After dinner my mom, team Bermuda’s leader, headed to the final DRM meeting to collect our accreditations and take care of all the paperwork. I am truly grateful to BHS for allowing my mom to take time off of work so she can come a long with us. Thanks mom for all that you do so I can continue to chase my dreams!
The next day (Oct 20th) we headed to the track bright and early to get a practice in and to flush out the stiffness from traveling the previous day. It also gave me a chance to see what the temperature was like and get a feel of the track. Man was it hot! I was very glad to have brought my water bottle that has a mister on it... it definitely came in handy! After the practice I stored the pink panther in the storage area at the track. There was tons of people there to help us with our chairs and would actually carry them for us to the track when we came to pick them up! We headed back to the hotel for lunch and a bit of a rest and then Ken and I headed back to the track that evening to get another practice in. Since most of my races were at night we wanted to see if there was a difference of pushing there in the morning and at night when the sun went down. There was a difference, don’t get me wrong temperatures were still in the 90’s, but the sun wasn’t beating down on you. So it was quite comfortable compared to the morning! Ken then headed to the coach’s meeting. My mom went to the practice for the opening ceremony, which would take place the next day (Oct 21st). Ken and I didn’t attend the ceremony as it would have been a late night for me and I had my first race the next morning. On the morning of Oct 21st, the day before my first race, we headed to the track again in the morning to do a pre-race workout (light jog and some starts). I was actually able to get onto the competition track for a couple of laps, which doesn’t happen very often at big competitions.
Every race we go into my coach and I establish goals we want to achieve (i.e. be the first off the line, hit a certain speed) in the race. During the warm up I was only hitting a max speed of 27.9k so the goal was to hit a speed of 28.5k during the race. I hit it right on the dot! I laughed when I saw it as I was heading off the track to go meet my coach and couldn’t wait to tell him.
The next day (Oct 23rd) was my 100m semi-final at night. My favorite event! I had a really good warm up and felt really confident going into the race. We had to be in the call room 45 minutes before our scheduled race time. As the call room’s were air conditioned our push rims would get wet when we came out of the call room into the heat, which I had found out going into my 200m semi-final the previous day. So I started bringing a hand towel with me so I could wipe off my gloves and rims so I wouldn’t slip during the races. I crossed the line first in my semi-final, which automatically qualified me for the final. As I crossed the line and hit my compensator (the steering to go around the bends of the track) the spring broke. So, it was off to Ottobock (hospital for equipment) for the Pink Panther! Fortunately, it was a quick fix! Thanks Ottobock team!!
After that, I had to put all those emotions aside and prepare for the 400m semi-final taking place the next morning (Oct 25th). This is not my strongest race…yet! J I missed going to the final by .42 of a second but was still so ecstatic. I am so grateful that I get to compete against these incredible athletes and am looking forward to many more races with them in the future. The next day (Oct 26th) was my 800m final. Again, not my strongest race…yet! Looking at the field of athletes I was up against, realistically, it would have been very tough for me to make finals. So, what did we do? We set goals! The goal for this race was to see if I could get into “the pack”, even if I burn out getting into it, as all the other 800m races I have done I always just miss getting into it. I pushed as hard and as fast as I could and I managed to get into the pack. It was such an awesome experience. We practice drafting in training but it is definitely a different experience in a race setting. I held in with the pack for about 200m and then fell back, but crossed the finish line to a 2 ½ second PB. That was the best 800m race I have ever done, not just time wise, but technique wise and getting into the pack. I didn’t make the final so that ended my participation in my second World Championships.
I have had an absolute blast competing this year and I am so ready to train harder and get ready for 2016 – a Paralympic year!! As my dad says its time for “operation bigger, faster and stronger!”
A truly grateful athlete and her chair,
Jessica and the Pink Panther
- Desire, Dream, Vision -