Wednesday 22 February 2012

Life's A Gas!

It's been quite a difficult week for training because my usual running track at Mark Hall has been inaccessible due to a leaky boiler, so I have been forced to spend more time in the gym and out on the road. Fortunately, whatever was broken has now been fixed and my first track session was yesterday in a howling wind. Not good for speed work but at least I was back on track! After not seeing my coach for so long he greeted me as though I'd just got back from a long trip but he made sure the session was a tough one! He's a hard taskmaster.

I really enjoy doing roadwork though it can be very gruelling pushing ten miles. However, the bit I do enjoy is when I'm cooling down because that's when I meet so many interesting people. For example, last week I met a lady with four gorgeous white dogs. She told me they were Hungarian Commodores called Daz, Kez, Denis, and Oz. They have won several dog shows and are due to appear in another one soon. They took an instant shine to me and wouldn't leave me alone. I was chuffed. It's a shame they couldn't sing,'Three Times A Lady' in Hungarian.

I really learned a lot seeing the granny who took on the Health Minister and heckled him. One day the poor will have nothing to eat but the rich - and then there will be equality!!

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Monday 13 February 2012

'End Polio Now' Campaign

Yesterday I was invited to be the main guest at the,'End Polio Now' Campaign organised by Chelmsford Rotary Club. It was a great event and was very well attended, with 500 hundred people there. It was held at the Chelmsford Civic Theatre. Let me give a brief explanation of what the campaign is all about.

It was instigated by Bill and Melinda Gates, and because they are both Rotarians they invited 34,000 Rotary Clubs around the world to raise funds to help to eradicate polio. The campaign has been a hot one and and a great deal of money has been raised to vaccinate children in those countries of the world blighted by this awful disease. Yesterday as I took my place on the stage I felt very humble as a polio survivor who has continued to lead a very meaningful life - surviving polio is great, but even greater is vaccinating children so they don't contract the virus in the first place. I think my short speech went down well.

When I contracted polio as a small child in Kenya the villagers didn't have any idea what it was so calling it 'witchcraft' was the easiest option because that was something they could explain. As I grew up callipers and crutches were the standard solution to the immobility caused by polio so that is what I had to use to get around. 'Walking' in this way , as far as I knew, there was no one whose footsteps I could strive to follow in but I was determined not to let anything stand in my way of living a full and happy life. When I moved to the UK I discarded my callipers and crutches, not without some regret because I have always had a love/hate relationship with them. They have been as much a part of me as my skinny, sexy legs since I was four years old. They have caused me a great deal of pain and discomfort, but I respect them because they have got me to a lot of places and allowed me to do a lot of things that I wouldn't otherwise have been able to do. Using a wheelchair makes my body feel so light without all those steel and leather encumbrances. However, sometimes, when I want to be six feet tall,and sexy,I put on my callipers and polio boots and stand up on my crutches just to remind myself of how life used to be. I know that I will never forget them for as long as I live. When you have a disability, knowing that you are not defined by it is the sweetest feeling! It doesn't matter how the rest of the world looks at me because I KNOW I may never get a seat on the board because I'm in the WRONG chair but I also KNOW I'm intelligent, compassionate, driven, and still very sexy!

'Humour can break down barriers and melt prejudices'.('In My Dreams I Dance' p.78).

To finish on a sad note I was upset to hear of the death of Whitney Houston. Dying on our own is not what most of us would want. What are friends, family and relatives for but hey, who are we to judge others? Growing up in Kenya as a young teenager I used to try and copy her hairstyles. R.I.P.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thursday 9 February 2012

Happy Birthday Tim!

Today is my sons birthday and I remember the day he came into this world pulled from my stomach. I looked at him and wondered where he could have fitted in my small stomach. Delivered prematurely yet he still weighed seven pounds, healthy and extremely beautiful. I remember looking at him when the midwife placed him in my arms, tears of joy streaming down my cheeks. I felt so complete as a woman. He was very white and had beautiful blue eyes, now he is transformed into a caramel coloured, brown eyed handsome boy, the joy of my life. I shall have to be careful later today when we cut his birthday cake and make sure I only take a small slice. I shall also remember that it was Tim's birth that set me on the path I follow today as an athlete.

The weather has definitely not been conducive to training outdoors so I've been training indoors on rollers and doing my strength and conditioning work. I miss being outside in the fresh air on the road. Let's hope the weather gets better soon so I can get out. To be honest, all my minor complaints are trivial compared to the suffering currently taking place in Syria. My heart goes out to all the men, women and children suffering so brutally at the hands of their own government and I cannot understand how the world can just sit back and watch it all unfold on their plasma tv screens! God show mercy!

Labels: , , , , , ,