Posts Tagged ‘inspire’


Last Saturday 28th May I got an email for my sprint coach asking if I would like to represent Bradford and District in the Regional Finals of the Special Olympics on June 26th at Sheffield. I qualify for the Special Olympics because I have a diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome and have elected to run the 100m, 200m and possibly 400m.

To say I was surprised is an understatement as I have not done any track sessions in the past six weeks and as anyone who has run on the track will know it is very different to running on the road especially if you are running the short sprints as they are all about explosive power in short bursts with no second chances to redeem yourself if you have a bad start.

My shock soon turned into a feeling of pride at being asked and then apprehension at how I would approach the event mentally. I’m quite happy with my physical form at the moment and enter races knowing I won’t place but still with the intention of doing my best and enjoying myself.

With the sprint competition I have a chance of doing well as I will be competing against runners of a similar ability so much of my chances of doing well will rest on how I approach the event mentally.

Where to start though when you are looking for inspiration? Do you look on the net at the thousands of articles written by coaches and champions or do you look for something closer to home written by someone you have met and can relate to?

One person I have met through running is Ben Mounsey. Ben is a rising star on the fell and mountain running scene but someone who is down to earth with it and always willing to share his knowledge and experience of running and competing with everyone. Ben has written several blogs about his running experiences detailing his successes and failures and most importantly his approach to competing.

These blogs are extremely helpful as they give you an insight into the mind of an elite level runner who is a dedicated and determined winner and every runner of any ability can learn much from them if they have a desire to improve their personal performance and push themselves a little bit further.

One article had stuck in my mind that Ben had wrote called, ‘How to Become a Mountain Lion in 10 Easy Steps’. Here Ben details the changes he has made to his life in going from a top club runner to an international star. This includes tips on training, nutrition and equipment but importantly for me mental attitude.

This article is very useful as although it is written from the perspective of a fell runner it can be adopted to any form of running including sprinting.

Equipment is important and sprinters wear special spikes as many of you will know. I’ve never worn spikes so at this stage it is probably too late to change for this competition but in the future spikes will be on my list.

Nutrition is important in all forms of sport and for the next 3 weeks I will be following a high protein diet with plenty of fruit and veg. This is to ensure I have the muscle I need to maximise my explosive power off the line and be able to sustain that power all the way to the finish line. 200m is a long way when you’re going at full speed from the start!

And whilst I have lost a considerable amount of weight through running for this competition I need to strip away as much body fat as I can so all alcohol and fast food is out until after the event. If anyone needs a lift just ask! The leaner I am the faster and more efficient I will be.

How you train is important and as with Ben I will be running up hills to build muscle, power and endurance. I may not do as Ben does and storm up Trooper Lane but living in Queensbury I have plenty of hills to choose from to run up again and again and again.

I will also be on the track practising sprinting but also visualising what I am going to do on my run, where I will put the power down and where I expect to be going at full speed and pushing myself beyond my limits. Visualisation is another technique Ben recommends in order to maximise your run especially when you are competing.

I’m hoping that all this will enable me to perform at my very best on the day and whether I finish first or last I will know that I have done my best in my preparations and performed to the best of my ability and achieved more than I could ever dream about two years ago.

Whilst I will never reach the elite level Ben is at I can apply the techniques Ben has adopted in order to maximise my potential and be the best sprinter and runner I can be. And it is easier to be inspired by someone you have met and can relate to rather than someone who you only see on the TV every now and again.

Here is a link to Ben’s article if you want to read it: https://www.google.co.uk/#q=10+easy+steps+to+becoming+a+mountain+lion

 


How do you inspire others? How do you get somebody else, maybe someone you don’t even know to do something they never thought they ever do?

To be honest I don’t know. Yet friends of mine are increasingly saying I’m an inspiration to them and others. But why when all I’m doing is trying to improve myself and my life chances?

What got me wondering about the whole inspiration business is some comments I’ve recently received about how I have changed my body and the way I look.

It began this year when I decided to take my running seriously because I have several plans I would like to explore and my fitness may play a part in following them through. So I started going back to my local running club and going out running on my own more.

And instead of just going through the motions I began to push myself to go faster, go further, do more. I changed my diet, dramatically. At first it was difficult as my body adjusted to so many changes all at once but now it feels natural eating and drinking reasonably healthy.

And of course the weight began to drop off and my body began to change, people noticed and the good comments started flowing. And them people started asking me what I was doing and why and I told them. And a couple of people have started running or walking because I inspired them. Some more are thinking about doing it because they have seen the transformation in me in person.

And maybe that’s the key to being an inspiration to others, being someone they can relate to in real life, someone they know, they can see, they can talk to about what made me go out and change my life.

But that’s not to forget that I have people who inspire me as well, people I can relate to in real life. Some of these are people I’ve known a long time, others have just come into my life, but all of them in some way inspire me and as a consequence I inspire others which is I think quite important in life.

Because if you can use the inspiration of others to transform your life and in turn inspire others to transform their lives, then you have done something very worthwhile in life.


I get out and run. At first it’s difficult to go more than a few hundred yards. But I do it. Other runners breeze past like an eagle soaring on the currents of the air. I stand there, struggling to breath, gasping like a dying swan taking its last breath. But I have done it. I have gone out and run. I have accomplished something I thought impossible, something only I can do. Others can encourage me, support me, inspire me, but only I can go out there and do it. Only I can get out there and put one foot in front of the other and move my body, mind and soul.

And it becomes easier. I run for ¼ mile, ½ mile a mile, and more. My body is changing, it feels good. I feel younger, energy curses through my veins feeding the very essence of my existence. I feel at ease with myself, I feel alive, I feel free, I am at one with me. I run further, explore places I’ve only heard people talk about. I breath in air as if it was my first as a new born baby, I begin to see people, the world, life itself differently. Life is good now, life is something to look forward to on a morning, every morning, to wake up to and smell the world around, smell life itself inside me, around me.

Running has given me my life back, made me realise just what I have to offer, what talents I have that I can use to help and inspire others to achieve more in their lives. Running gives me purpose, a reason to get up and get out there, even if there is nothing else I have to do all day I can run till my body says no, but my mind says yes. Just one more step. Let’s see how far I can go today…


I thought this inspiring story of how a young man with autism made a special bond with a barista showed how differences can be overcome with a little understanding. http://m.lancasteronline.com/lifestyle/aaron-and-anisa-young-man-with-autism-forms-special-bond/article_20a01f66-2941-11e4-9d24-001a4bcf6878.html?mode=jqm#.U_3uOCFsQec.facebook


Today was an amazing day for me. I was invited to Specialist Autism Services, an autism charity based in Bradford, England. I was invited down to talk about my poem ‘My Eyes’ and the subsequent film derived from it made by Courtney Sandifer to some of the students from the creative writing workshop. It was a surreal experience for me answering questions about one of my poems and talking about the story behind it. I’ve never experienced anything like it before and it was humbling for me to have people there who wanted to listen to my words and hearing one of the students read my poem out.

After the reading and the film I read my new poem ‘Ignored’ out and the students then got very creative turning it into a film and a cartoon. It was inspiring for me to see and hear the ideas they came up with just from one of my poems! I felt that they had far more creativity in them than I did and to me they proved it. When the workshop had finished and the students told me that they could not believe they were meeting a real life author and how much they had enjoyed the workshop it really hit home how words and writing have the power to change lives and inspire others.

For the record I don’t consider myself an author. I’m just someone who is able to put his feelings, thoughts and emotions into words that other’s can take something from. This makes it very, very rewarding for me and very worthwhile to keep going and never stop writing.


Last night was another auspicious moment in my poetry experience. I lost my poetry reading virginity! I was very, very nervous as you can imagine, but the evening was made far more relaxing by being held in a small restaurant called the Kava based in Todmorden, West Yorkshire. I had never been to the Kava before but it is a lovely little vegetarian restaurant with a very pleasant and convivial atmosphere, helped by the intimate surroundings.

I went there with two friends, Nuala Robinson and Gaia Holmes. Both Nuala and myself attend a workshop run by Gaia called ‘Igniting the Spark’. The workshop is held every week although we are taking a break for the summer. The workshop is a very friendly environment and achieves what it sets out to do. It has certainly ignited my spark and I am enjoying writing poetry and having my creative side challenged every week by the various activities Gaia sets us. It is the other writers who go to the workshop who also inspire me to write better poetry and without them I would not have come so far in such a short space of time.

In the Kava was another friend who I knew and this helped to settle my nerves knowing that there were people there who had come to support me and the other poets based purely on our performance on the night and nothing else. Gaia was the guest poet and performed several of her amazing poems to a spell bound audience. All of Gaia’s poetry was very well received and she had well deserved rapturous applause at the end of her readings. The compare Anthony then read a poem and after two other poets had performed some outstanding poetry it was my turn to perform.

I got up and very nervously began to read my first poem ‘She Dreams’. All of a sudden my first night nerves had disappeared and I just concentrated on reading my poetry to the best of what I consider to be my limited ability. My next reading was ‘My Eyes’ which is a very personal poem about how I see not being able to read and understand non-verbal communication because of my Asperger’s Syndrome and how I imagine it is for someone else. The last reading was ‘Emily Bronte’s Pen’ which is my interpretation of what it must have been like to be the pen with which Emily Bronte wrote ‘Wuthering Heights’, Every since discovering the Bronte’s and Haworth last year they have held a special place in my heart and every time I visit Haworth Moor or the Bronte Parsonage I feel a tingle down my spine at the thought of walking in the footsteps of literary geniuses who changed the literary world forever with there outstanding poems and novels which have stood the test of time and always will do. At the end of my reading everybody applauded loudly and vigorously, especially my friend Simon who should be a professional applauder! The relief from finishing my very first poetry reading and losing my virginity was immense. All I wanted to do was find a bed and lie down for a very long time! But being 20 miles from home and with other poets still to read I couldn’t lie down anywhere. 

The rest of the poets were equally impressive and I realised how much I have to learn about poetry and I took inspiration from the other poets and their readings. After the event had finished everybody congratulated me on losing my poetry reading virginity and said I was a natural. To hear this gave me a boost to my confidence and has inspired me to carry on writing and reading poetry. Having Asperger’s and suffered from bullying has severely dented my confidence, but I am slowly getting it back through my new found passion.

I cannot thank Gaia Holmes enough for the lovely words she said to me at the end of the night, nor for the owners of the Kava Café who let us have the venue and all of the other poets and people who made it a magical evening for everybody. I got some ideas for a theme for my poetry and I cannot wait to read some poetry again whether it is one of my poor attempts or poetry by one of the greats.