The last two weeks in quantico, virginia at the DOD warrior games have been exhausting and challenging but amazing. I’m coming away with 11 medals- but more importantly, countless friendships with other athletes and their families!
On Thursday, i was cleared to swim (incision fully closed) so I got two days of practice before I swam in 5 events.
Being the water again was great, although I was a little sad about losing my breaststroke kick. I shed a tear or two about it in my swim goggles and then focused on swimming in a straight line, haha.
Shout out to my amazing fan club this week: brother David, boyfriend Tim and his brother Zach and wife Kylie, and Joe and Paula Pedone. Just last summer I spent the 4th of July boating with the Pedones (their son Justin graduated the academy with me and also flies c-130s) in little rock, Arkansas. Joe and Paula live just down the street from quantico base and surprised me at opening ceremonies. It was amazing to see them again and have their support during the games.
David and Tim conferring with the official during my Shotput competition
Other highlights were meeting secretary of the Air Force Deborah James and Chief of Staff General Welsh. Deborah James said she reads this blog and “thinks the guy who saved my life is a keeper”. I agree. 🙂
Also, I was blessed to see General Cox who I worked with in my academy days. He’s at the pentagon now and stopped by to say hello and catch the closing ceremonies. The support and encouragement I’ve received still blows me away! Thanks everyone.
100 meter race wheelchair race (I got bronze)
Tim and Washington post reporter Erin trying out my hand-cycle and the recumbent bike. Erin followed me around all week (see previous post for the link to his work). He was awesome and I felt like he was friends with Tim and I and was just coming around to hang out. He honestly cares about me and my recovery which was evident in all the questions and texts he sent me off camara or not for the article- just wondering how I was doing. Thanks Erin! And same to you, Jacob, with your phone calls to all my family for your written article. I could not be more impressed with the Washington post gentleman.
Track team medal ceremony
Overall, warrior games was an amazing experience. There were some tough things like going back on pain meds because of all the strain on my leg or being too tired to walk in Ilene (my prosthetics name). She also made me fall twice at the nationals game… Or maybe that was my fault- mostly just embarrassing. Overall though, it was such a positive experience. I was inspired and encouraged by so many other athletes and their families, not to mention the amazing coaches and staff supporting us.
Now back to work in rehab!