been working on another therapy assignment – while I didn’t learn anything groundbreaking, I did gain some new knowledge (mainly because it’s things I haven’t thought about before) on the biomechanics of kicking a football, the muscles and ligaments of the lower limbs – in particular the knee – and a little bit about bursae and how they could be injured in mixed martial arts.
  • I’ve also been working on a guest post for another blog, on the topic of dairy-free protein supplementation, so I did a little bit of reading around the subject and found some interesting statistics on the prevalence of lactose intolerance – but I won’t say any more until my article is finished and published!
  • In more random facts, I learnt that Mangueira is considered Brazil’s most popular samba school, and that their school colours are pink and green, modelled on the mango tree – and that Brazilian mangoes are the ones with the pink “blush”.

New things I have eaten this week

  • After eyeing them up for months, I finally bought and tried a pack of Bear Nibbles Strawberry Yo-Yos. Again, I am a sucker for packaging so that helped, as did the fact that I got a chewy and surprisingly satifying sweet treat for just 50kcal, and each packet comes with a little fact card (though I got the cover card for the series so that was a bit disappointing, but I have plenty more packs in the snack drawer!). Really nice option for a treat – sure, not the most inventive of treats, but a nice change from plain old dried fruit. And yes I am aware they are aimed at people whose ages are in single digits.
  • Courtesy of this month’s UK Vegan Food Swap, I tried the Tropical Wholefoods Pineapple  & Cashew Nut bar. I was very impressed! Chewy yet tender, juicy and rich, wholesomely satisfying, this is a perfect snack on the go. I was so surprised by how juicy the pineapple flavour was! Looking forward to trying the mango version soon…
  • Ben made me what I think is my first “proper” milkshake since I have been vegan (having had various smoothies, and a couple of instances of flavoured non-dairy milk), as a Saturday night treat – soy milk, vanilla and strawberry ice cream from a tub of Neapolitan Swedish Glace, and fresh strawberries. He absolutely nailed the consistency, giving us thick shakes that were still drinkable rather than spoonable, and surprisingly the floral taste of the fresh strawberries still came through. Now all we need is a decent block of summery weather and downtime so we can drink these all the time!

Other highlights this week

  • I managed to package up and send my grandma her (surprise) photobook and holiday diary from my trip to Australia with Ben, so I was really pleased to send that off.
  • Putting together, and then receiving, Vegan Food Swap parcels is always fun, so that is a definite highlight this week.
  • Finding time to watch a couple of movies – Crazy Stupid Love and Blue Valentine – which has been such a nice bedtime routine.
  • I was put through my first competition-style sparring session on Tuesday, as most of the class were preparing for the British Open which has been on this weekend. I chose not to participate as my mind isn’t in the right place and there’s not much point competing if you’re not mentally prepared, but it was great to have this first experience of 1) fighting with everyone watching, 2) starting a fight from the standing position rather than on my knees and 3) really having to worry about earning points, and preventing your opponent from making any points. I got so nervous I felt sick waiting for my turn, despite knowing everyone in the class including my opponent, but as soon as we stood up and walked to the centre of the mats all of that vanished, which was a relief! Unfortunately I lost on points as I hesitated in the first crucial moments of the round and lost position, but I was really glad to have had this experience and it will definitely change the way I train and spar from now on.
  • In more training news, I managed to submit one of our fighters – now I’m not gloating here, she is lighter than me and out of practice, but I got her with a triangle which I’m not very good at catching and even worse at finishing. What I’m most proud of is that I set it up properly, waiting for the right moment, then adjusted really neatly and there we go! My coach was really really pleased to, which is a great feeling.
  • Lastly, I got up early with Ben on Saturday morning to attend his spinning class followed by his strength and conditioning class. I worked really hard in the spinning class and felt like I was made of jelly in the warm-up to the next class, but performed some good quality explosive work and felt really strong and fit. It was a great way to start the weekend!
  • In a tribute to the little things that count, I have been sleeping really, really well all week, and I’m sure this has something to do with how well everything has gone for me!

The weekend is far from over – I still have plenty of time to learn, eat, and experience, but I will have to leave it there for now as I am off to see The Postal Service in Brixton!

Hope you are all enjoying your weekends, and hopefully some pleasant mid-May weather, and are all set for a wonderful week ahead!