Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Competition 1

My first athletics competition in 2 years was on Saturday and I was hoping for great things after the hard training I’ve been putting in. I entered the CP Sport Grand Prix in London and competed as a guest of course since I don’t have CP!

Unfortunately, the sat nav failed and so we didn’t arrive until 10:10am even though we set off at 7.30am sharp. My 100m was at 10:30am and so this didn’t leave enough time for me to warm up. I was pretty stressed, but tried to calm myself before the start. Bang! The gun went off and I had an okish start staying low and driving forward. I was waiting for Courtney to tell me 50m had gone, but I didn’t get the call. I felt the others go a little in front of me and was distracted thinking god it’s taking forever to get to 50m, I must have come out of my drive phase to early. Next thing I hear is ‘you go’, which means there is only 5m left, as Courtney drops back and ensures she doesn’t cross the line before me. She completely forgot to tell me 50m, 30m, 20m and 10m! So I had no awareness of how far was remaining. At the end I wasn’t even out of breath and knew it had all gone horribly wrong. I was aiming to run 15.5secs, as this is what I was told I’m more than capable of running, but ended up with a time of just 16.9secs.

I didn’t know my time for a while, but at the end of the race I was just so angry. For one I didn’t win, knew I hadn’t run my hardest, couldn’t believe Courtney forgot to tell me the distances, stressed out that I didn’t warm up fully and felt like the hard training I’d been putting in was a waste. The winning time was just 16.5secs so I should have won easily. Instead I had only run 2 10ths quicker than two years previous when I didn’t do nearly as much training. I was very frustrated, but had 3 and a half hours to compose myself before the 200m.

Bang! I was off again in the 200m, which I’d never run before in competition. It was already going better than my practice run in training, as I remembered that there was a bend to tackle and didn’t dart straight on. I felt myself come out of my drive to early, but was pleased to hear 50m from Courtney. At 100m I could hear the others go pass me and concentrated on chasing them down. I came 3rd again and was more out of breath this time. I’m sure I could have worked harder, as it didn’t take me long to catch my breath, but I was new to the event, so not as harsh on myself. I really chased them down on the home straight and could tell I nearly got the girl next to me on the line. If only I knew exactly where the line was, then I could have done one of those dips!

I was hoping to run 35secs, but found out it was 36.9secs. Typical the winning time was 35secs exactly and 2nd place was just 36.7secs, I knew she only just beat me. Again I was disappointed, but not as much. I just don’t want to tell the head Coach of Paralympics my rubbish times just yet!

Time to look positively! It was only the first competition of the season and the first time I had run with Courtney in a competition too. So it was a learning curve for both of us. It wasn’t the Paralympics and surely I can only improve on the times. I know exactly where I went wrong so next time I have no excuses. My next competition is the Dublin games in 3 weeks time. This will be against other VI athletes and somewhere where I really need to do well. I then have a competition the day after in London where I won’t be able to avoid the head Coach of Paralympics and will be forced to perform! No pressure eh?!

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Do Something Good Today

You may have remembered last year that I raised nearly £200 for Guide Dogs by doing a Blind Drive Challenge. This year I’m doing two fundraising events and I hope you’ll be generous in your donations.

Firstly, I’m doing Race for Life for Cancer research UK. That means I have to run 5km on 12th July at Western Park. I don’t think there are any of us who don’t know someone affected by this life-threatening disease. Personally, my next-door neighbour, auntie and currently my best friend’s boyfriend’s mum is battling the illness. So please dig deep and together we can beat Cancer. You can sponsor me online at: My Race For Life Sponsorship Page

The second event I’m doing is the Adidas Women’s 5km Challenge on September 6th in London’s Hyde Park. I’m raising money for British Blind Sport who you must all realise is a very important charity to me. I feel incredibly passionate about the participation of visually impaired people accessing sport. Without BBS I would have never gotten this far with my athletics, as they introduced me to Sheila Carey who coaches me. I would have never of discovered goalball and had the opportunity to compete in competitions and I would have never had the chance to read their magazine Target that features so many blind and partially sighted people enjoying and accessing sport. Unlike Cancer Research UK BBS is a small charity and is suffering badly since the recession. I’d hate for them to have to fold and as a result hundreds of visually impaired people not having the chance to be apart of sport. I love it and would be lost without it.

British Blind Sport is the charity I would like to raise more money for, but all donations are much appreciated. You can sponsor me and support BBS at: My British Blind Sport Sponsorship Page

I want to raise £50 for Cancer Research UK and £200 for BBS. Since I’m a sprinter attempting to run 5km is a big challenge for me. Oh and since I’m competitive you just know I’m not going to be happy unless I beat my time when I run the second 5km! Seriously, please spare one or both charities if you can a few quid and change lives!

Thanking you in advance!

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Over A Year

Quick Guide dog update. It has now been over a year since I’ve been waiting for my first furry friend. I called Guide Dogs today who now have a new District Manager due to the other one going off to work on his ethnic minority project. The new DM told me that I’m 3rd on the waiting list and reassured me that we’re getting closer. He said that Debbie Webster would be the one who would find me a dog. She’s the person who did my assessment and at the moment she is on class training others. Apparently they’re having a team meeting next week and he’ll put my name on the agenda.

I’m pleased that I’m 3rd on the list, but it’s very annoying that I’ve been waiting so long. Those other 2 people above me might be previous or current guide dog owners so not have had to wait as long as me. I still don’t know when I’m getting a dog, but next week I’ll email Debbie Webster to see if I can find any more information out.

If I’m lucky I might get one before I’m 21, but me lucky? That’s a laugh!

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Run, Run, Run

Last Sunday I went to a Parallel Success Talent Identification day lead by UK Athletics. I thought it was a sprints camp, but it was based around sprinting. It was at Lee Valley in London, which has an impressive indoor track and makes Loughborough look basic!

On arrival a tad late I was met by Marie Yates who is the Disability Coordinator for UKA. I was instructed to warm-up before joining the group. The session was being coached by Keith Antoine who has coached Darren Campbell and Catherine Merry along with some Paralympians.

We did some sprint drills and my posture and heavy footedness were soon corrected. We then had to do a series of sprints. Initially it was 60m, but then it was 50m and 60m, then 50m, 50m and 60m, next 40m, 50m, 50m and 60m and finally 40m x 2, 50m x 2 and 1 x 60m. It was exhausting, but I wasn’t flat out on the floor, which I think was a positive sign!

After that the Head Coach of Paralympics came to talk to me, Peter Erikksson. He appeared impressed by my sprinting and quizzed me about my sight, training and goals. I wanted to sell myself, but held back a little, as I know I’m ok, but not amazing yet! Keith joined in on the discussion and reckons I am running sub 15.4sec 100m pace, but I’m not too sure. I hope I am though and really want and need to run sub 15secs this season.

Lunch was a bit surreal, as Dame Tanny Gray Thompson, Peter Eriksson and Keith Antoine all came to sit with me. Tanny was talking about going to Downing street the week before for dinner. Jamie Oliver cooked the meal and she rubbed shoulders with the likes of JK Rowling, Naomi Campbell and Barrak O’Balma! As you do!

After lunch a Paralympian John sorry can’t remember your surname came to speak to us. He is 28 and lost his leg in a motorbike accident at the age of 19. Last year he won Bronze in the 100m at the Paralympics. He seemed very down to earth.

Next was time to get working again and when I heard we were doing circuit training I knew I was going to crash and burn big style! To be fair I didn’t do overly badly, but was breathing like a dragon! We had 10 exercises to do; the first round was for 30secs and the next 2 for 45secs each. I was glad to get it over and done with along with the rest of the group. Keith commented that I lack core stability and that’s why I struggled. Apparently this was the basics and I need to be at that level at least. I’ve been strongly advised to do circuits 5 times per week on top of the training I already do! That’s training 11 times per week on average for me! Argh!

To conclude I’ve been told to email the Head coach my times from my first competition on April 18th. He wants to track my progress. In return he is going to email me the times I need to meet to get funding.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

No Pain, No Gain

I hate having my eyebrows plucked, as for one it’s painful and two my mum pinches my eyeball, as my right eye sinks in a little. I was finally brave enough to book myself in for an eye brow wax at Oasis Health and Beauty a couple of villages away.

I lay down on the bed and Anna the waxer started to put hot wax on the sections to be banished. There was no warning when the first strip was removed, but I was surprised it wasn’t as painful as I was expecting. Don’t get me wrong it did hurt, but just for a split second. She also did part of my forehead since I’m a hairy beast! That hurt more! At the end she asked me to look in the mirror! Doh, up to that point she didn’t realise I was blind.

Afterwards I got a full body massage, as I’ve been aching since Wednesday. I’ve finally got a coach from Charnwood Athletics Club and he really put me through my paces. I’m pleased though, as that’s what I need. I needed the massage, as I’m going to a talent day run by UK athletics tomorrow. Anna didn’t seem to believe me at first when I said I was a runner. ‘Oh do you do that on a machine’! I explained I had a guide and she seemed to accept my answer and was very good, as she gave me a sort of sports massage. Basically, beating my legs up! Seriously, it was worth it.

My first athletics competition is 2 weeks today and I really look forward to it. I have no idea of how fast/slow I’m capable of running, but the result will hopefully convey the amount of hard training I’ve been putting in.

I haven’t heard back from the interview I went to last week at the council, but I am even more certain now that I wasn’t successful. On a slightly more positive note I received a letter from the Education Psychology department saying that the clerical assistant position is vacant again, but at a higher grade. If I’m still interested all I have to do is call them. So will do on Monday, worth a shot. This is the one that is walking distance from my house in the next village and was given to someone on redeployment initially.