Jules: We all met yesterday morning for a team photo. It will most likely be my favourite with us all as we are decked out in our Invictus tracksuits in front of the Toronto sign. I woke up feeling far more like myself and more able to take in my surroundings as the day before was a bit of a blur. It was a great feeling to be here as a team and the only team, as other competitors arrived later that day and from now on we will be part of a much bigger group.
Excitement and apprehension are increasing as the days to competition count down. I am looking forward to getting fully through the jet lag, meeting all the other teams and then competing. I know I am still not quite there as in swim training I was very slow today. It was really good to get a decent workout in though.
High point of the day: While recovering at the end of the hotel’s outdoor pool after a really hard set, I looked up. All around me were skyscrapers. I had the feeling of awe, that I am really here and I am yet again incredibly grateful. All the little victories seem to be adding up. It is such an incredible opportunity and Invictus has made such a difference for me. It was a very big dream to wish to even be on the wider team and it is making more impact than I could have ever imagined.
Our own friends and families also arrive tonight and I know they will be very tired and looking forward to sleep, like we were. They are a huge part of our team as I know none of us would be here without them. They have given up a lot of time, energy and heartfelt support through so many days. What can we possibly say to these people? I was originally “lost for words” when I was asked what a place at the Games would mean to me. I am found likewise. Regardless I do hope they know this.
Well, another nap is required as my body clock settles. Just in case I haven’t articulated it fully yet.
Being here is: tremendous, remarkable, awe-inspiring, astounding, humbling, and frankly….breath taking!
Nicki: Well the day did not start out the way that I hoped and I have no one else to blame but myself. I thought it was a good idea to put my swim bag in Padres golf bag as he had room and it would all end up at the Hotel. Yeah – nah, golf bags have gone to the golf course; go figure. He has my swim gear – all of it – bugger. Had a minor melt down in my room but that relieved the stress and I now feel better.
Off to the gym for me. 30min on the bike (saving 16min more power for the hotel). 15min row – 5min warm up, 5min hard, 5min not so hard – but still hard, 10min on the stair climber – holly molly, that was hard work. I must have had it up too high because I almost fell off the back trying to slow it down. It kept me working though, lol. Endorphins have kicked in and I feel a lot better. Thank you exercise. Onwards and upwards. Omm Manna Pa…… My team mates are looking forward to friends and families arriving tonight and there are some excited people about. Looking forward to catching up with my Auntie and Uncle again tomorrow night at the Blue Jays Game and dinner. Might go and have a little explore of Toronto City on foot and just head towards the CN Tower. Signing off for now.
Coach Ray: My room-mate Patrick and I hadn’t set an alarm and we had the team photo at 9am. Luckily we heard people in our corridor at 8:50am and both woke up in a slight panic. We popped over the road and utilised the Toronto sign as our back drop.
I need to acknowledge the hard work the PR team we brought with us are doing. Maria for the amazing photos (that get credited to the NZDF) and also to Charlene for doing all the promotion and making things happen behind the scenes. Make sure you follow the team on both Facebook and Instagram.
I’m third from the right, Jules is fifth from the left and Nicki is 14th from the right.
After the photos we had a full team meeting and then the management and support staff had another seperate meeting after the coaching staff had got our athletes into various workouts. The swimmers are enjoying the indoor/outdoor flow of the pool we have.
After lunch I made it into the pool myself for a swim and as Jules says it’s quite surreal to roll to breath and be looking up at these massive skyscrapers and then swim back inside.
After doing some planning I joined a small group of the team who went out for dinner. As we had two of the wheelchair boys with us, it took a wee while to find somewhere that had wheelchair access. The Toronto Blue Jay’s (Baseball Team) had a game on and it was bedlam trying to find somewhere to eat, as we were only a block from the stadium and every restaurant/eatery we went into was a sea of blue. When the game was due to start they all emptied out. For dinner in Houston on the flight up Villa Maria was on the wine list and again tonight it also was (they are drinking our wine over here)!!! Not that I had it.
After dinner the assistant manager and the two nurses went and checked out the Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada. If you find yourself in Toronto I’d highly recommend it. We went for a longer walk home to do a bit of a route reconnaissance to one of the other venues that is in walking distance and then we did the Underground Challenge to try and walk back to the hotel underground. We were doing pretty well until we got to a section that was all locked up, so we took the nearest exit and walked back above ground.
Read more about about Invictus Games through our daily updates at 7pm NZ time.
Heading Photo Credit courtesy of New Zealand Defence Force.