Archives For athletics

The 11th of August. 

I have felt like total shit all day. It took me hours to go to sleep again, although at least I had no headache this time. 

This morning, I did a blog post, and I tidied up the blanket. Generally though, I have been curled up, trying to decide what to make for Pete and Sophie’s twins, and trying to ignore the fact that I am cold, tired and still full of wind. Indelicate I know, but it’s so frustrating how you can start burping after breakfast, eat multiple Rennies, yet still be massively uncomfortable come the evening.

I am considering taking Zopiclone tonight – maybe just one tablet, because I have to get up at stupid time tomorrow and I need to be properly conscious. I really hope I don’t feel quite so terrible in the morning, because I would like to enjoy the trip. 

The 12th of August. 

Phew. Pooped. Been up since five but it has been worth it. I have been a bit burpy and in some pain but I’m okay. 

So yes. The same way as last week, we bought breakfast and coffee at the station, and our journey down was largely uneventful, save for us having to move the man who was in our seats. Obviously the Euston people were nowhere to be seen when we arrived, so we got off on our own and sped down the road to St. Pancras. We almost missed our javelin train, but I got a seat, then a lot of evil looks from older women who had to stand. 

No messing about with the lifts in Westfield today; we went up in the car park and found Christine in the same place as a week ago. We made our way to our seats, but upon arrival, found the space full of fridges, so we had been reallocated. However, that was absolutely fine because we moved to seats halfway down the home straight which were way better!

First up we had the 110m hurdles in the decathlon, and in every single race at least one person fell over. Then we had some important races – the 4×100 and 4x400m relays, men and women. Our team got through to the finals of all, and we did lots of shouting and clapping, but what was most exciting was seeing Usain Bolt come out to do the heat, because he wasn’t expected to. Mommy absolutely lost her shit – I have never seen her more thrilled. It’s so funny, listening to the cheers follow the runners round the track. Less funny is when they tried to make us all sing Hey Jude, because nobody knew the words. Argh. 

We left after the 4×400, once we knew our guys were through as fastest losers. Since we’d had so much time spare last week, we went to Westfield for a leisurely lunch, and had pizza at Francis Manca. I would recommend, because their crust is soft, doughy and delicious. 

Needed some green juice and caffeine so went to Pret, then bade farewell to Christine and began the trek back across London. Euston team actually got us on the train in a timely fashion, and I listened to the new Kesha album all the way home. 

The 5th of August.

Oh god such a long day. I am in so much pain. I got up at ten to five because we had to be at New Street for twenty to seven, and that is too early for a Saturday. When we got there, we bought coffee and breakfast pastries, then sat in the assistance office until it was train time.

Arriving at Euston, we did not have time to wait for even five minutes for the ramp, so we just sorted ourselves out. Bought lunch from Pret, and a coffee to put in the thermos for later (Olympic Park coffee is vile). Then we bombed down the road to St. Pancras and got on the javelin to Stratford. I got the last seat, by sheer dumb luck. Thankful, because I can’t stand for six minutes. Upon arrival, we had to join the queue of wheelchairs for the lift, then had to navigate Westfield, trying to find a way to get to the corner of John Lewis where we were meeting Christine. The first lift was broken, and marshals didn’t know where we should go, so we ended up going all the way to the other end of the mall to find a working lift, then doubled back so we could finally get on the correct route and meet Christine. Found her, then joined the crowds heading for the Olympic Stadium. Got settled in our seats, in the disabled position just above the start line, so we had a great view of that, plus some of the heptathlon events that were going on.

For most of the morning, my eyes were killing me, and there was a freezing cold wind which I couldn’t seem to find respite from from, despite even putting up an umbrella to use as a windbreak, so I couldn’t enjoy myself as fully as I might have. I saw a lot through my camera lens, between drowning my eyes in drops and screwing them up tight. At one point, I wanted to drink the coffee we’d brought in, so I poured some out only to find it tasted really weird. I drank a bit more, then remembered that the woman behind us at Pret had ordered a soy milk cappuccino. We must have got that. No wonder it tasted so disgusting.

We saw lots of events – no finals, just heats, but it’s always fun to shout at people to run faster, and groan with everybody in the crowd when someone knocks the high jump bar down. It was so sad when KJT hit the bar on her final attempt, and we all watched her curl up in a ball on the mat, poor thing. We all felt it.

The weather made things interesting; we had several showers, and as we left, some huge rumbles of thunder. I’d been covered in the giant wheelchair poncho, so didn’t get wet when the rain came. We weren’t herded the way we were after the Anniversary Games, so we got back to Stratford much quicker than we expected. Started talking to a couple on the platform who also had a wheelchair, to find that their son is having a stem cell transplant this week! Tried to share the successes of my life to give them hope. No liver failure chat for first-timers.

We arrived at St. Pancras just after two, so had just over an hour before we needed to be at Euston. I suggested we go to Origin to have an actual nice coffee, so that took up a good half an hour, then we scooted down the rest of the round.

We picked up some reading material for the train, plus some Pom Bears, then off to the assistance office again! We’d barely sat down before we were sent to the platform, despite our train not departing for nearly thirty five minutes. We were told the chap would meet us with the ramp, so we waited out in the freezing wind for him to appear. After ten minutes, there was no one, so I rang to check the situation, and she said he was coming. We waited another ten minutes, and still nothing, so we hauled the chair on to the train, only to find the wheelchair position floor was covered in food and some other crap. I didn’t really feel like covering my wheels in that, so we folded up the chair and I sat next to Mommy. This turned out to be a smart move, because a couple got on the train with an old Westie who sat under the chair in front of me so I had a dog friend for the journey home! Then we picked up some pizzas for dinner and have about an hour in the house before I have to go out again for Regina Spektor tonight. Busy busy busy.

The 6th of August.

So. Tired. So. Much. Pain.

Regina Spektor was beautiful last night. She was, frustratingly, half an hour late on, but was so charming and brilliant, I forgave her. I never thought I’d hear Us live and it was so gorgeous. She is one of few singers who are just as good as their record if not better in person. And I was spotted by Hayley from school so we caught up afterwards which was delightful.

I am very tired now though. I got to bed after midnight, and slept until ten. I’ll still be having an early night tonight I think. Plus my back hurts all over, and my neck, and my bum. Having zero fat on there means sitting on non-padded seats all day leaves me in much, much pain.

This morning, once I was actually up, I wrote about yesterday, which was a long one. I’ll have lots of blog work to do tomorrow – got to get the photos off my camera before I do a post as well.

After lunch, I crocheted. Just crocheted squares for Michaela’s baby blanket and watched the new Orphan Black, which made me do a small cry.

We wear our scarves just like a noose
But not ’cause we want eternal sleep
And though our parts are slightly used
New ones are slave labour you can keep

We’re living in a den of thieves
Rummaging for answers in the pages
We’re living in a den of thieves
And it’s contagious

The 23rd of July.

Wow I am in a lot of pain. A ridiculous amount. I cannot move without it and even sitting still it’s there, just not quite as excruciating. But that is because of all I’ve done (or not done) today so let’s rewind to the beginning.

Meant to get up at five but woke an hour before that. Not ideal but OH WELL, it meant I had extra time to have coffee and not get stressed. Always glad for that.

We had an interesting start in the assistance office; a guy came in and was very annoyed because the station staff wouldn’t let him through the barriers because he didn’t have a ticket. This was because he had been out all night and lost his friends, his phone and his wallet. All he had was his keys. He was obviously still a bit drunk because he couldn’t grasp the concept of having to dial 91 before the phone number he wanted to get an outside line when trying to call his grandparents to help him. The woman dealing with him had the absolute patience of a saint. The grandparents didn’t seem able to come to his aid, and he was getting more and more wound up, so in the end, I took a tenner from my purse and just gave it to him so he could buy himself a ticket. He was only going to Lichfield so it wasn’t going to cost him that much but it was fine. He then wouldn’t leave until I gave him some details so he could pay me back. I scribbled down my name and number but I am not expecting him to contact me. I don’t suppose he’ll even remember what they’re for. I just hope he got home safe.

Our journey was not particularly exciting. On the train, read the paper, listened to the Ghostbusters soundtrack. Rhythm of the Night has become my jam since seeing the film. Just before we arrived, a girl was about to go to the toilet, which I am always sat next to, being in the disabled space, and she suddenly said my name. I looked round and it was Charlotte who I met when our TCT group went to the Royal Albert Hall for the comedy night a few years ago. She has a brain tumour, but from what she said, it seems to be relatively dormant. She’s getting married, so I got to see her engagement ring and it is gorgeous. She and her fiancé were down for an exhibition. Must arrange to meet up with her; it’s been far too long. Euston assistance was not so good this time – a Virgin chap got the ramp for me and the man appeared as we were leaving. He looked pretty irked by the fact that I was off the train without him but we waited the five minutes that he’s supposed to arrive within so it is not my problem. Be on time mate.

We went up the road to St. Pancras which was full to bursting of what seemed to be school parties with suitcases, so we didn’t hang around and went straight to platform 12 to get on a bullet train to Stratford International. There was some fun lift Tetris with us and two people with bicycles, but we manoeuvred ourselves successfully. We folded up the chair once on the train and Mommy stayed with it in the vestibule, and I sat with a family from Yorkshire who were going to the games too. We were lucky to get on when we did, because it filled up to the point of sardinedom. Mmm, sweaty. I was glad our trip was only going to take 6 minutes.

When we arrived at Stratford, we went over to Westfield to get ourselves some lunch. Waitrose was straight ahead, so we picked up sandwiches from there, then spotted a Bread Ahead stand! DOUGHNUTS. They had about four left, so I bought a chocolate one for me and a crème caramel one for Christine. We came across a horde of people going to the Olympic Park, so we waited out of the way of them to meet up with her. While we stood outside John Lewis, Mommy suddenly started hitting me on the arm. I didn’t know what I’d done wrong, then realised it was out of excitement because Michael Johnson (four-time gold medallist and very famous sprinter/now presenter of athletics) had just walked past and she is a massive fan.  She was like me when I saw Adele in Liberty.

Christine emerged from the crowd, and we joined the mass of bodies heading for the stadium. I’d forgotten how far it is. Past the Orbit and it’s terrifying-looking slide, a group of people surrounding Gabby Logan, taking photos of her doing a piece to camera (weird), and we finally found our gate.

We were in wheelchair position seats, and had a really great view over the whole stadium. We were at the finish end, facing the line itself so it was perfect for taking photos. We were also in the shade and it stayed that way all day, thankfully, as we could see the people on the opposite side in the sunshine just baking, fanning themselves all afternoon.

We began with the para-athletic events, and the day got off to a great start with Richard Whitehead breaking his own world record! Unfortunately neither Jonnie Peacock nor David Weir won their races, but hopefully they do at the Paralympics, when it actually matters. Libby Clegg got a new world record too, with a guide she’s only just started running with.

There was a half hour break before the able-bodied athletes came in, so we ate our lunches and took the opportunity to use the toilets which were very close by. To kick it off, some of the big names were brought out on the backs of trucks, being driven around the track with flames being sent up to emphasise how exciting it was.

I won’t list all the events we saw – there are photos. We witnessed two false starts, both by team GB athletes which was very annoying, for them and us! Poor Martin Rooney. Jess Ennis-Hill and KJT were long-jumping away, and I’m hoping I got some decent shots of them. The men’s relay was a huge success, with the GB teams taking first and second place. Admittedly the Jamaicans weren’t there but still, it bodes well for Rio.

The last and main event was the 5000m with Mo Farah. The first twelve-thirteen minutes are not particularly thrilling, but for the last couple of laps the crowd got louder and louder, and for the final one, everyone was on their feet, clapping and yelling at Mo to win. It was clear that he would, but to actually witness it with my own eyes, to be a part of that moment was pretty special. It was nice to feel great about this country for a minute.

Leaving was slow, to say the least. There was only one way to go, with everyone being herded like sheep in the same direction by stewards. There were even people with stop/go lollipops which everyone obeyed without question. Only in Britain would that system work. At several points we had to cut across the flow of traffic to get to step-free access, but generally most people were very accommodating. One of the great novelties of being in a wheelchair is that people will apologise to you and even break into a run for absolutely no reason.

We eventually got to the station, where there was a very long queue for trains back to London. However, a member of staff came up to us and said we could go straight to the front. Another wheelchair perk. We went down to the platform where a train was waiting and in no time at all we were away again!

At the other end, we made our return to Euston where we bought some food and went to see the assistance people. We had open return tickets back (even though I’m certain I booked a specific train but that’s what the machine printed out so whatever, I’m not going to quarrel with it) so I wasn’t sure if they’d be able to help us, but we were sent straight to a platform. However, when we got there, we couldn’t get on the train because they hadn’t been able to couple the carriages. In the end it got fixed though, we got on in coach G and were home an hour earlier than planned. Smashing.

The 24th of July.

Agony. Agony all day. I can’t stand up straight. Not even in an “I can but it hurts” kind of way, in a my body physically will not do it kind of way. I can’t lie flat on my back without putting my knees up. I don’t walk, I waddle. It hurts all the time. It feels like my pelvis is literally crumbling inside me. Hospital tomorrow; I need some drugs.

This morning I was writing, and this afternoon, Daddy and I went to see Star Trek Beyond. Every scene with Chekov broke my heart, and there’s a lot of them. It’s so tragic. Plus there’s a whole thread about Ambassador Spock/Leonard Nimoy’s death, so a lot of it is pretty bleak. There are comedic moments too, but I’d expect nothing less with Simon Pegg as a writer. Of course there are flaws but I wasn’t expecting it to be amazing, just an entertaining couple of hours and a distraction from the pain, which it was.

When we got back, I decided I wanted to make a video, to ask Jeremy Hunt why we can’t afford second stem cell transplants now. I didn’t feel like writing was enough – I want people to hear how passionate I am about this, to see me, and a blog post won’t quite do that. First I needed to plan what I was going to say, then record it and not hate it. It took a while. I managed to write what I needed fairly easily, it was the delivery that was tricky. Looking at my notes and the camera was not easy. I had to stop so I could have dinner, then I was straight back upstairs. I finally got a set up that worked, then I just had to keep recording myself until I got it right. By ten to nine it was done, and I’ve sent it to Anthony Nolan before I share it. It needs to be done right to have the impact I want. I’m hoping it’s going to be big. I need it to be. I will do anything to get this reversed, even if it requires being on film and hearing myself out loud, which I cannot stand. Please watch it and share it on Twitter, Facebook, anywhere you want. Get all your friends and watch it and ask them to spread it around too. Click here to email your MP with a letter asking them to write to Jeremy Hunt to ask him to intervene and change this decision.

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Richard Whitehead after his record-breaking win.

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Richard Whitehead after his record-breaking win.

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Jonnie Peacock post-race.

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Jess Ennis-Hill.

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Relay win!

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Shara Proctor.

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Martin Lewis, the moneysupermarket man for some reason?

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Before the false start.

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The empty lane.

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KJT.

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No caption required.

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The 23rd of August.

Sunday rest day. It took me a while to get to sleep last night because I had heartburn, but Gaviscon helped with that. I’m finding that happens more often at the moment so I need to keep an eye on it. This morning was Sunday Brunch while I wrote up yesterday and finished reading the paper. I was appalling at the puzzles. 

The athletics world championships has been on today – you can always tell because you can hear Mommy screaming at the TV. I managed to drag her away briefly to wash my hair before we watched the incredibly stressful 100m final. Nobody wanted Gatlin to win because he is a drugs cheat and it would have been terrible for the sport. Thankfully, Bolt won and everyone was delighted. 

Since the important races were over, Mommy went to see Grandma and I watched Agent Carter and Nashville while I started having a go at a different style of hat. It looks like I’ll be making a few more foxes too. 

The 24th of August.

Argh I am being plagued by indigestion and it’s so frustrating because nothing in my diet has changed. I’m going to have to ask Ram for a replacement for lansoprazole or see if we can up the dose.

I’ve got three orders for fox hats so this morning I made the base of the smallest one and it’s adorable. After lunch, I went to the gym, but two thirds of the way through, I was struck down by indigestion and found it too difficult to continue. Mommy came to pick me up and we went to Boots to look for a remedy as the Gaviscon we have is peppermint flavoured and it hurts my mouth. We now have orange Rennie which is tolerable. 

If it isn’t one thing it’s another with my body. I’m getting stronger, but I just can’t have everything be fine. I overheard a guy complaining about his progress, how he’s only able to pull ten kilos more than he could two years ago (presumably something happened) and I felt like saying last year I couldn’t get out of a chair without help so don’t be so hard on yourself. It takes time.