Despite how the season ended, I was still able to finish the season with my best ever national rankings! Even ranking #1 for the first time in my career, and in one of my favourite distances, the 200m. During the winter off-season I worked really hard to recover and come back stronger.
Come January this year, me and my training squad spent 10 days in Spain for a training camp which was absolutely brilliant. It was well timed that at the end of the training camp there is a half marathon (Medio Maraton Almeria) which we all entered prior to the camp. The objective of this for me was purely to see what difference the training camp had made as we were able to do lots of road training, something which I haven’t done much of prior other than pushing along the seafront. And as a track athlete, and a sprinter nonetheless, it was very different putting in so many miles but my body welcomed it and I was feeling really excited at the prospect of crossing the finish line for my first ever half marathon. As it was a local event, it’s not an event that is known by other wheelchair athletes so I knew that I would have to push the whole 13 miles on my own with nobody to work with. Despite this and the little road training I had going into this, I finished the race and crossed the line in an incredible 1 hr 1 min!! Just 11 minutes outside the world record. I was absolutely over the moon, and my coach and I realised that there is a huge potential for me to reach great success in road races as well as the track.
Once I was back home from Spain, I had qualified and was invited to compete in the elite division of the Vitality Big Half. As this would’ve been my 2nd ever half marathon in the space of 4 weeks, it again was a matter of just getting to the finish line. Road races are a completely different ball game because each event/course is different, and for me I still have to build my confidence of propelling myself across a course that is changing in surface, gradient etc. Early into the Big Half we went through a tunnel and on the downhill I believe my speedometer recorded my top speed as 31.5mph!!! It was super scary yet exhilarating at the same time. A little further into the race and we came across sections of road which was cobbled – they were a nightmare! I was in a pack with 2 other female racers who ultimately finished 2nd and 3rd, but once we got to the cobbles I had to stop and pull over to tighten my wheels as bouncing around on the cobbles had loosened them and they were going to fall off! If it wasn’t for that I am confident I would’ve stuck with the pack and got on the podium. Oh well, it’s all experience! And it was certainly great fun to be a part of!
So that’s kind of it for now, as the world stops to tackle Coronavirus, uncertainty lingers and myself and my training partners wander what the season will bring – if anything! But I am safe and well, training within the comfort of my own home which is the most I can do for now. I hope you too are keeping safe and well.
I do believe I had applied to you for funding towards new racing wheels, and unfortunately I haven’t reached the total needed to buy them yet. But I have your contribution ready and waiting for when I can make the purchase. And I’ll be sure to send you more updates as I go, and any photos from events.
I have a couple action shots of me from the Vitality Big Half marathon this year, I hope you like them as much as I do!