Wednesday 17 March 2010

Silverstone Half Marathon.

I spent my Mothers Day getting up at seven to prepare myself for the trip to Silverstone for my first competitive race of 2010. At least my husband made me breakfast before I set off, and I got two lovely cards from my son, Tim, one of which was homemade.

I usually travel on my own to competitions so it was a refreshing change to travel with the other members of Harlow Running Club in a coach and it was nice to chat to people I usually don't have the chance to talk to when I'm training. There were two of us wheelchair racers, Dean Harvey being the other one, and we were glad when we arrived and we could sort out our chairs.

I was glad when the race finally began, though I wasn't treating it as a race because I didn't feel fit enough, and I'm a sprinter. The main reason I was there was to try and raise some money for a very worthwhile cause, AbleCild Africa, a charity which supports disabled children in Africa. It's a cause very close to my heart, and as I pushed I kept thinking that no matter what I was suffering, it was nothing in comparison to the struggle those children have. I had to stop once or twice to sort out cramps in my legs but still managed to complete the race in one hour twenty five minutes, a respectable time but also one I know I can improve upon once I get back into full time training. Dean did a great time of one hour,thirty nine minutes, and he was very encouraged by the result.

So,its back to training and on monday I did a good workout on the track. Yesterday I did 10 miles on the road, and today I'm in the gym. I look forward to my first sprint races in May.

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Tuesday 9 March 2010

'Playground To Podium'.

Today I attended an event in Chelmsford as part of the Essex Team Ambassadors Scheme. The event was held at Chelmsford Sport and Athletic Park and was attended by around 70 children who attend mainstream school but have a disability. It was a taster day and children were given the opportunity to try different sports. It was a fantastic event and it was lovely to see the children enjoying themselves. I also enjoyed speaking to them about my own sport and achievements, and showing them some of the medals I have won during my career.
Training is going on well and I've finally managed to get out on the road with no problems. It was good to push on my normal 10 mile route and it felt great to be out and about again. I've changed my push rims to half an inch bigger in an attempt to improve my pushing technique. I'll let you know how it goes once I've given it a fair trial.
This evening its back on the track for some speed endurance work with my trainer, Ken Day. He's a perfectionist and he really makes me sweat, but I value the time he spends yelling at me and encouraging me to work to my limits! Talk about hard taskmaster!

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Friday 5 March 2010


The past week or so has been extremely frustrating! First of all the weather has been terrible, forcing me to be confined to the gym and the dreaded rollers. OK, so the rollers are good for improving my stamina and general fitness levels but to be honest, nothing can compare to being out on the road and putting in the miles. So, finally, yesterday, the weather was lovely so I get into my racing chair and set off to do my 10 mile push. I'm just getting into my rhythm when BANG! My back tire gets a puncture so I'm forced to get home on a flat. Then,today, a change of wheels to my old ones with the spokes and what happens? The push rim starts to come off, along with a couple of spokes! Session ended before its really begun. I could have cried but what's the point? You just put on a brave smile and get on with life.

My new tires have just arrived in the post so I'll change the punctured one and give it another go tomorrow. I have to because I'm doing a half marathon a week tomorrow at Silverstone to try and raise some much needed funds for AbleChild Africa, a charity that is very close to my heart because it helps disabled kids in Africa to reach their own personal goals in life. I WILL do it, though its a very tough course so I'm not aiming to break any records. Just finishing will be an achievement.

That apart I was very privileged on Wednesday to attend the launch of a scheme run by 'Journey to the Podium' and sponsored by Essex County Council where a group of artists were commissioned to produce works of art inspired by selected athletes. The launch was held at Colchester United's stadium and I was genuinely honoured to see the work about me from Elaine Tribley and Dr Mark Curtis of Essex County Council's Heritage and Archive teams. It was really weird to see artwork about yourself but also very nice. Elaine also produced a book called 'Olympia' about her work and about me and I was thrilled to get two copies, one of which I'm going to send to my dad in Kenya. He will be so proud! Working with Elaine has really inspired me and made me understand art a lot better.Thanks Elaine! Dr Mark also produced a lifesize picture of me and when you press a button my voice can be heard talking about myself and my sport. Amazing.Thank you Dr Mark. What made the evening more special was having my husband, Norman, and my son,Tim with me. Tim was a bit puzzled by all the attention I was getting but he loved the artwork. A really memorable evening.

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