Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Turbulent Times

I'm finally back home with my family after a totally exhausting seven hour train journey from Manchester! However,' let's start at the very beginning', as Julie Andrews once famously sang.

I left Harlow on Sunday May 13 to catch my flight to Zurich from Heathrow Terminal 5. As usual the airport staff were very helpful by checking in my racing chair and wheel bag then taking me to the departure gate to board the plane. The actual flight was fine, just a little bit of turbulence, and we landed in Zurich on time. There is no telling how many miles you may have to walk, run, or fly in pursuit of your dream - just don't give up! 

The people who organise the Swiss Championships are brilliant, and transport was provided to take us to our hotel in Nottweil without us having to struggle with racing wheelchairs and luggage. They also organise transport to and from the meetings. I love racing in Switzerland because you get to compete against the world's best. You get the opportunity to train hard and occasionally enjoy the mountain views. The cycle tracks are so clean and not a bit of glass or litter in sight - I wonder, do they have yobs in Switzerland? I really enjoyed wheeling around Lake Sempachersee. Beautiful!

My first race was the Daniela Jutzeler Memorial race in Pratteln. I was really pleased with my 100m because I did a seasons best time of 17.55, but the 400m was very tough due to a strong side wind but at least it helped me to identify some technique issues that need to be addressed.

The last meeting was held at Nottwil, and I was really pleased when Chantal Petitclerc and Kelly Smith, both legends in wheelchair racing, gave me some great advice on how to improve my pushing technique. They also gave me a lot of encouragement and I felt a lot more confident after their advice, so much so that I knocked a whole six seconds off my time for the 400m from the one I got in Pratteln. My 100m was 17.70 so I feel all in all it was a successful trip.

Straight after my last Swiss race I was off to Zurich for my flight to Manchester via Heathrow to compete in the Paralympic World Cup. The flight to Heathrow was the worst I have ever had to endure. The turbulence was so bad that people were actually screaming, and the man opposite me,   began to pray . I tried to stay calm but at one point I almost phoned my little boy  to say  I loved  him ! I'm glad I didn't because the flight crew got us back on the ground safely. Thank you guys!

After a short wait at Heathrow I boarded my flight to Manchester. I had to laugh when I found it was the same crew, though I have to admit it was a bit of a nervous laugh! Anyway, there was no problem on this flight and we landed with no problems. I had my picture taken with the flight crew (see above).

I did my 100m in the Paralympic World Cup and narrowly missed out on a medal, finishing in 4th place. However I was quite pleased that I had even survived to compete at all! It is not whether you get knocked down,it's whether you get up .... I first competed in Manchester in the very first Paralympic World Cup in 2005, when I represented Kenya. I won a bronze medal in 2007, so I really wanted to do well. Anyway, I did my best.It is also in 2005 Paralympic World Cup that I first met Oscar Pistorius, and we have remained great friends.

Again, my journey back to Harlow was horrible, 7 hours and 3 changes. I finally arrived back at 10pm, totally washed out, so I'm going to have a couple of days off before I resume  training tomorrow after a one day rest. It's just great to be back home. :-)

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