Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Olympic Ticket Care Success

You may remember last month when I submitted an application for two free carer tickets to accompany my current opening day of athletics Olympic tickets. Well, after all the battling to get what I felt I deserved, I got a call from Ticket Care confirming my application had been accepted. So I now have four tickets for the first morning of athletics, meaning my entire family can attend the games. It also makes the £150 tickets feel less expensive, as at the end of the day, my brother and I aren’t going to be able to see a thing no matter where we sit.

However, I still maintain the opinion that the ticket process could have and should have been so much better. Not everyone will have been as successful as me, the guy on the phone expressed that how others didn’t explain why they needed a carer well enough, but mine was really clear. Tickets for the Paralympics go on sale between 9 and 26 September with exactly the same ticket process as the Olympics. I can’t be doing with the stress of Ticket Care again, so will be applying for four tickets. Hopefully I won’t need one of the tickets as I’ll actually be competing, but if not I want to watch the T11 100m heats and probably kick myself of what could have been!

Fight to the end!

August Injuries

Now I’ve reached the end of my athletics season, my body has the chance to recover from any outstanding niggles or injuries, as I won’t start running again until late September.

Shins – Are about ok, but have been flaring up after training and competitions. The month off of impact upon them should allow them to fully heal.
Ankles – Again play up from time to time, but again the break from impact and constant rehab work should strengthen them for the winter.
Knee – This is a new issue, but thankfully nothing serious. Due to a tight IT band my knee has been getting locked and causing some pain. On-going physio treatment should sort it in no time.

I definitely don’t feel like I’m falling to pieces anymore!

Monday, 29 August 2011

1 Year To Go

It feels like it was only yesterday when I was blogging about two years to go until the London 2012 Paralympics, but suddenly there is only a year left! That Paralympic Show’s third series begins on Saturday, continuing to introduce the public to disability sport in a fun light hearted, but educational manner. Channel 4 are also launching a documentary series called Best of Britain profiling our top Paralympic athletes, which will be coming soon.

Regarding my preparations for the games, my final competition in Gateshead saw me achieve two PBs, along with two wins. It was raining heavily for my 100m, which made warming up a bit miserable and I’ve never actually seen proper puddles on the track before. I had a poor reaction off of the start, which has been the same story throughout this season, but I managed to pick it up. I didn’t feel as smooth, aggressive or as quick as I did in training, so was relieved to run a legal PB of 15.06secs with a wind of 1.2. No qualification standard this year.

The weather cleared up for my 200m, but it was still quite chilly for August! Usually, I find myself drawn in lanes one and two or seven and eight. Strangely, I was in four and five, where I rarely practice running around the bend. On my inside was a world class athlete for her category and I knew she had run faster than me this year and had a better PB overall. Coming around the bend we were about level. As I attempted to straighten up for the final 100m, I misjudged it, running in god knows what direction and losing a couple of metres. With 80m to go I kicked for my life, but so did the other athlete. Rocking and rolling with 30m to go, I just kept it going as best I could to the line. It was her home track and the crowd were clearly all going crazy for her and not me, which made me more determined. A time of 32.22secs takes just over a tenth off of my PB of 32.35secs, but it was a good result, as I haven’t run faster than 32.92secs this year. Hopefully, with a killer winter, I’ll get the strength to get closer to the B standard of 30.30secs.

I’m having a week off training before starting back in the gym and doing a combination of circuits and cycling. It won’t be until the end of September that I start running again. My last two winters have been interrupted with injury and guide runner issues, so I’m excited to have a full, hard winter of training. I’m ready to throw up after sessions because I’ve pushed myself to the limit!

One year to go and I still have one goal, one dream, London 2012 Paralympics!

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Sub 15, finally!

I competed twice last week, Charnwood Open and in the Midland League, neither of which are disability competitions. I started to worry that the day would never come for me to run sub 15secs, but thank goodness it did, but how frustrating that the wind was illegal! I ran 14.91secs for 100m with a wind of plus 2.1. The most you are allowed to be deemed legal is plus 2.0. I know that I had a good race, but my body did seize up 10m to go again, so it’s reassuring to know that there is more in the tank. Now I feel within touching distance of the B standard 14.80secs.

On Sunday I raced in Nottingham, which is always a horrible windy track. My 100m was into a minus 2.3 and I managed 15.4secs, there was no electronic timing. The 200m was into a minus 3.0 and I got 33.4secs, but was quite disappointed with my home straight, as the wind gobbled me up and I had no kick finish. There were also no blocks available for my 200m, which was weird.

1. I ran sub 15secs
2. I know there is still more to come
3. I’ve stopped running left
4. My starts were smooth
5. I’m improving with every race
My next and final race of the season is in Gateshead on 27 August. This is the track where I achieved my PBs last year and hoping for the same this year.

Climbing the ladder of success!

Friday, 5 August 2011

Olympics: Carer Ticket Application

A couple of weeks ago I filled out the form on the London 2012 website to request free carer tickets for my brother and I. They suggested that you keep your explanation of why you require a free companion ticket brief, so I did to the best of my ability, making it nice and blunt too. It’s now less than a year to go until I watch the first morning of athletics. The closing date for carer applications was 31 July and I should hear the outcome by 31 August. However, they did say that they may contact you before then for further information, but I can’t see why they should. I name dropped the Accessibility Manager who did an interview on Radio 4’s Intouch programme on my case and if that isn’t good enough, I have evidence of the letter of complaint I sent them, which was responded to a few weeks later with an auto reply of possible questions I was apparently asking. That didn’t impress me!

You can listen to me and the Accessibility Manager on the link below. I was pleased with the editing; they kept a lot of me in!

BBC Intouch 05/07/2011

Big thanks to In Touch for putting so much effort into this campaign!

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Stoke Mandeville

Last weekend was the Stoke Mandeville Disability Challenge where an international field were present. In my race alone there were athletes from South Africa, Cyprus and Australia. It was a fairly successful competition, but I always want and need more!

I didn’t get a brilliant start in the 100m, as I stumbled a little out of the blocks; however I picked it up and was surprised to be in contention with the field. At 90m, I made a final push, but my body just collapsed on me, which has never happened to me before. I think I must have been trying so hard that I tightened up too much. I came last, as expected, but ran a season’s best time of 15.24secs, just 0.02secs outside of my PB, which was run with a much stronger following wind, so basically it was the best race of my life, yet it was far from perfect.

Tucked in on the inside lane for the 200m I gave it my best shot to chase everyone down. It was by far one of my better bend runs, excluding the fact that I kept hitting myself with the arm attached to my guide. I wish I had a bit of a stronger finish, as my legs were burning with 30m to go. I still managed to run a season’s best of 32.92secs into a minus 1.5 head wind, which is pretty impressive. If the wind was the other way around, I would have run a PB for sure. To put it into perspective, an athlete who beat me by half a second in Bedford, ran nearly half a second slower than me, all be it in a race after mine. Oh yeah I came last again, but it is much better to chase than be ahead, it’s the only way I’m going to improve.

1. I ran two season best times
2. I’m improving around the bend
3. I’m able to stay in the drive phase for a full 30m
4. My performances are getting better not worse
5. I know there is still more in the tank

So I still lack any qualification times or PBs to my name, but thankfully the season isn’t over yet. My next race is on Wednesday, Charnwood Open.

There can be miracles, when you believe!

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Distinction No.3

My third module with The Open University was A210 Approaching Literature. I have to say this is my most rewarding mark yet, even though I also achieved Distinctions on my previous two modules. Throughout my assignments I didn’t drop below 80% and peaked at 95%, which was just mind blowing. I gained an average of 87% for my assignments with just the exam to go. I never expected to score 85% on my exam, which would secure my Distinction overall and hoped that my mark would be bumped up anyway like the last two times. But I did it! I got exactly 85% and this beats any GSCE, A Level result or any other achievement in my life. To be one of forty out of one thousand and fourteen students who took the exam and managed a Distinction is amazing. I work hard, but never consider myself to be smarter than the average bear! Starting in October I’m doubling up on courses doing A215 Creative Writing and E301 The Art of English. I’ll then conclude my English Language and Literature degree with EA300 Children’s Literature commencing October 2012.

Full results:
TMA 01 – 80%
TMA 02 – 89%
TMA 03 – 83%
TMA 04 – 86%
TMA 05 – 95%
TMA 06 – 91%
TMA 07 – 82%
Exam – 85%
OCAs – 87%

August, the month of success!