By Sophia Warner, T35 100m and 200m sprinter
Imagine as if your brain is short-circuiting, sending lots of strange signals to your limbs, which refuse to execute the task demanded of them.
And the harder and faster you try and do that task, the more your body refuses to acknowledge what it should be doing. That, in a rather simplistic form, is cerebral palsy.
I was born with cerebral palsy but I have never let that prevent me from trying to run as fast as I can.
However, it presents its challenges. If I was attempting the high jump, for example, I would be able to run up to the mat but, because it’s a completely different change in body function and movement, I would just stop and then have to work out how to jump.
So running, mercifully, is one of the easier tasks.
Compared to wheelchair racers or blind athletes, whose disabilities are obvious, I look like an able-bodied athlete.
But it's only when I try to sprint I look awkward. Two-thirds of my training is the same as an able-bodied athlete; improving my strength and speedwork.
I am absolutely ripped. I leg press 150kg yet I can’t stand on one leg
But the final third is about overcoming the mental challenges presented by cerebral palsy. If an able-bodied person watched me in the gym, they would probably be confused. How can a woman so strong be so unco-ordinated?
For example, a year ago I couldn’t walk backwards, which seems ludicrous. And I couldn’t skip nor hop.
I had to learn how to slow down the motions of these tasks and do them in a slow, controlled way before gradually speeding up.
I learned how to walk backwards, then walk with bigger strides, then how to hop and then how to skip.
I’m 37 years old and I’ve been trying to skip since I was five. And I only learned to do it three months ago.
It’s a totally useless talent but I was so overwhelmed with happiness when it finally happened.
I’ve now progressed on to wearing a weighted belt when I skip, as well as jumping on and off a box. Really simple, unusual things.
I've never competed at the Paralympics before because my class hasn't featured. Until now
The amount of strength work I do in my legs suggests I should be running ridiculously fast speeds. I am absolutely ripped and really strong, but I lack functional strength.
I leg press 150kg yet I can't stand on one leg.
I compete in the T35 class. T signifies track, 3 is for cerebral palsy while 5 signifies the severity of my disability.
The classification starts at 32 and goes up to 38. Athletes in the 32-34 category are in a wheelchair and 35 is the first ambulant - upright - so it's the most disabled of the running categories, if you see what I mean.
I've been competing for Great Britain since 1996 but I've never competed at the Paralympics before because my classification has never featured. Until now.
I have taken a sabbatical from my job, which has presented its fair share of challenges, along with a being a mother to a seven-year-old girl and six-year-old boy.
But all the struggles will be worth it for that top spot on the podium.