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.