I am glad we were prepared for the heat out here as it is incredible.

Imagine your mother is standing in the doorway on a hot summer's day with the thickest winter feather duvet she has. She wraps you around and around in it and then tucks in all the edges, then gives you a big hug, rubbing up and down to create more heat, before you try and walk off.

Then, when you try to breath it is like being in bed and putting the duvet over your head to cut out the light and make it dark. You can hardly breathe because the air is so hot and oppressive.

Fortunately I'm used to it now and it doesn't bother me, especially as - with the breeze on the water - I hardly notice the heat once we are moving along.

The climate is also very variable - sometimes we can see mountains beyond the start of the course but today it was so cloudy I couldn't see more than 300m.

In the boat we just make the most of each day we have. We improve bits of our technique every session and fine tune everything else - from checking all the nuts and bolts, to making sure we have all our communication absolutely crystal clear.

Off the water, it is like the calm before the storm and I wish we could remain for an eternity a week away from our first race. There is so much excited anticipation, like the week before Christmas.

Every nation has arrived at the regatta course, with the Chinese coming in on Monday, so there is no stopping the momentum. As our coach always says to us, you don't go to the Olympics, the Olympics come to you; and they're hurtling towards us now.

I keep having to pinch myself, to realise this isn't all a dream. Lots of memories of Athens keep flooding back. World Championships are paling into insignificance, and I remember now that they are merely stepping stones to the Olympic Games.

I love it though, I love the intensity, in fact there is nowhere in the world I'd rather be right now.

Frances Houghton, 28, from Oxford, has won gold in the women's quadruple scull in each of the last three World Rowing Championships, and won Olympic silver medals in 2004 and 2008. Her previous diary entries are on 606. Our FAQs should answer any questions you have.


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  • 1. At 11:19am on 05 Aug 2008, Ian-in-Bangkok wrote:

    All the best Frances. I'll be willing you and your crew to take it all the way.

    (Suggest you leave your mum's duvet back at the boathouse on the big day. Maybe donate it to an aspiring cox before the winter heads training on the Isis.)

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  • 2. At 10:04am on 08 Aug 2008, fmgotch wrote:

    Best of luck on Sunday and during the rest of the Olympics. We will be cheering you on Sunday morning at the break of day.....
    Probably propped up in bed with a cup of coffee!!
    Frances and Mike.

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