May 25, 2017

ITU Sprint Triathlon Word Championship

ITU Sprint Triathlon Word ChampionshipWhen I arrived in Australia I was in a state of total disarray. I didn’t know exactly where I was staying, where the heck I was and how I was going to get to the race. I had made a bunch of quasi-plans but nothing very specific, that’s just the kind of traveler I am. When I got the airport, I decided to check my email to see if one of my contacts had emailed me. Yes, my Australian contact Jess was planning on picking me up at the train station in Nerang. I had to figure out how to get on a train and find a girl I have never met before. Everything worked out to say the least.

I ended up staying with a bunch of Surf Rescue athletes from Australia who live on the Gold Coast primarily to train for Surf Rescue competitions. It was great. They were in bed by 8:00 p.m. and up by 5:00 a.m. which was a perfect schedule for me. I decided to go to swim workouts with them where I swam in a swim group with Emma Snowsill, Olympic Champion! No, I couldn’t keep up, but that’s beside the point. It was awesome!

As it came closer to race day, I wasn’t even nervous, I don’t know what it was, but I was just really excited. With my disappointing finish at Nationals, I had a small lack of confidence and did not to expect to finish well. Then something changed, a fire started to burn in my stomach and I got really pumped up. The day before the race I decided I was going to have the race of my life. I wanted to push myself so hard that I would want to collapse after the finish, which is hard to do on such a short distance. My goal that I set was being the first American in my age group.

Race morning came quickly. As always, it was easy to wake up because I really don’t sleep before big races anyway. I pretty much just lay there staring at the ceiling. I had my peanut butter banana honey toast, put on my red and blue Team USA tri-suit and hitched a ride to the venue.

The transition area was huge. We had to rack our bikes the night before so there wasn’t much for me to worry about. I was light and cheery in the morning, cracking jokes, pumping my competitors tires for them because they couldn’t figure out how to do it (weird). I got my wetsuit on and I was ready to go.

I got on the start line with my competition, put a little spit in my goggles and started fooling with my watch to get it to go. Bang! There went the gun. Oops, wasn’t quite ready. I sprinted into the water, dolphined a couple times, and I was off swimming. I have never felt a real draft in the swim until now. I got right on the toes of a girl in front of me and drafted the entire swim, coming out of the swim I felt fresh. I had no idea where I was at this point getting out of the water into transition, later I found out I was in 26th position.

The run to transition was relatively long; I did some passing on the way, got to my bike and was out of transition onto my bike in record time. During the bike all I was doing was passing; I was passing girls my age, younger girls, then all of a sudden I was passing boys. I looked down at my Garmin and I realized I was going 24-25 miles per hour, without a disk wheel. I was hauling. Not one person passed me on the bike. After the bike I was in 14th position. I passed 12 girls in my age group during the bike.

I had another quick transition and made sure to grab my Garmin watch for the first time when I raced. I wanted to keep track of how fast I was running. I wanted to always keep my pace under 6:45 minute miles. During the run I played fishing games. I would pick someone out in front of me and just reel them in, keeping my pace around a 6:30 minute mile and watching my distance to see how far along I was. Once I hit around 800 yards left I started sprinting, passing people left and right. Since it was an up and back course I could tell that I was the first American. One of our USA coaches handed me a flag and I got to finish with the US flag in hand. I had never felt so good; I had goose bumps, as I was finishing. With the crowd cheering and the music blaring, it was exactly what I had imaged when I was dreaming of it.

I got 10th place overall and 1st American! For the first time EVER I felt like I was going to lose my breakfast at the finish line. It felt good to push it that hard and I think that it was the first time I felt so proud of myself after a race this year. So my Australia trip was a success. Thank you so much to everyone that helped and donated to help me get to Australia!

Sara Davis

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