Disabled Changing Rooms, Ankles and Sex Education

Now I have your attention blogsters, I thought I would give my friends, family and any other cool person who reads this blog an update on the latest happenings in my simple but full on life. My last blog was my race report from the Wollaton Park Cross Country Race guided by the immense Gaz Chivers who stepped in at the last moment as my first-choice guide was injured. Good on you Gaz. And, what a superb job he did. Unfortunately, I came out of the race with an ankle/foot injury. I have a history of stress fractures so naturally I was concerned.

My coach had set me a 2-hour steady run for the following day (Sunday) which I had to do on the treadmill (or “dreadmill as I euphemistically call it).” 28 minutes in to my run and my ankle and top of my foot became sore. The pain wasn’t going away so I did the sensible thing and stopped running. I knew that Mary my wife had popped into the city centre after dropping me off so I called my daughter. After passing her test just before Xmas she told me that she would be happy to give me lifts if ever I needed them. Anyway, she didn’t answer the phone. She then called me back.

“Hi babe, can you pick me up, my ankle was hurting so I had to cut my run short.”

“Oh, no daddy, sorry I’m out with my friends.”

And there I was thinking that she had made no plans for the Sunday afternoon! Silly me. Not to worry, Mary called me back and told me she was on the way back. 30 minutes later I was back home feeling a little concerned that I had done more damage to my foot than what I had initially thought.

After consulting my run coach, we decided to lay off the running for at least a week. At the end of the week (Friday 17th January 2019) my ankle and foot still felt sore, although much better than earlier on in the week. And, despite having spoken to my coach about doing other forms of cardio vascular activities such as biking and aqua jogging, I really didn’t want to do the latter. I’d done aqua jogging a number of years ago with my stress fractures, and, although it helped considerably I found it very mind numbing. So, I stuck to doing some training on my turbo trainer. For those of you who don’t know what this is it is a normal cycle where the back wheel is mounted on a roller.

I dropped my sports therapist Brian Burrows a line that weekend and heard back from him on Sunday evening. He had slots available on Monday evening at 8.30 pm or early bird around 6.30 am on Friday. I opted for the Monday evening. I booked my cab which turned up promptly at 8.10 pm. As I was helped in to the cab and strapped in it occurred to me that I had forgotten my wallet in the house…oops! Back out the cab and back in to my house to retrieve it.

On the way to Brian’s the cab driver struck up a conversation with me. Asking me what I did for a living and somehow we got on to where did I come from? I was very tempted to say,

“My mother’s womb.”

But I resisted. He was from Pakistan himself apparently. I told him about my dad’s best mate who was a Sikh and who died at the age of 50. Not much older than me…I’ll be 50 later this year. The cab driver exclaimed,

“You’re not 50! You look as though you are about 37!”

I started laughing. I don’t think the cabbie took too kindly to this telling me that he wasn’t just saying it to please me.

Anyway, I recounted this exchange to Brian while being pummelled, twisted and tortured on his treatment couch. Brian being Brian said,

“Has, what is he talking about? You look as though you are 58 mate. You look terrible!”

Good job Brian is a Sports therapist and not a sports psychologist eh? Joking aside Brian took me through some painful manipulation of my ankle and foot and then went through some rehab exercises. Diagnosing that I had first ray disfunction with tibia medial rotation. For the lay person what this means is that my big toe on my left foot isn’t engaging properly and in fact dropping which is forcing all my other toes to work extra hard and loading my ankle which is then causing other bio mechanical issues. Ankle and foot strapped up I was guided out by Brian to meet my cabbie. Different cabbie this time. As Brian walked me around the various cars parked in his drive the cab driver didn’t seem to be assisting me. In fact he was still at Brian’s door while I was standing at the end of Brian’s drive. What was going on? Eventually I found out that the cab driver, bless him, and was confused that I didn’t have Walt with me. He was asking where the dog was. Brian had to explain to him that I didn’t have Walt with me. Why on earth would I leave the building without my Guide Dog? Nice of him to check though.

Tuesday and Wends day were days set aside for more turbo training. Then, I noticed that on my training plan I had an easy run to do on Thursday. Cool. I felt the foot was gradually improving and I felt positive after Monday’s run and the treatment. I got a cab from work straight to the gym. A 20 minute journey as opposed to my usual hour on the buses. Makes all the difference.

When I got to the gym Walt and I rocked up to the reception to be greeted with the friendly receptionist,

“Hello Haseeb, what are we doing today?”

“I’m running today” I replied.

Jackie (not her real name), one of the lifeguards helped me to the disabled changing rooms. When we got to the changing rooms the door was locked, which was unusual. Jackie asked me if I had something to open the door. One of the maintenance guys who works at the gym had replaced the original lock with a Phillips screw on the outside. So, I have to use my multi tool with the Phillips head to open it. However, my concern was that there was someone inside already and what state of dress they might be in. It would have . made no odds to me of course, I mean I couldn’t see them no matter how much I tried. Not that I would want to!

“Are you sure you want me to open it Jackie” I asked.

“Yes, I think there is someone in there who shouldn’t be. I’ll check and ask them to leave.”

“OK…then” I said, and opened the door.

Jackie peered inside and said to me,

“It’s OK; they are still clothed and not naked.”

I shouted in to them saying something like,

“Hey, please can you leave the room; there is someone who has a disability who needs to use the changing room.”

The occupants locked the door again and we waited another 5 minutes. Clowie then asked me to open the door again, so I did. This time the dad and his kids left the room. As they did young Jackie, addressing the offending family, said,

“Now, you know you shouldn’t be using this room when it is there for people who really need it. That is just being selfish.”

I must commend Jackie’s professionalism and polite way in which she handled the situation. I must say, and I’ve said it before, the staff at Parklands really make my gym experience so positive. I never feel a nuisance or a hindrance. They are really inclusive.

My 40 minute run went really well. Again, I felt a bit of pain on the top of my foot but by the end of the session it had eased off considerably. I was helped back to the changing room where I showered off. As I made my way back to my kit on the other side of the room my head connected with the shower screen – thwack! Yes, it was going so well up until that point!

I pulled the alarm once ready and stood outside waiting to be assisted back in to reception. Except this time no one turned up. After what seemed liked an eternity one of the swim instructors noticed me. It was my long time friend and previous swim coach Richard Chipps of all people. He helped me through to reception and we had a brief catch up.

By the weekend I felt ready for a long run. I had missed going out with Matt on the previous weekends so I was really looking forward to this particular session. I have to admit I was a little nervous on how the foot would react. I made sure I did all my foot exercises before Matt arrived at 10 am on Saturday morning (26 January 2019). My lovely daughter dropped us off at Great Glen and it was a nice easy start as we worked our way up the first 5 miles of climbing. It did feel extra hard this week. Not surprising after not running much for two weeks. However, when we got to mile 7 Matt pointed out that we were averaging 7.30 minute miling. This was a lot quicker than previous weeks we had run so no wonder it was feeling like more effort. I popped a gel in to my mouth and everything seemed to improve. I felt much stronger as we started the downhill sections of the run. We knocked out a 7.05 mile at one stage and it felt great. The last 3 miles are always slower with the technical bits to negotiate as we work our way through Great Glen and in to Leicester. When we got back to my house we had completed a 11.8 mile run in 1.32. Not bad at all. Without all the technical elements I am sure we would have managed just over 12 miles in that time. My ankle was fine although my knee was hurting a little. No doubt a result of trying to compensate for a weak ankle. Something for me to work on over the next few weeks.

I’m hoping that my running continues to improve in the run up to my next race on 16th February 2019, Eaton Dorney Winter half marathon. I’m looking forward to that race as it is a nice flat fast course. I’m hoping to be guided by Paul Featherstone, who is an amazing runner. We’ve not managed to get a race in yet, so fingers crossed that it works out this time.

ON Sunday morning I hit the turbo again for a 90 minute spin which turned in to a 75 minute spin due to my miscalculation. I didn’t bother to put on my stopwatch app on my phone and confused myself somewhat. No doubt caused by the fact that I was having a great time watching Sex Education on Netflix.

Now, before you judge me it is a sort of British black comedy about a teenage kid whose mum is a sex therapist. He gets talked in to providing sex therapy to his class mates, falls in love with his partner in crime etc etc. I’ve been struggling to find something decent since I watched Norseman and Luther – obviously audio described. Anyway, my turbo a little short I didn’t feel to guilty and hit the treadmill again in the afternoon. I think the knee is settling down but I will have to keep a close eye on it for now and perhaps make another visit to Brian.

OK, all for now blogsters. Hope everyone has a good couple of weeks. I’ll give another update at some point in the next few weeks, if not, before. Chow.

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