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Will it be the week of the International Vest?!

So, on Saturday, in the very early hours of the morning (I hate mornings!) I head to Manchester! I am going to Sportcity, which is an athletics stadium next door to the Etihad Stadium, home to Man City. As you've probably guessed, I am competing and it is the first competition of the year. However, there is a twist in this competition. If I perform well, i.e. reach qualifying standards, I will (hopefully!) be selected for the World CP Games, which are taking place this summer!

As always, I will be competing in the Club Throw. I will also be taking to the track for the first time ever with my RaceRunner. This is scary all by itself, but, the fact that I only received my RaceRunner on Wednesday morning is stressing me out a little! The qualifying time for the 100m on my RaceRunner is 34.5 seconds, which my coach & I know is easily achievable, especially as on Wednesday evening it was my first ever go on my RaceRunner and I ran 60m (the track was too busy to hog a whole 100m!) in 17 seconds - this leaves me with a further 17 seconds to cover the remaining 40m if I should need it.

Sounds quite easy, right? However, going on my previous Club Throw competition experiences, I am very worried I'll panic and loose control. In training, I am capable of throwing 12m. Last year, I was probably capable of throwing roughly 9m. In competition last year, I reached 7.55m, which was disappointing and frustrating. My type of Cerebral Palsy means when I'm put under pressure/I need to do something 'perfectly'/I know something I'm doing is important etc., my movements become really difficult to control and over-exaggerated. This is exactly what happened in my throwing competitions last year, every thing just 'went'!

Also, with my new track event, I have the 'issue' of the starting gun! As most of you know, I have a startle reflex, which comes with my Cerebral Palsy (it sounds like some sort of buy-one-get-one-free package!), so any sudden, loud noises just rip me to shreds (which can be quite funny at times!). The advantage of the RaceRunner is, I can't fall over because of jumping at the gun - there's only one way I can go, and that's forwards!

First time on the RaceRunner!

So, believe it or not, the fact that I've only had my RaceRunner for a little over a week at the time of the race is the least of my worries! I am hoping that some reverse psychology may even go on - as I'm so stressed for my track event, I breeze through the Club Throw, realise I didn't get stressed as my mind was on the track, and then because of that, relax out on the track ... you never know!

I want to qualify for the World Games more than anything, especially when in reality, it is so achievable. To have an international vest and to represent my country would be a dream come true. I have all of this week to train before Saturday, so hopefully, I'll be able to get every thing down to a 'fine art'! I just know I can do it, and if I don't do it, upset will not be the word! But, I need to bear in mind, I might not do it. If I don't do it, I am most definitely going to work towards a future GB vest, and in the meantime, calm and control my competition nerves!

I went training last Thursday morning, and for some reason one of my lecturers was down there, where I train. He saw me walking down the corridor with this blooming great big orange 'thing' (my RaceRunner - and it is huge in real life!), and he was like "what is that?!...I didn't know you were a cyclist!". Oh no, I really am not a cyclist! He came to watch me, which was actually really helpful as come next Saturday, I will have a crowd - if anyone is down at the EIS at anytime this week, please do come & stare at me & watch, you'll actually be helping! I tried to explain it was actually an athletic event, even though it looks like a bike. I suppose the best way of describing RaceRunning is, it is basically Wheelchair Racing, but for athletes who have little or no hand control, so you propel with your legs instead. I did actually try wheelchair racing, and my 'attempts' (if that's what you want to call it!) were so funny - Ellie was saying 'YES!', hands & coordination were saying 'NO!'. I think I managed about 3 meters, when we decided that it probably 'wasn't the sport for me'!

On Saturday night, I had one of my best friends round, who also has Cerebral Palsy. She uses tripod sticks to walk, and me being the very mean friend I am, I pick her tripod sticks up and start walking away with them! Obviously I am not being mean in the true sense of the word - as we both have Cerebral Palsy, it is like 'Cerebral Palsy banter'! We used to go to the same school, and I would remove her sticks in the middle of corridors and things, and walk up to the teaching assistants and go "HAS ANYONE SEEN REBECCA?!", or, "I think Rebecca likes that patch of carpet, she's not moving anywhere!".

Rebecca and I.

We were talking about her recent holiday 'experience'! She was sat outside her apartment in her wheelchair, and some very strange man shouted over to her 'what's wrong with you?!', i.e. why was she sat in a wheelchair? Rebecca said she shouted back that 'she was born with it'. There was then a 2 second pause (on Saturday night when she was retelling what happened), and my sister went, "Maybe I was born with it ... Maybe it's Maybelline!". We were all on the floor laughing so hard! It might not sound that funny via this blog, but the way my sister said it was spot on!

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