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It is now pre-pre-race day - two days to go for us, one day for the smaller boats, and just a few hours until the opening ceremony.

Unfortunately, we cannot march in the stadium though, as the ceremony goes on until very late; it would be like going out for a big night out two days before racing.

It is a real shame, as the opening ceremony in Sydney was absolutely awes-inspiring and an experience I will never forget.

Women's quadruple scull of Grainger, Houghton, Flood and Vernon

It has inspired me every time I've thought about it since then, for everything it stands for within the Olympic movement, and for also being a moment when every athlete can say to him or herself, "Wow, I'm really here, I really have got here, I am a part of this; this is a dream come true."

Hopefully the rest of Team GB will be there in force, and gathering massive inspiration from the whole occasion.

It is a reminder for us though that the rowing comes first.

A few days ago we did a practice race day, acting out all the timings of our preparations and racing, wind down and recovery.

So much surrounds a six-and-a-half minute effort. If only it were as simple as just rowing up to the start, racing the hell out of each other, and strolling home again, although to be honest, this is pretty much what we do.

It's just that with margins of 0.01 seconds over seven minutes very common, we have to make sure we do all those elements as well as possible.

Throughout the day everything will have its time slot and be planned out - how much we eat and how much we drink; when we do our mental preparation, and when we take time out to just relax.

We will probably weigh ourselves five times (once in the morning, and then before and after each session) to monitor our hydration status, and drink about seven litres of fluids to stay on top of it.

The food we eat will also have to be carefully monitored too, as with racing in the afternoon we have to make sure that all our stores of energy are full, but that we don't feel full ourselves.

I think it will be a case of little and often and lots of yogurts for me!

The process of practicing all this was really useful, most of all because it reminded me of what it is going to feel like preparing myself, and how much it is going to hurt to deliver the performance.

Later tonight we will be holding our own little pretend opening ceremony out here at our hotel.

I think we are going to dress up in our marching outfits and gather around the TV together.

As if by magic, the BBC has emerged on our big screen, so we'll be able to watch all the best build up and coverage - until we get too nervous to watch any more that is!

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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