Paralympian Hannah Dine’s first guest blog “Terminating Injury” was very popular, this led to us constantly requesting for the next installment in her series of guest blogs for Sterosport. She is a very busy lady as her latest blog will show you. So without further ado, here’s Hannah’s second blog – A Day in the life of a Paralympian – enjoy!
Paperwork and being a Paralympian
Smartphones now come with the feature where you can see how much time you spend on various apps. Maybe it’s to help you limit your social media time, or to investigate if you’re getting your blue light doses at the wrong time of day.
Kind of like that app, I regularly try to analyse how much time I spend in my day-to-day life doing various activities. When you have a fatiguing disability like mine, and joint pain, you really appreciate your youth. Now, in my mid-twenties, I have the musculoskeletal system of a person twice my age! It ages in dog years; my knees, hips and all the other parts of my body age seven years every year. Having fifty-year-old knees still gives me significant scope to lead a full and vibrant life, but it might start to curtail and so I like to keep track.
I have the most beautiful support network in Manchester. Which, I tend to and nourish with many outings, sitting down in different environments- a brunch stop here, a cinema trip there, a friend’s sofa in between. It was exciting to see how much my guilty/necessary Love Island binges with my friend Scottie compared to my studying time for my Masters’ or washing the heaps of sports kit piled up in the many baskets around my room.
To my horror, I found that I spend the most time chasing invoices- the paperwork, people and problems! I also spend a lot of time facilitating my training and racing. This year I’m chained to a system where I book flights and enter races, then invoice for the money. It’s thrilling in a way, like how being saved from a cliff edge at the last minute often is.
The struggle with scheduling
After I raced in Belgium at my World Cup, I was meant to put the finishing touches to a schedule that would see me racing from Cologne in Germany to Langnau in Switzerland. Maybe I had been waiting on one too many emails, maybe I was too caught up in winning my first medal. For any trip as extensive as this, I have to organise physical support from other humans with more reliable bodies. So they can help do the things mine won’t- like driving distances more than four hours without experiencing huge spasms, assisting me onto my trike, or hauling a bike box out of an airport taxi without pulling it on top of myself. An incredible friend was planning to come out and help me but wouldn’t be able to fit my trike and me into his van.
All of this really makes you long for a centralised system or access to a UK Sport funded programme. Or, maybe just a personal assistant with excellent people skills. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get the necessary help at such short notice. In the end, I had admit defeat and I threw myself into training even more whilst staying home. It’s not just all moaning- I reached 80kg in my squat, plus my CV and transferable skills have never been stronger!
British Cycling also announced the Para-cycling World Championships selection for 2019- and I made the cut! Come September, I’ll temporarily be part of the Para-cycling team. And the thing I’m most excited about? Not having to do any paperwork for the trip.