What a week

The last 7-10 days have been rough. Due to my surgeries and guide dog training I had delayed all my exams until august. Unfortunately that meant this week I had 3 exams on consecutive days.

So as well as compressing all my revision into 2 weeks I had to memorise all the information for consecutive days. So this week I used a few memory techniques to memorise around 12,000 words in essay format. Now there is now telling if I remembered the right 12,000 words but I certainly hit quantity! This resulted in the past few nights me sat rehearsing pretty much non stop, this can get a little tiresome. So I was thankful that today was the last of the consecutive exams. I still have one more exam to go but compared to the three I just had to cram for the revision should be relatively simple.

I did however get some great news this morning, I don’t really want to say too much about it yet as I am not sure it will pan out. But I will put a little pin here to say….. something great might be happening!

Compressed time

The week starting 28th of May is perhaps the busiest I have ever had.

In a 2 week period I am supposed to be:

Training with my guide dog
Undergoing eye surgery
Sitting my semester 2 university exams
Training for the SDW100
Celebtrating my 30th

Now unfortunately it simply isn’t possible to fit all that in. So I have had to unfortunately defer my university exams, surgery and drop my spot for the SDW100. It really is a shame that it was all scheduled in the same 2 weeks period but I felt the guide dog was the one I really couldn’t postpone.

I I had taken a pass on this dog I had no idea how long it would of been until I had another potential match. So on the 28th of May (the day after I run an ultra!) I will begin training with Ascot my guide dog.

As for surgery, I have no idea when that will happen now. It is a real shame as I really need that sorting as it is causing enormous problems in all areas of my life, although these may be eased with the presence of Ascot.

As for the SDW100, I will run that next year. Infact to make up for missing this year I may even enter the Grand Slam! So if anyone else would like to join me and run the entire Centurion Running Grand Slam let me know. We could get a nice collection of buckles going!

Post Surgery and the Media

Around a month ago I finally had eye surgery on my left eye. While the surgery went well I arrived home in quite a lot of pain. After 3 hours I couldn’t take the pain any longer and had to return to the hospital, turned out my cornea had been scratched during the operation and was causing my a lot of pain. Thankfully nothing serious so I went home and waited out the pain.

However the past few weeks have been incredibly difficult, the imbalance the surgery has created is too great. I am really struggling. This has unfortunately caused a few issues with university and training.

I will have to defer some of my university exams and essays till the summer. I simply don’t have enough time to catch up on everything I have missed. This is a real shame as I didn’t want to have to resort to this, but I would rather get a result I am happy with and wait till summer.

I also had to miss a small amount of training which is having an effect. My calf muscles seem to be having a real issue with lactic acid, I seem to build up the acid far to quickly. I hope this subsides in a week or so otherwise it will be a lot of grunting when I compete!

On the positive side I seem to be gaining a lot of media attention really and today received a wonderful writeup in the Guardian! You can read it over here. I have also given interviews for a number of magazines and newspapers, I will try and link to them as they are released!

Busy Month

This month is without a doubt the busiest month in recent memory. With 6 essays and 3 exams all due over the next 2 weeks I am immensely busy. It has been a great opportunity to learn more about new areas of psychology though and I am finding a real interested in synthetic psychology.

It is a great combination of the technology I love and models of psychology. Creating artificial neural networks that can control robots that learn and interact with humans just sounds so 21st century! Will definitely be exploring more over the summer break.

This month has also been a big surprise on the TV commercial front. It has appeared online and on the TV! I also have a prying campaign running in many running magazines so keep an eye out for me. I have embedded the video below

I also promise to get updating this blog again as soon as this hectic month is over!

Adapting to university

When I began the process of applying for university I retained enough vision to be able to read. This was a great plus during college as it allowed me to read through the required textbooks and complete my work easily.

I had hoped my vision would stay stable during my 3 years of university. Unfortunately it didn’t even last 3 weeks. Already I am having to totally change the way I learned and move the vast majority of my learning to audio.

This change is huge, for the past 20 years I have been used to learning through visual based means, now I am forced to rely on auditory techniques. This is a difficult transition as a new learning style at the same time I begin to study at a new level are two great challenges to run simultaneously. This isn’t even taking into account getting the textbooks into an accessible format.

If I thought obtaining textbooks digitally was difficult obtaining them in an audio format is taking it to the next level. Again thankfully my previous career in IT is really helping out and I am able to convert any book to audio once I have a digital copy. But it makes me wonder what people without a reasonable level of computer savvy do.

In this day and age of a digital society it still boggles my mind to find content is difficult to get in the format the end user actually needs. If I can do it with an iMac and some free software publishers can certainly do it.

In an effort to ease the time burden on myself I have a library assistant who can convert from paper to digital. For this I am incredibly thankful but it still means there is a delay to accessing the information I need. People blessed with vision have the option of doing to the library and pulling out and book they need and flicking through the pages. The only delay being the time to search for the book. I at best have a 3-4 day delay on accessing any information I need.

So again publishers: stop making excuses and sort it out

I Have a Plan B

A few weeks ago I did a little post about needing a plan B.  With my first choice university turning me down I was forced into the uncomfortable prospect of moving house.  Not only would I have to uproot my family and move to a far more expensive city I would lose my running route.

Well I have now found a plan B: turns out it was plan A after all.  Sheffield University sent me an email announcing they had made a terrible mistake, they meant to offer me a place after all!  I was incredibly shocked to receive an e-mail from Sheffield as I thought to myself “pffff kicking me while I’m down, rubbing it in that they don’t want me”.  Only to discover it was a mistake, I quickly rang the admissions department to confirm I was still interested.

So riding on a high from that e-mail I received another e-mail this time from Wired Playbook.  Would I like to be a guest blogger? Yeah I would!  Life is certainly being kind to me these past few days.

I have also spent the day convincing myself biscuits are the ideal carb loader in preparation for tomorrows run.

Plan B

It is always a good idea to have a plan B.  The past few months seem to have taken the opportunity to drive this point home.

My initial plan to run the Cotswolds 100 has been put into jeopardy due to a knee injury.  I injured my knee in November and thanks to my stubbornness I ignored my own body and continued to push hard.  I am now nearly 2 months behind in my training.  I now however have moved onto plan B, rather than not run at all I plan to utilise a larger run walk split.  I will now walk the majority of the night section to reduce the running miles to the 70 mark, this should allow me to rapidly catch up on the training and still achieve the goal of a sub 24 hour 100 miler.

My other plan B is going to have a large impact on my entire family and me.  I had planned to attend a local university to obtain my BSc in psychology.  Unfortunately I received an unsuccessful through the UCAS system so will not be attending.  This is forcing two other possible options, one will involve a total relocation the other a sizable commute.  With mobility an issue the thought of the commute is causing great anxiety but will be something easily conquered after a few practice runs.  Moving will prove the most problematic, with finances strained we cannot live in a comparative area to what we do now.  We will be forced to live in a smaller house and live in (I will put this a nice way) a less affluent area.  This move also imposes another issue for me, no more running.  I will lose my beloved paved paradise and due to size restrictions in the housing will not have room for a treadmill.  This doesn’t leave me with many options at this point, persuade the wife to put a treadmill in the living room (unlikely) or utilise a nearby gym.  The lack of freedom from running will be a hard blow but I need to remember the rewards of the BSc and a new career path far outway the negatives.

In the end I WILL HAVE to find a way to run, just not sure what plan B is quite yet……