The race felt way bigger than me - a champions account of racing at Short Course World Championships, by Kim Dovey
Yup, for the first time in yonks, the race felt way bigger than me. I've been happy with a lot of results in the past but on this day I was completely overwhelmed and incapable of keeping It together. Thankfully I was in good company and we yelled and screamed and acted completely crazy in a momentary relapse of pure excitement and joy.
A win at the world championships was incomprehensible.
It has been a long time of wishing, hoping, training, fatigue, disappointment and patience to reach this moment in my triathlon journey.
I knew that taking a gap last year, under the advisement of coach, was the right thing to do. The focus was to do a few longer races and stepping away from the standard distance. I'm not a fan of anything longer than a 2:30hr race. I think everyone I train with knows this. The long stuff chokes me and bored me. But, none the less I followed the plan. When SA Short course champs arrived I was excited to race and soon enough the passport and air tickets to the magical Island of Cozumel, Mexico were ready.
I've discovered that in order to do and feel your best in a race you have to really want to race that course. I'm sure you all have your favorite race or venue? It's the place where you just love to perform.
No, I haven't been to the Caribbean before, not that lucky, but , I knew it would be perfect. Sea swim, flat bike, flat run. FAST. And I was hungry.
Over the past months I had seen my biking improve, I'd spent time working hard to keep speed up and consistent. I had focused on ensuring I used my stick arms to drive hard in the pool and strengthen my pull and feel of the water. I was determined to be faster on the track and hoped that it would translate to a solid 10km on race day.
As the final week came, my sessions were exhausting but incredibly I was able to meet the demands that coach expected of me. My confidence grew.
People always ask me what result I expect on race day. And if you are my sons they just want to know if I'm going to win. No pressure. I was comfortable to say that a Top 10 would make me happy. Those closer to me knew I would be striving for a top 5 and the ultimate secret goal was a podium of any kind.
Once my feet touched the island I knew I was in a good place. The sun, the sea, the unbearably delicious heat embraced me.
The positive and beautiful friends that shared this experience with me gave me everything I needed.
The Aquathlon was my first event. It's not hugely attended but is a fantastic race for calming the nerves, putting some zip in the step on the run and swim. A second was fantastic and it gave me the extra motivation I was Looking for.
Race day. 40 degrees. Humid. No wind. Second last wave to start. I had my head in the game. THe start was quick. Some girls were left napping at the pontoon. I pulled hard. Worked the swim more than I have done before. Passed the American who was a little ahead. Caught glimpses of the frog men holding down the sand bags securing the bouys on the sea floor. Clear, beautiful water.
Bam - out the water onto the bike. Miss America blazed off. I knew I couldn't hold her. Settled into my race. The road was crowded. Those who did Durban 70.3 this year will have an idea when i say it was congested. No where to ride, overtake or make a move. You had to push your way through. Unluckily for me I got carded for drafting. It made me mad!!!! Head shaking. Brows curling. I took the 10 at the turn around. I can't afford to lose a place.
Out and off. Relax. Breathe. Stay positive.
Run time. My Achilles. I knew I had to stay in control. Keep consistent. Throw ice into my suit. Keep the "bits" cool. People were seriously suffering from the heat. Spectators were trying to assist competitors who had collapsed on the side of the road. It was crazy! Keep moving Kim. Drive the legs. Remember what track made you feel and you could still run hard.
Finish line up ahead. Under the instruction of my sons, I had to wave at them as I crossed the line. I had second in the bag.
When the results came out, Miss America had crumbled and left the number 1 spot to me.
Totally blown away. I can honestly say that I was incredibly proud of myself.
Such a special day.
Thank you Lucie for your belief in me. For your guidance. For your knowledge and your inspiration. Our 2 year plan came together.
Thank you my incredible Cozumel family. Be proud of your achievements. I am proud of you.
Thank you to my beautiful family. You are my everything. Letting me be the best ME I can be.
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