Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Life Has Been Busy

Although I am now back in full training my social life has certainly not stopped.  It has amazed me at what I have been asked to do and attend.  I know that my last post was about life after the games and I really did think that it would slow down.  In saying that I have been very honoured to have been asked to take part in some functions that have been amazing!  The problem is that I don't own a lot of good dressy party clothes and for the functions I was invited to I definitely need them!

I did have my friends Deb and Vic visiting and we had headed down to Queenscliff and I love shopping there as I always tend to find something.  This trip was no different, Deb and I headed out and I found a beautiful dress that could be worn for 'Black Tie' (dressed up) or just as a party dress (dressed down).  But the fact that there were a number of functions I figured I needed more than just the one dress, so it was a call for help that I put out to my friend Kirsty!  I went "shopping" in her closet and came home with a number of dresses and a hat!

Melbourne Cup
The hat was needed for the Melbourne Cup.  This, for those not Australian is a horse race.  It is probably the only place in the world where we have a public holiday for a horse race.  Well I was invited to 'Cup Day', so this was the first day that I needed an outfit...Kirsty to the rescue!  I would probably never even try on what Kirsty made me try on and it looked good!  Then she said I needed a hat..I don't do hats, but I was made to put it on and it actually looked quite good, in fact I felt very glamorous that day!

Paralympian Of the Year Awards

On the 8th of November I headed up to Sydney for the Paralympian of the Year Awards.  It was a fantastic night to catch up with all my teammates from London, with everyone dressed up, it was interesting to see people without their training gear on!  I had a great time catching up with the cyclists and to make the night even more special our head coach Peter Day was named as Coach of the Year!

It was a wonderful night with a number of our cyclists nominated for awards.  Simone Kennedy for Junior Paralympian of the Year, Felicity Johnson for Female Paralympian of the Year and Kieran Modra won the Presidents Medal which just shows how strong our cycling team was at these Paralympic Games.

National Welcome Home Day
The next day all of the Paralympians were asked to attend a National Welcome Home Parade at the iconic Sydney Opera House with the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the background.  What an amazing backdrop.  There were a number of school children in attendance with a small amount of Sydneysiders at the Opera House.  It was wonderful to have the kids there as I think that they were the most affected by the Paralympics!  For this we were wearing our team jeans, polo shirt and green/gold shoes. However I had also been invited to have lunch with HRH the Dutchess of Cornwall (aka Camilla) at Government House which happens to be just behind the Opera House.  I couldn't show up in my jeans and polo shirt so I had to do a quick change in the toilets into dress pants, blouse and jacket!  I really was starting to feel like 'Superwoman' changing in a phone booth!

I did make it to lunch with Camilla and thought I would be with a cast of hundreds, but I wasn't!  There were about 30 women there, 3 other paralympians (all swimmers) and the 4 of us had a great chat with her about London, Brands Hatch where I raced and then she held my medal and pictures were taken.  (Unfortunately I am still trying to track down the photo!)

Cyclist of the Year Awards
 It was then time for the Cycling Australia's Cyclist of the Year Awards.  I was honoured to be nominated for Female Paracyclist of the Year along with Sue Powell, Felicity Johnson and Stephanie Morton.  This was a black tie affair which the dress I bought was going to be used at.  It was a spectacular night with good food and company!  Felicity and Stephanie won the award which I was really happy about.  They are a tandem pair and have been undefeated this year with World Records and a Paralympic Record, so they were well deserving of the award.
I came home on Saturday, the following day, to have a well earned rest, although that didn't last long as I was back training on Sunday.

Starry Starry Night Gala Ball
 The past week has just been as busy as I spoke to a school my girlfriends daughter goes to, to a 150 children in years 5-6, did a rowing race in an 8 in the Melbourne Head Regatta, then was invited to be the celebrity host of a table at the Alannah and Madelaine Foundation's Starry Starry Night Gala Ball, then then next morning did a 75km Charity Ride for the Hanover Connecteast Ride for Home. 

My life upon coming home has been an amazing journey, one that I have enthusiastically embraced because of the positive opportunities they have offered!  I have also been lucky to have a very supportive husband and some amazing friends who have travelled some of this journey with me.  As it is now coming up to the holiday season I am sure that the social life won't stop any time soon, but I will be picking up the training intensity over the next couple of weeks leading into a camp the first week of December with my coach.  At least that week I know there will be only one thing on my mind...riding!