I Am Kiwi

The Other Invictus Games Teams Have Now Arrived

Nicki:   Well the other teams have started to arrive and we have been inundated with Aussies – great to ‘catch up’ with them. I lived overseas for a long time in Scotland and the Aussies were our ‘brothers and sisters’ there.  We ‘got’ each other and had a great time together.

I also met the Jordon team and was talking to the coach/physio about the rowing.  The poor guy had no idea what to do with the rowing machine set up. I went and got Phil our coach to come help, as I would not want to lead them astray in anyway. Thanks Phil.

I woke up this morning at a more reasonable time so hope I have beaten this ‘jet lag’ thing and went exploring for more team’s downstairs – nah, still just the three from yesterday. But all out ‘Friends and Families’ (F&F) are in the air, as I write.  I am looking forward to their arrival for the other team members.  My F&F are already here in Toronto, hence the Blue Jays Game evening.

This morning I have been to the gym.  I was the only one there and had a reasonable work out, bike 25min, (saved 34min power for the hotel), then did 10min on the rower, warm up and hard. Did not feel like it this morning and felt like crap when I finished (hence why only 10 min).

Thanks to my fellow team mates who have loaned me swim gear, as mine has still not shown up.   News Flash: My swim gear is here, whoop whoop.

Registration of teams was this afternoon and the good old Kiwis were the first in line, (turned up an hour early but then tagged teamed to keep the place and get some lunch). We were the first through, followed closely by the Aussies.  Lets hope it stays that way all the way through the Games. The USA, Canadian, Afghanistan, Danish teams are all here and those are the ones I have talked to so far.

We got another bag of goodies, which I have not looked at yet but I am going to have to buy a new luggage bag I think and pay for another bag home.  I am not complaining, as all this stuff is so cool.  I went to see the Games doctors to try and get on top of this headache thing and I am trying something new. Fingers crossed.  He must be good, he likes Dunedin and the Albatross Centre. I just want to say a big thank-you to the doctors and nurses for all their help. Also, my family at home who put up with the melt-downs from me, lol.  I will try to the best of my ability on the day and keep all freak outs to a minimum. Onwards and upwards. Swimming today but you’ll hear about it tomorrow (NZ time).

Invictus GamesI had a lovely evening with my Canadian family.  We went out for dinner to a neat little place called Marche, which is set out like a market place and you order from each stall.

We then went to the old ‘Ball Game’ and watched the Toronto Blue Jays lose 1-0 but the atmosphere was fantastic with approximately 25,000 spectators there.  I saw some of the Canadian Invictus Team there but did not get to stop for a chat.  It was an awesome night and fantastic to catch up with family whom I have not see for a long time.

Jules:   I had coffee with Coach Ray yesterday morning.  It was a great way to start the day. He is checking on all the athletes he has trained, and asking some really pertinent questions. Clever man that.

I had thought about how it will be when all this adventure is over. I know a lot back home think I am “on holiday” and don’t really comprehend what the Games are about. I also know I need new goals, and not just for training. I want to set some stunning goals and think a little more “outside the box”, as I was previously very closed in thinking what I could do. I am trying to think creatively and also for the long term, especially as health fluctuates.

My husband and I have ridden motorbikes for many years before I was injured and unwell, and yes, he has brought me another. I am hoping I will be able to manage to keep hold of the handlebars, and not injure myself as I relearn this skill now I have a bit more muscle. The sheer “grin factor” will be worth it for even five minutes. Mostly I am looking forward to riding with him, as I had never thought I would do this again.

Yesterday was registration day. 550 competitors and all of the friends and families are all getting through this process. The Canadians are well prepared for us and the process is pretty smooth. I was surprised by the large back pack full of gifts from our host nation, but more so by how welcome I was made to feel. There are huge crowds and people are all smiling and friendly. I was told how much it would mean to swap your country’s pin, but it was better than I imagined. Giving a “Silver Fern” away, especially when others recognise it, is a great experience. It is such a small token, but represents such pride in my country and for them in theirs. This was an unexpected pleasure.

I found some mental prep advice very valuable today, so thanks Coach Ray and Team Doc as you both said the same thing. I have been thinking all day about this. It was about recognising what you can control and what you can’t. Firstly I just thought about how this translates to the training and competition.

On some days training is better than other days and this happens to us all. This does, however, affect my mental space, especially if I can’t do what I previously had achieved. I was concerned that I would not achieve my targets in the competition if it wasn’t a good day. I knew this would be hard to accept as we have been training now for almost a year, and I am competing against myself and previous goals. I’m my own worst critic. But none of us have full control of every aspects of our life. I started thinking about what I can control, and manage, to be my best. There is actually a lot. Eating properly, sleep, rest, focus, mind-set, time, training prep, priorities.  These are all mine to control. If I do everything I can and am really honest with myself about this, then that is all I can do. Some things are just outside of my control and this is particularly apt with days when my body isn’t working very well.

Then I thought about the bigger picture of life. Cool eh? I think I knew this once but now have discovered it again, with more importance for my new “normal” circumstances.

Huge “takeaway” for today. Huge amount to think about.

Many years ago I heard a statement that is again resounding.

If your dreams don’t scare you… they aren’t big enough.”

Coach Ray:   The day started with a management meeting.  Things are really starting to crank up now I’m lining up when all my swimmers, rowers and runner are competing. So there is a fair bit of planning to get through. Which buses to get them onto get to training venues and also to competitions on time for our lane or track bookings. I also needed to book the rowers for training but couldn’t do that until I got my accreditation. Registration didn’t open until 1pm (or so we thought), so I got out for a run.

I’d touch base with Andrew and Steve from The Cycling Gym.  They use some of the same software I use with www.CoachRayTraining.com and had been in touch with them through that. They seemed like good guys so I touched base with them a few months ago about coming and visiting them.  It was great to meet them and look around their facility. As I don’t have a vehicle in Toronto I decided to run to them. Toronto is a cool city, although there are plenty of homeless people and beggars in the city you don’t feel intimidated or fearful. I find it quite a safe city compared to the major New Zealand cities. Although it was quite confronting seeing one light up his crack pipe right in front of me, and a couple of vagrants having domestic arguments in a park as I ran past on my way to their facility. I had a good chat with them and gave them a Kiwi with our I AM KIWI badge as a thank you gift, then ran home a different route to complete a loop.

After a qwik shower it was off to registration and that is when we found it that wasn’t at 1pm but in fact 2pm. So I grabbed a qwik lunch and got some more planning done before going back down to register nice and early. The Kiwis were all at the front of the queue when the line opened at about 1:45pm and we stood in line for the 15 minutes before they let us register. I was very grateful that we did that as some teams spent 3 hours in the queue. The Aussies got down there right on 2pm and joined in behind us. I took the opportunity to get a selfie with some of the other Kiwis at the back of our team (I let all the athletes and other key personnel with other jobs to do go ahead of me).

I Am Kiwi
The Aussies where they belong, behind the Kiwis.

Once I was accredited I was able to start booking in the team training sessions for the rowing.  Being first accredited meant we got the pick of the times, so I scheduled the sessions at the same time as what they will be competing next Tuesday evening. The Kiwis are coming.

I’ve been very impressed with the transformation that occurred overnight. The hotel has been turned into the athletes village with branding appearing all over the hotel, from the check-in desk, the reception area, banners, screens, even the elevators are now branded Invictus. Very professional and very sharp.

I Am Kiwi

After last night’s Underground Challenge the assistant manager and myself took the two PR girls for a trip to the salad bar I went to the other night and also the supermarket with the intent of doing the Underground Challenge again (read yesterday’s article here to know more about the Underground Challenge). But we came back above ground as we wanted to visit a couple of shops enroute and I don’t know if the underground path goes all the way out to the supermarket.

Over the last few days I’ve clocked up a few kilometres, with over 20km today (10km of running included), 18km yesterday with no run and 27km the day before (including an 8km run).

It’s now time for bed with a big day tomorrow with a meeting first up, then racing off to the pool to take the squad for a session (and maybe have my own swim) and then back in time for dinner and take a rowing session. With an hour bus ride both directions I’m going to be commuting a bit tomorrow.


Read more about about Invictus Games through our daily updates at 7pm NZ time.



One Reply to “The Other Invictus Games Teams Have Now Arrived”

  1. Wonderful to read the daily thoughts and news. Go well team!
    Thanks to everyone who is supporting the team. Good luck with all the struggles. Love and support especially to daughter Jules. Big dreams? Yes!

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