Thursday, 21 June 2012

Halfway through!!!

I am pleased to report that I am now over halfway through my challenge. On Tuesday I did my second two hours of table tennis at Cheltenham Premier Table Tennis club, which was my tenth sport ticked off the list! I feel quite happy with my table tennis escapades, I am now able to spin the ball and do a decent rally. I even beat someone in a little mini match too so had a small victory.

I am a one woman sports machine at the moment- I have started wheelchair rugby and have my final session on Saturday, I went diving yesterday and have 2 more sessions left (await a blog post with pics and maybe even a video in 2 weeks). I loved my first diving session and can't wait for next week. I should be doing sitting volleyball as we speak but it helps if you take kit to work if going straight from there...... (so will be doing it next week). I have also had contact from a local rowing club today too so from next Saturday I will be doing that too.

Just a quick update about what's going on with my Gold Challenge. Here's the usual bit, if you are able to sponsor me, even if it's just a pound as every penny helps. I am raising money for Dementia UK who support all affected by dementia and help fund Admiral Nurses (like me!!!) If you can sponsor me, you can do here. Thank you.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

My Big Athletics Comeback!!

On bank holiday Monday I made my big return to the athletics track! Well, big return may be stretching it but I was definitely there! For the Gold Challenge you have to take part in 3 hours of training or a competitive event, so thought I would do a couple of athletics events. I haven't starting running yet so entered a couple of field events- shot put and javelin.

If you remember me from my athletics days (I hung up my spikes about 10 years ago) you may remember that I was rubbish at throwing, I have always had the upper body strength of a gnat and when it comes to chucking things I just have no oomph, but, I always enjoyed doing it.

Steve and I turned up to the Prince of Wales Stadium in Cheltenham for the Brewer Games and entered on the day. I was surprised how quiet the meeting was, events were multi age group, but still people were entered in every event. I have memories of the Spartan Open etc. where all the 100metres events had 4-5 heats with semis and finals and that definitely wasn't happening here! I'm not sure whether that's the sign of the times, the fact it was slap bang in the middle of the Jubilee weekend or because it was more of a 'fun' meeting with non championship events (1k etc.) and no medals. Saying that, the same old atmosphere was there with lots of support and cheering for every event.

My first event was the Shot Put. When I was young Shot was probably my least favourite of the field events. I don't think I had picked up a Shot since at least the under 17 age group- and that is many years ago now! All I needed to remember was to push the shot (not throw it away from my neck) and to walk out the back. My first two throws were legal and I got the very long distance of 3.92. My last 2 throws were no throws for throwing it away from my neck. I was happy with that- it's not long but it was a mark and that's what I came for!

After a couple of hours of spectating it was time for the javelin. I used to love javelin when I was younger, as I said above I was not 'naturally talented' at it, but really enjoyed it. Our competition consisted of under 15s up so were about 15 people competing so I didn't get a chance for a practice throw (but doubt that would have made a difference anyway). When throwing the javelin it has to land point downwards. I was very pleased that all 4 of my throws were legal. My throws weren't long- I got the grand distance of 7.93 but baring in mind my PB was on 10.28 when younger I don't think it was that bad (for me!)

I had loads of fun at the athletics track and I really got the bug to get into it again. I am going to start slowly jogging at the start of June to see if my knee tolerates it and Cheltenham Harriers have a series of open meetings in July that I am hoping to do a couple more events. I am also hoping to do a 5k park run before the end of my challenge too. There are also a couple of local clubs that look welcoming so I am determined to join and properly get back into it (it's got to help with operation size 8 wedding dress too!)

Next week I am doing my first rifle shooting session on Monday and have my final table tennis session on Thursday. I am waiting for lots of clubs to get back to me but I am hoping to squeeze another sport in next week- I am thinking it will be wheelchair rugby on Saturday but I am waiting for confirmation. Will let you know.

As usual- here is my usual plea! I am doing all these sports to raise money for Dementia UK. I am getting closer to my goal of £2012 but still have a little way to go. If you can help at all- even if it is only a pound please do. You can sponsor me here.  Dementia UK do amazing work helping people who are affected by dementia and improving quality of life. They support Admiral Nurses (like me) and help carers nationwide. Dementia UK is an awesome cause and every penny helps them.

Friday, 1 June 2012

More fencing and table tennis.

For my Gold Challenge this week I did another 2 sports sessions. On Wednesday I did another session of fencing. Don't you think I look rather fetching in all my gear? During this week's session it did take it's toll a little bit on my knee and I had to sit out of the free fencing at the end, but managed to do most of it and am learning more and
more. We have been learning different attacking and defensive moves and I am slowly getting used to all the parrying, blocking etc. The fencing beginner's course is really good, Cotswold Fencing Club run them a few times a year and they are a great taster to the sport. They are trying to make fencing more accessable as most people only get the oppertunity to do fencing at public school or university and they're doing a great job. The club is doing really well. It's my last week doing fencing next week (there is another week of the course but I am away with work so can't make the last week) so will have to make a big effort next week (and make sure that knee is strapped up well!)
On Thursday I went along to Cheltenham Premier Table Tennis Club (yes, I found it this time). The Club play in the sports halls of Cheltenham (was ladies) College, this one was in the junior school. I arrived exactly at 7pm and was a little concerned that there was only me and the coach there but within 10 minutes the hall was full. We had about 10 tables and they all had at least 2 people playing. There were a few seniors playing in a mini league and about 20 children playing too. I was surprised by the numbers there. I started off playing with the club secretary, even though I knew he was going very easy on me I was happy I was able to keep the rallies going and wasn't making a complete arse of myself. When he went off to play his league match I was left with the coach and got about an hour of 1-1 training. My earlier confidence was quickly gone when I realised how tough table tennis is. I managed to adequately do forehand and backhand serves and managed a few spins. He did try and help me do a return shot I can only call the 'swish' as that's what you do with your hips. I failed quite miserably. That's my aim for my next session, to master the swish. They're shut for half term next week so I'll be back for my final session the week after.

I have a few more sports planned for next week. Going to an athletics open meeting on Monday to do some throws (not up for running yet). Any athletes got any hints? It has been many years since I picked up a shot put, then on Wednesday I have my final fencing session. That will take me to 10 events- half way there! The next Monday Steve and I are going to do a session of rifle shooting, am quite excited about that. Over the last few days I have been emailing local sports clubs. I have contacted the kayaking, gymnastics and (gulp) diving. I am scared about doing diving but it will be a real achievment if I can do a proper dive by the end of it (from of course a lower board). Luckily 5metre is their highest as I wouldn't go near a 10metre!

As usual I have my little beg for sponsorship at the bottom. I am aiming to raise £2012 by the opening ceremony for Dementia UK, even if you can only sponsor me a pound it all helps.You can sponsor me here. If you don't want to sponsor me online you can tweet, FB me or email me at and I can give you the details.

Thank you :-)