Ok so there has been a slight time delay between my paralympic experience and the blogging of it. What can I say except I am finding the adjusting to getting back to work tricky!
Before I regale you about our fantastic time 10 days ago I need to take you back 14 years!!!
14 years ago I was working in a secondary school as a teaching assistant. Mainly I worked with the dyslexics and the delinquents, but I also had the privilege to work with a young girl who had cerebral palsy. I helped her in practical lessons such as cooking, art and textiles. Over the three years I got to know her well and at the age of almost 16 Natalie Jones got selected to represent Great Britain in swimming in the 2000 Paralympics in Sydney. Everyone at school was so proud of her. Over the years I have sporadically kept in touch with her (all my fault) but I have always followed her achievements and spent many an afternoon cheering her on in front of the TV especially when she was in Bejing and Athens.
I was thrilled to hear she had made team GB for the London games and promptly applied for tickets for every event she was competing in. We were lucky enough to get tickets to two evening sessions in the pool. I was so excited to be able to see her compete. The Monday before the Friday we were attending Natalie got a bronze medal in the 200m medley, narrowly missing out of the silver. I was so pleased and excited for her such a huge achievement having competed in 4 Paralympics and now at 27 years old she is no longer a spring chicken!
Unfortunately come the Friday Nat did not make it through to the finals, but all was not
lost after a quick exchange of texts I learnt she still had to go to the pool just in case someone who was competing could not make it. Imagine my excitement when madam and I arrived at the pool and with the aid of binoculars we could spot her on the otherside of the pool. Again after a quick exchange of texts she was able to spot us in the crowd and give us a wave. Madam and I were thrilled and even more so when Nat agree to meet us before she had to retire to the village to rest up for her final swim the next day.
Tears flowed as we exchanged hugs and tried to squeeze 11 years in to as many minutes.
As I sat watching these incredible athletes with their varying disabilities I was humbled and vowed then and there to stop moaning about my running. Here are people who overcome huge difficulties to train and compete in their sport. Heres me moaning about early mornings, achy legs, hills, times, intervals, miles, you name it I can moan about it. No more. I vowed that day I would no longer moan about my running. I am able-bodied and the only restrictions I have are self imposed!