Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Athletics Training

I often blog on here about my athletics competitions, but I never really talk about my day to day training. Set Your Sights asked me to blog about how I train as a visually impaired athlete. If you’re interested in how I do it, then you can view the article here.



Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Abnormally Funny People

There is a fairly new podcast on the scene called ‘Abnormally Funny People’. If comedy and disability is your thing, then this is for you. Each episode is presented by two comedians, one disabled and the other not. They interview two guests at a time who have a disability. Sometimes they are comedians, but at times they are just interesting people. There are a mixture of serious and light hearted topics all guaranteed to include a dollop of humour. The podcast embraces difference and is definitely worth a listen. Catch it here: Abnormally Funny People Podcast



Sunday, 11 January 2015

Year Review

2014
At the start of 2014, I declared it would be ‘the year of opportunity’. How right was I! It all started in January, when British Athletics invited me to compete in the Glasgow International Match, I then got asked to train with the GB Women’s Goalball Team and I also reserved my first house. The highlight of the year without a doubt has to be the Commonwealth Games. Finally, I was given the opportunity to represent my country, the years of chasing a dream became a reality. A massive thank you to England Athletics for giving me a chance. I had already decided I would quit athletics if I didn’t make a major championship in 2014. It was coming to the point where I couldn’t deal with the constant failure. It’s an enormous relief that I don’t have to hang my spikes up just yet.

The biggest disappointment of the year was not being selected for the European Championships that took place shortly after the Commonwealths. It was difficult to watch people run slower than me and for there to be no British T11 representation. However, I didn’t prove myself enough this year since I didn’t manage to run a PB.

Another major upset was failing to secure a place on Teacher Training. Despite obtaining a First in English Language and Literature in 2013, there was a severe shortage of English places meaning no teaching for me. Nevertheless, I absolutely loved the work experience I did in schools and had the chance to teach a Year 9 English lesson, which was nerve racking, but so rewarding.

After the Commonwealths I began job hunting once more, something I hadn’t done since before my degree and had a torrid time when I did. Apparently, the job market hasn’t improved. I have applied for countless jobs and only secured two interviews, which obviously led nowhere. It’s so frustrating to apply for positions you are completely over qualified for and not even be acknowledged.

On a more positive note, I have visited so many places independently this year with Calvin, my other half who is also totally blind and my trusty Trekker Breeze. We have enjoyed days out in Cambridge, Ely, Peterborough, Norwich and London. Activities included punting, Oliver Cromwell’s House, China Town, M & M’s World, Norwich Castle, several beautiful parks (Jubilee, Embankment and Ferry Meadows), as well as more traditional activities, such as the cinema and meals out. All outings were achieved with minimal taxi rides and a little bit of help from the general public. I wish I could put into words how liberating it has felt exploring. Yes we got lost here and there, but it just enhanced the experiences.

To finish the year I had my sixteenth eye operation that has made the world a slightly brighter place and I officially moved into my house! The operation was more for comfort, as I had calcium build up. It’s the second time I’ve had the surgery and I’m in no hurry to get it done again, as operations really are no fun.

2015
In a strange way, I’m not expecting too much from this year. The plan is to settle into my house, continue with the athletics and piano lessons and to be generally happy with life. I have spent so many years pressurising myself to achieve, achieve, achieve. I still have aspirations, but this year they are smaller.

I don’t say it enough, but a huge thank you to everyone who reads this blog, takes an interest in my life and supports my ambitions. Here’s hoping you have a healthy, happy and prosperous 2015.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Mauritius

Last month I went to Mauritius to visit my Grandma. It was my fifth time to the country and the last time I went was nearly five years ago. My mum is originally from there and every time I’ve been it has felt like home. We never stay in fancy hotels, mainly because we can’t afford it, but I think if I returned again, I’d rather stay in a little two or three star, as you get the chance to appreciate the culture.

We stayed at the Aanari in Flic en Flac. It was a great location, not only was it across the road from the beach, but it was just a half hour bus ride to visit my Grandma, which was the closest we’ve ever stayed before meaning we could visit more often. The weather was lush and I thoroughly enjoyed eating all of the local cuisine. The fresh beach food, refreshing coconut water and just picked lychee were all amazing.

The ten nights flew by and I was back in frosty England before I knew it. However, I think I needed the vitamin D, as I’m feeling revitalised.

Monday, 8 December 2014

A Big Fat Five

It has been an extremely long time since I wrote about my beloved Calvin. Last month marked five years since we started working together, I guess that makes us an experienced partnership. I can’t believe he’s nearly seven; he’s still my baby and still acts like a puppy. Having Calvin as my Guide Dog hasn’t stopped being a daily adventure and alongside his roguish behaviour, he has actually done some amazing work this year.

Calvin and I are moving out! I will blog more about that separately, but for Calvin this has meant learning lots of new routes, which are much more testing than my current village location. Thankfully, Calvin is bomb proof and has been relishing the challenge and well has been delighted with the treat rewards. Being a modest character, he has no qualms in nudging me insistently with his nose for a treat and praise every time he finds a crossing box, post box, bus stop or door! We are literally glued to the spot until he gets his payment. It is fair to say that Calvin has me wrapped around his paw. He knows he’s my ticket to independence, the smart so and so!

This year Calvin has also been guiding for two. No, I’m not pregnant, that would really mess up the athletics career! I feel a bit like a teenager writing this down, but I have a boyfriend who is a cane user. On the whole, Calvin has been coping remarkably well with me having another man in my life. He does barge in on cuddles from time to time, but I was fully expecting him to murder any potential lover. The most amusing thing he does is blank my other half when he’s in harness. He literally won’t wag his tail at the sight of him or even when he’s stroked. Apparently, guiding for two isn’t in his contract and he’s making it fully known that he’s not happy with the situation. However, Calvin has guided us around Leicester, Cambridge, Ely, Peterborough, Norwich and even London. It has been really liberating to visit so many places that I think if I just had a cane I wouldn’t dare attempt on my own.

Despite all of his hard work, Calvin is a fatty and I think always will be. Earlier this year he gave me a scare, as I found a couple of lumps. Thinking the worst, I took him to the vets and they sent off the cells to the lab. Turns out, they are fatty lumps, which was a massive relief. Calvin’s diet consists of diet dog food, tiny treats whilst he’s learning new routes and anything else he can Hoover up as he walks. I have never thought to feed him off of my plate, I dread to think how huge he would be if I ever did. Calvin is a bit on the chunky side, but generally he is a healthy pup and that’s the main thing.

Thanks Calvin for five fantastic years, here’s a virtual treat...

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Links

I just wanted to link to a couple of articles on the net about me, so I have a record for myself more than anything. The first is on a website called ‘Set Your Sights’. I participated in the Retina Race in September, which was filmed by Novartis and I blogged about my experience. You can view the footage and my blog post here.

The second is an article on The Open University website, which encompasses my OU experience, as well as talks about my Commonwealth Games experience. I loved my OU experience, so it was nice to give something back. You can view the article here.



Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Support Selina to Sprint to Success

I have spent a month sending the below profile to companies and organisations, but have yet to secure any funding or sponsorship. The Original document has two pictures of me in action at the Commonwealths and my contact details. If anyone is willing to help, please get in touch.

Support Selina to Sprint to Success
I placed 5th at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games in the T11-12 100m. Help me go one step further and become a medallist at a major championships.
Basics:
Name: Selina Litt
Age: 26
Location: Leicestershire
Sport: Para Athletics
Classification: T11 (totally blind)
Event: 100m
Costs:
I receive no financial backing to support my athletics career and therefore have to self-fund the following-
Coach/guide runner
Personal Trainer
Gym membership
Physio/sports massage
Travel to training and competitions
Competition entry fees
Specialist clothing/footwear
Specialist nutrition
Eye History:
I have a rare genetic eye condition called Norrie’s Disease. Born fully sighted, I lost all of the sight in my right eye at the age of 2 and some in the left. Between the ages of 10 and 18 despite countless eye operations my vision gradually deteriorated. I now just have light perception in my left eye.
Sporting History:
Due to having a sporty family, my visual impairment never stopped me from involving myself in sport. At primary school I was a member of the cross country and netball teams. I joined my first athletics club at the age of 11, but soon discovered that my decreased vision made running solo extremely challenging. It took another 5 years to find an athletics club that specialised in supporting the visually impaired. In 2009, at the age of 20, I joined Charnwood Athletics club, found myself a guide runner, started competing and aspired to compete at the London 2012 Paralympics. Towards the end of 2011 I made a difficult decision to change coach and guide runner in order to have one to one attention. In spite of failing to make London 2012 selection, I had faith in my new coach, Lincoln Asquith (former GB sprinter and guide runner) and his son, Ryan Asquith (my first male guide runner) that I could compete competitively at a world level. In June 2014 Team England selected me to represent them at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games in the T11-12 100m. Although the classification was mixed, meaning I had to race athletes with some vision, I still managed to finish 5th at my first major championships, narrowly missing out on contesting for a medal in the final (only the top 4 progress due to the guide runners).
The Future:
Now I have had a taste of what it is like to compete on the world stage, I don’t want to stop. The next aim is to qualify for the 2015 World Championships in Doha with the ultimate dream being to represent Great Britain at the Rio 2016 Paralympics.
Achievements:
Graduated with First Class Honours in English Language and Literature from The Open University in 2013
Ranked No.1 in Great Britain/Europe for T11 100m in 2013
T11 60m indoor British record holder 8.77secs
100m PB 13.93secs
5th at Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games T11-12 100m

5 Fun Facts:
Owner of cheeky Labrador cross retriever Guide Dog, Calvin
Absolute book worm
Formula 1 Ferrari supporter
Music, film and theatre lover, learning to play the piano
Adrenaline junkie, never afraid of a new challenge
Summary:
I receive no financial backing to support my athletics career. Please support me in whatever way you can, as I endeavour to sprint to success.
Social Media:
Face Book: https://www.facebook.com/selinalittathlete
Twitter: @selinalitt
Blog: http://selinalitt.blogspot.co.uk/

Contact:
Email: selinalitt@googlemail.com
Thank you