This year has unfortunately not been the most fruitful in my competitive career so far. I had high hopes that all manner of things would work in my favour, the stars would align and my future ambitions would slot neatly into place, alongside my hard work in training. But life isn’t like that, is it?
The first hiccup was putting my house on the market in February, but only having 10 viewings in six months, with no offers, and all potential buyers being put off by the building yard behind my house, where potentially 52 houses will be built on a ‘brown field’ site. It’s classified as this because a couple of tiny caravans used to be on the field behind me, but let’s not get started on the permissive Planning Laws brought in by the Government, or the forecast for 8 million (yes, you read that right) new homes I’m told are needed to house the millions of Immigrants coming to the U.K. soon…
This totally scuppered my plans to relocate to a place with better transport links, a 50 m pool and Athletics track on my doorstep, none of which I have in rural Lincolnshire. It would also have allowed me pay off my Mortgage plus pay off the debts I’ve accumulated with competing at Ironman Championships, easing the burden of being self-financing with no current sponsors. It has also meant that it is now too late to try and qualify for the Tokyo Paralympics in Paratriathlon, despite knowing that my form has come good and my performance would have equaled those women already competing on the ITU circuit.
I’m also still without a car since losing ‘Viva’ the VW last November, and this has curtailed my racing season, having to rely on my good friend Sue to ferry me all the way to Ireland for a Duathlon, to Gatwick for a flight to Florida and recently to Heathrow for a race in New York that was subsequently cancelled. (It’s amazing how much gear you can fit in a Vauxhall Mokka though!)
The silver lining to all this is that I was able to purchase a new racing wheelchair to replace my six year old one with the help of the Challenged Athlete Foundation and Mablethorpe Running Club. I flew to Miami in June for a week, and watched it being made in just three days. The bittersweet side is that now I have fine-tuned my position in my first solid kneeler and am considerably faster, I will have no opportunity to race against the best Paratriathletes in the world.
I’m a very focused athlete and I thrive on competition; I come into race form after a series of ‘B’ races to build my fitness and I like setting goals. It feels strange to have got this far through a ‘season’ with no clear path forward and no Team to be a part of, but I’m not giving up yet!