Well, I’m about 4 weeks into winter training and I’m still alive and well. To be honest I’m better than alive, I’m happier than a pig rolling around in the proverbial. So far everything about this winter has been positive, even NUFC are doing scarily well with an almost unbeaten league record (Man City doesn’t count as they’re cheating with all their spending) and 3rd in the league for the first time in donkeys years – I’m eager to get those statements in my blog before our next 2 games, and before the Tottenham game tonight, although by the time you read this we may well be down to 4th.
As usual the thing that I dedicated most of my precious spare time and money to tried to push the self-destruct button recently, with the corporate renaming of St. James’ Park. I’m not too fussed about it, it will always be St. James’ Park to everyone who knows of it and if someone wants to put a lot of money into the club to get their company’s logo on the side of St. James’ Park, so be it. There, glad I could clear that up.
So it’s coming up to 9 months until the Paralympic Games next year, nine months that will go very quick. In a weird way it’s like I’ve just become pregnant and am going to give birth to an awesome performance in 9 months – I’m already getting cravings, mainly for digestive biscuits.
This year we have changed lots about my training in order to improve next year. It’s taken a while to sink into my skull but I’ve finally accepted that I can’t do everything on my own, at I need more help that I used to in order to get the most out of my body. For about two years I’d been doing my own strength & conditioning and had become stale, whilst still working as hard as I always do but just not progressing.
I am now working one to one with Gary Nash and Tom Clay at the Unit Gym in Newcastle, the gym is under a railway bridge and is absolutely not a poncey gym – apart from when Tom has his Glee music on. I’m feeling the benefits already, basically Gary makes me do things that I wouldn’t make myself do, even for someone as motivated as me, there’s a point where you need that little push to go past, and he is certainly pushing me. Every session is a challenge and a war – that is what I’ve missed in my gym sessions since UKA stopped my S&C support. Very grateful to Gary for his help and I’m sure it’s going to have a massive impact on performances next year.
I’ve been overwhelmed by the number of people who have told me they got tickets to watch me compete next year, it gives me even more motivation to be the best prepared I can be. I’ve been very frustrated the last couple of years that things haven’t always gone how I’d liked but now this is a fresh start. When I started at the Paralympics you virtually had to drag people into the stadium to watch it, now people are paying good money to get tickets and some sports are selling out, it’s massive progression. I for one, want to put on the best show possible for everyone coming to watch. I know in my mind I am defending champion from Beijing, what happened there was wrong but it’s now accepted, and I go into London looking to defend my title and undefeated record with honour, pride and bravery.
The man versus hip battle is going well, it has been botoxed and cortisoned, and it is behaving a lot better.