Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Regaining fitness

The last few months have not been great for my fitness. Various illnesses and injuries have compounded to mean that I wasn't able to train as intensively, and boy oh boy did I feel it at our first wheelchair racing session after New Year. The problems had been there since before Christmas: throughout December, my times weren't great because of my dodgy lung and serious left arm issues (i.e. I couldn't move it). My last track session of 2016 saw me doing several 400m pieces, the fastest of which was still 10 seconds slower than my PB from May. I was in a new seating position which although odd-feeling should have made me faster, so was no excuse really. My three word summary in my training diary tells it all: "Need to train!"
Champions are made in the training, and all that jazz.
Because our squad sessions are on a Monday, we missed two sessions over Christmas (Boxing Day and New Year's bank holiday). Come the 9th of January, the fitness I'd barely had a month before had pretty much disappeared. I was the only person there so I had minimal rest but the six 400m intervals I did just felt dead. It wasn't even that my arms were sore, or that I was out of breath - I just had no energy to move. I felt pretty despondent about it, so a few days later I headed to the gym for a brutal erg to jolt my irritating body into action!

Friday, 20 January 2017

New job

Just before Christmas, I successfully interviewed for a new job at a local primary school, and my first day was earlier this week. So far, I absolutely love it, but part of the reason why I love the job so much has made me realise that in my last job I was not adequately supported and I was legally (and morally!) entitled to a much better deal. I'll discuss it below, but first, a few things about the new job and why I like it.
Given that this is a post about my new job at a primary school, all the pictures will be only tenuously relevant!
My new role is as a Learning Mentor (LM), which I had assumed would be like a Teaching Assistant (TA), but apparently is quite different. The biggest difference for me is that I can be far more autonomous in my new job. In the last job, I basically sat in teacher's lessons and supported the students in keeping up with the lesson plan. Now, I take children out of lessons and what we do in our sessions is basically up to me and my professional judgement.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Half a life later...

When I was 13, I broke my back doing gymnastics (ouch). Now, at the age of 26, I'm back - yes, ladies and gentlemen, I have joined a gymnastics club!
Now, obviously, I'm not going to be doing the same stuff as I did when I was little. So far I've had two sessions and they've both been pretty restrained, but it's amazing for me to experiment in the gym and discover ways I can use the apparatus to strengthen my body and gain more control over my movements. I'm able to take advantage of subsidised classes tailored specifically for people with disabilities, and since I'm the only disabled gymnast at the moment I get a coach all to myself. It gets intense, but it's really good fun and I can feel it being helpful already.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

RDA Vaulting video

Here's a video I made for an RDA talk to show what vaulting is all about. The talk was aimed at potential donors who weren't especially horsey, and who found the idea of vaulting pretty exciting! I made it before heading to the English and British Championships, so it goes up as far as September 2016. You can see it below or click here to find it on YouTube.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

EDS feelings

Yesterday a new article came out on the BBC website (you can read it here). It's all about people for whom normal anaesthetic procedures don't work - either because it takes huge amounts of an anaesthetic to have any impact, or because unusual types of anaesthetic have to be used instead. It's an interesting topic and something that is recognised anecdotally by pretty much all EDS-ers, and more formally by various doctors - although not by anywhere near enough of them!
Like many others, I've often just believed that local anaesthetics just aren't very good. It's a reasonable assumption to make - if you ever some dental work done, for instance, and you're given medication which makes your face a bit wonky but doesn't stop you feeling, you'll just assume that the power of a local anaesthetic is limited.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017


Welcome to the first blog post of 2017! After a break over Christmas and New Year, it's time to get started with the year.

I'm not really keen on NY resolutions. I want to be able to resolve to be different or better at any point in the year, not just in January, and I also want to feel that I can survive through January without feeling that something has to be changed in my life to make me a better person. I also want to accept that some things are doing OK and messing around with them may do more harm than good.
Because when you're a spoonie you can't afford to spend effort on the bits of you that aren't broken!!
Nevertheless, January is an obvious time to reflect and, more importantly, to plan. Reflection first!