Lots of people have been asking me, "Where are you?!", meaning why haven't I blogged in such a long time? Apologies, I know the gap between this post and the last post has been rather large.
So, where have I been?! Well, as most of you will know, my last blog post was mainly about my competition, which at the time was coming up, in Manchester. Just as a refresher, it was the qualifying competition for me to be in with a chance of being selected for the World CP Games. I was really doubtful I'd be able to perform to gain the qualifying standards, mainly on the track. My type of Cerebral Palsy means that when I need to do something well/I'm under pressure etc., my movements become really difficult to control. I had never done a track event before, and I was absolutely terrified of the starting gun. I knew this would send my startle reflex (which comes with my Cerebral Palsy - buy one, get one free!) crazy!
To my great amazement, I nailed the 100m with 4.2 seconds to spare, with the sprint being my second fastest sprint ever (according to Coach Adam)! I look back and laugh my head off now, but on the start line, I actually started to shed a tear as I was so worried, which is totally unlike me! Coach Adam literally didn't know what to do (I'm sorry, it won't happen again!)!
He strategically placed himself in a seat next to the box in the stadium where the official times were being recorded and announced, and watched the race. Somehow, I didn't even flinch at the gun! I was so stressed about keeping in lane (I'm renowned for running in wiggly lines!) and not going before the gun that I think it was actually a relief when it was triggered! The time between "On your marks...get set..." and then the gun going, honestly seemed like a small lifetime!
When I crossed the finish line and saw "30.7" on the board, I looked up to where Adam was sat and I was literally like "me?!". My official time was 30.89 seconds, which was well within the World Games qualifying standard of 34.5 seconds.
I also got a PB (Personal Best) for the Club Throw. Just like last year, I didn't throw as well as I do in training (Cerebral Palsy and pressure again!), but it was still a PB in competion, and it was 3 and a half meters over the World Games qualifying standards. So, all in all, it was a very happy day in Manchester ... apart from the freezing cold weather!
I was going to blog after the competition in Manchester, but, being the superstitious person that I am, I didn't want to rave about what a great outcome it was ... and then not be selected, haha! I didn't want to tempt fate!
So, on Saturday 16th May, I was having one of my marathon lie-ins (as well as running in wiggly lines, I'm also renowned for not getting out of bed until about midday!), and my Mum came into my room. I had one eye open and I was literally thinking "Urgh, I'm trying to have a lie-in here!". And then she said, "Are you expecting a letter from CP Sport?!", and she had a letter in her hand. I don't think I've ever shot out of bed so fast! And, it was exactly what I had hoped it to be!
I am so pleased to officially say that I have been selected to represent Team England for both the Club Throw and 100m RaceRunning in the upcoming World CP Games in August! Everyone jokes about "When will I ever get my Hogwarts letter?!" ... well, this was my Hogwarts letter moment!
The letter clearly stated that the news could not go anywhere near social media until May 26th (my heart sank, haha!), and to air on the side of precaution, I didn't put it out to all of you on CP Teens UK via this blog or the related social media sites. So, blogging was put on hold and this is why there has been a big gap between posts. Given that the previous post was all about Manchester prior to going, I thought it might have looked a bit weird if I didn't even mention it!
As well as it being a major sporting event, it will be a major event in the world of Cerebral Palsy (obviously as it is the World CP Games!), so as well as being absolutely over the moon to be going as an Athlete, I am also over the moon to be going as the person behind CP Teens UK. There will be teenagers & young people with Cerebral Palsy from all over the world, which will be so cool!
To be selected to represent my country is like a dream come true. I would have never imagined in my wildest dreams being on a world 'stage' just 3 years ago when I glued myself to my sofa and TV to watch the London 2012 Paralympics. I just want to say a massive thank you to my coaches, Andy and Adam ... without them, none of this would be possible! Thank you for believing in me when I turned up 2 years ago in a pair of Primark trainers (haha!) and I threw the Club about 2 meters in every direction but forwards, and to Adam who said 'yes' to coaching RaceRunning without a hesitation having never seen the sport before and for getting me to an international standard in under 2 months, with only 9 days with my actual RaceRunner!
When I was in Manchester, I also finally met Gavin. Gavin is the World Record holder for RR3 (classification) RaceRunning. He guest blogged for CP Teens UK a couple of months ago. We found each other through CP Teens UK and spoke online, so it was fantastic to meet him in person! I am so excited to spend 10 days with Gavin in August at the World Games!
I also promised in the last post that I'd do a comedy round up of my first year at University, as you all said you really liked my comedy round up back in September following my first week at University! I have now finished for the summer, which is hard to believe, I don't know where that time has gone! As this blog post is now becoming quite long, I will start off the next blog post with the comedy round up - and I promise that the gap between this blog post and the next post won't be as large this time. But, I will leave you with this to give you a little 'taster'!...
As part of our first year, one of our modules included an external coaching qualification. For the assessment, you had to coach a group of roughly 20 primary school children. The thought of this sent me into meltdown - as if I am going to stand up and coach a group of able-bodied uncontrollable children who have never met me, and have probably never come across Cerebral Palsy, before! So, it was agreed I could be assessed coaching a group of people of my choice as long as I organised it. As I want to go into Paralympic/Disability sport career wise and I virtually have a whole host of people with Cerebral Palsy at my finger tips, I decided I'd do a disability session.
So, I asked Laura (who I met through CP Teens UK) and Rebecca (who I went to school with), and Ben (my training partner) to be my participants. Laura & Rebecca both have Cerebral Palsy, and Ben is an amputee.
Laura and Rebecca both identified the first little 'issue'! Both of them are my best friends, and I was being assessed for University, which obviously meant we couldn't mess about. They both said, "We're so going to make you laugh!" ... cheers guys! And going by the laughing fits I and Rebecca had at school, I was actually scared by the threats!
'Issue' number 2 happened at the actual assessment - Ben didn't turn up ... that was my little coaching plan all messed up!
And then, of course, the old Cerebral Palsy caused 'issue' number 3! Me coaching Laura & Rebecca was a bit like the blind leading the blind, or the 'palsied leading the palsied' as we came up with! I went to do a demonstration during the assessment to show Rebecca what she had to do. As I brought my leg up to go over a mini hurdle, I lost my balance, caught my foot on Rebecca's tripod stick, and fell in slow motion flat on my face and went splat on the track! Bear in mind this was midway through my assessment, I had to literally gulp back my laughing fit! Both of us started swearing under our breaths - Rebecca was then giggling for the rest of my assessment and I didn't dare make eye contact with her! It was like a Carry On scene and they've not let me live it down since!
Afterwards, my tutor asked me some questions about the session and Rebecca was behind her doing impressions of me going flying, I thought I was going to explode!
Just before the 'splat' on the track ... so close to getting photographic evidence!