Above are some pretty awesome pictures of the training camp in Portugal, and of my new frame made by Tharsus.
I’ve been on holiday from sport for 4 weeks, but I’m back on the ball now and even more interesting than ever. Had a great holiday to Tenerife with Rachel which consisted of crazy bingo, winding up Mackems, buying a silly hat off a man from Senegal for a Euro and a bit of drinking, but nothing to trouble the England Rugby team. Got back in the early hours off the morning but was straight up the next day to go to Northumberland Sport’s SportsAbility event where I met Mascot Mandeville and lots of enthusiastic kids doing Paralympic sports. I also got some great news when returning from Tenerife that through Sainsbury’s and the Caravan Charity I was chosen to receive a special award of £2000 for my willingness and openness to support Sainsbury’s, over the past few months I have visited all 16 Sainsbury’s supermarkets in the north east to talk to the staff and spread the word about the Paralympics. I even went to Fulwell the day before the Wear-Tyne derby, now that’s commitment. On my last visit yesterday I got stuck in the lift at the Gosforth shop and wondered if I would get out in time to compete at the Paralympics, but we were rescued thankfully, I blame the other 3 people in the lift for being to heavy.
Other exciting developments to happen have been my retention on the World Class Performance Programme for meaning I have been on the programme since it came in back in 1999, thanks to UK Athletics and UK Sport. Grainger PLC have renewed their contract with me which is a massive boost. I must also give special thanks to Easibathe who have fitted the bungalow with little ramps for me.
So, my holibobs are over booo, but to be honest I was gagging to get back into it after 2 weeks so I’m really proud that I managed to have 4 weeks off training, I needed it though as I haven’t had a proper break since 2009. So this week was my first week back and I’m starting to feel like my normal self again, it sounds stupid but my body is so used to being battered every day that when I stop battering it my body seizes up and shuts down. I’m excited about the next 6 months, it’s my first proper winter’s training since late 2009 due to the timing of this year’s World Championships. I love winter training, it’s when I come alive and I know how important it is to get this part right if I want to achieve my goals next year. I’ll take my pains now and make my gains now and we’ll see the results next summer.
Of course this training year has added significance with the target being London 2012, it’s a bit surreal to think I’ve started preparing for the competition that has been in the back of my mind for 6 years, the competition that convinced me to keep going in 2009 and not have a hip replacement – It’s here and it starts now for me. This next 10 months or so is all about man versus hip, as you all probably know I love a challenge and since April 2008 my hip has been a hell of a challenge. It has steadily deteriorated to the point where now it is pretty much locked at a 90 degree angle and I cannot put any weight through it. I take enough tablets to rattle in order to take the edge off the pain however when I think I’ve reached the most painful it can get, my hip keeps finding new levels of pain. The hip has probably gotten the better of me over the last year but I have a new resolve to meet it head on, know this is the last leg of the journey. I don’t regret the decision not to have the operation, I think it was the only way I could compete in London and be fully prepared, there have been times I thought I might not make it, particularly in the last year, but I know I can get myself in top shape for next year and make sure the hip holds me back as little as possible.
Let battle commence.