September 7th then came around, which was the day of the opening ceremony. Ken and I headed to the track in the morning to get my pre-race workout done (as my first race was the next day) and then headed back to be ready for our 2:30pm pick up to head to the stadium for the ceremony. Since I raced the next day Ken, Mom and I left the stadium after we had walked through in the parade of athletes so that it wouldn't be too late of a night. The rest of the team stayed for the whole ceremony.
On the 15th Ken, Mom, Dad, Ken's wife Karen, her friend Helen and I went on a day tour around Rio. We had an amazing day! Our tour guide Ederson and driver Wilson were incredible! We started the tour by going up to see Christ the Redeemer. He is 38 meters tall and his arm width is 28 meters. It took them 5 years to build the statue and the church maintains it. The drive up was very steep then we had an elevator ride and 2 escalators to get to the top. The view over Rio is amazing. We then drove around the city and went down the Selaron Tile Steps, made by one man who only stopped designing and laying them because he passed away. After visiting the incredible Metropolitan Cathedral of Saint Sebastian with the amazing stained glass panels, we had lunch at Confeitaria Colombo, the most famous pastry and coffee shop in Rio. After that we went to see the Olympic Boulevard area where there was a big screen TV, which streamed the games. Near the Boulevard was the area that the Paralympic Torch was located, so of course we had to go and see that!
After the tour day it was back into competition mode as my 800m race was 2 days away. I was nervous and excited about doing the 800m. I knew that it would be a long shot to get into the final, so Ken and I made a realistic goal for me to shoot for in the race. My personal best time in the 800m going into this race was 2:03.40 so we made a goal to try and get into the draft pack and go for a PB in this race as well and try and break the 2-minute mark. Similar goals to the 400m race.
I can now call myself a 2x Paralympian, which is a truly humbling and exciting thing! We now all have some time off and will be getting back into training at the beginning of October to get ready for a half marathon we are doing at the end of October. Training will be geared towards developing more strength and power to get ready for the London 2017 World Championships in July next year!
So, here is to the next 4-year plan and journey to get to Tokyo 2020!!
-Desire, Dream, Vision-