Monday, 28 April 2014

My website

....has still not been updated.... 

I am not the most IT minded of people and I am being very slow in passing on the website content to the person who is going to update it. I will make a supreme effort to remedy this before the end of 2014.

The changes will prioritise my role as a Clinical Sport and Remedial Soft Tissue Therapist. I am a qualified Medical Herbalist but now see this as an adjunct to my massage work - whereas a decade ago it was the other way round. This change reflects the professional training I have been doing and also the path my work has taken me along. I was a massage therapist before I became a medical herbalist, but I was always interested in herbs. Now I have gone back to calling myself a Massage Therapist but this time I have the herbal knowledge too, as well as the far deeper understanding of anatomy and physiology that a BSc honours degree provides. It has been a wonderful journey so far, and there is still so much more to learn!

A beautiful day in late spring....

My favourite time of year - well, one of them :-)

The bluebells are out early this year in the local woods, along with the wood sorrel, lesser celandine, wood anemones and wood spurge, whilst the ramsons, garlic mustard, wood forget-me-nots and fool's parsley are gracing the sides of the footpath. The aroma is marvellous! Seen from a distance, the woodland is becoming a patchwork of new green leaves and blossom; I love the stained glass brightness of the early beech leaves following on from the golden waterfall of hazel catkins against the backdrop of dark green holly and the greys and browns of the tree bark. The temperature is perfect for running and the mud dries up quickly once it's stopped raining; even the rock has been drying out nicely for the local gritstone climbers!

For the foragers amongst you, this is now well into the green tonic season when traditionally people would have been seeking to boost their vitamin C levels after the scarcity of winter months. Young nettles used in tea, soups and stews (the sting is destroyed by heat); cleavers steeped overnight in drinking water then strained and the liquid consumed cold; young hawthorn and linden blossom leaves; garlic mustard, dandelion leaves, rocket, chickweed, fat hen, wild garlic (ramson) leaves and flowers and calendula (pot marigold) flowers in salads or broths. Always take a high quality plant identification book with you, and don't consume a plant if you are in any doubt about what you have picked.... Especially if it is an umberliferae, amongst whose numbers hemlock is to be found! I have been bringing back wild garlic leaves which are delicious in stir fries or wrapped around salmon or chicken pieces before baking them. I like them raw in salads too, although the garlic taste is a little overwhelming for some.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Running goals!

My running goal at present is to extend my distance without objections from my achilles tendons. These have been grumbling over the last year, and after much thought I believe there are at least three factors involved:
- changing to running over steeper terrain but keeping the same distance
-  only climbing once or twice in the last two years.
-  too much knitting!

The first most likely stressed my Achilles tendons; the second and third have probably led to a gradual loss of strength in my calves (not enough standing on my toes!) and hip muscles, and a decrease in my flexibility.

I have therefore introduced heel raises and eccentic stretches into the daily dog walks, often balancing on tree routes to increase the challenge. I also do one leg balances and squats whilst cleaning my teeth and waiting for the kettle to boil, and try to remember to do side lying leg raises whilst listening to the radio.  I have yet to combine any of these with knitting, but am being more disciplined with regard to my daily stretches and have decided to resume climbing. I am also allowing two rest days between runs to ensure there is no delayed onset tendon aching; if there is, I rest another day. I am being extremely cautious as tendons are notoriously slow to heal and I want to avoid permanent degenerative damage as much as is possible.

I do hope all these strategies work, as I have entered the 2014 Nine Edges Race, Saturday September 13th. Whilst I have opted for the walkers category I, like many other 'walkers', am hoping to run a fair amount of it (the race is over 20 miles long, and the fastest walker last year finished in around 4 hours!) It's a wonderful course taking in the best views along the gritstone edges from Derwent to Birchen via Stanage, Burbage, Froggatt, Curbar and Baslow and raises money for the Edale Mountain Rescue.