BEIJING- Boise State freshman diver Breanna Hemming concluded her trip to China and the Junior World Triathlon Championships Saturday, with a 28th-place finish in the Junior Elite race. Hemming finished the rain-drenched course in 1:07.59, just behind a United States teammate. Junior Elite athletes compete in a sprint-course race, consisting of a 750-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike ride and five-kilometer run. An athlete from New Zealand led the 54 racers with a winning time of 1:03.40.
Read on for Hemming's thoughts on race day.
It is easy to look back on a big competition and find all of the small mistakes you wish you could change. The reality is, none of them can be changed. You are given one opportunity to prove yourself as an athlete, a person, and a competitor. But the most important idea is that you can learn. Learn from each event and change before the next.
I was one hour seven minutes and fifty nine seconds for my debut on the world championship stage. The event started much before the horn blasted at the start line.
7:00 am- I laid in bed, unable to sleep any longer. I was filled with every sort of emotion. In the 5 years of competitive racing I have created a routine for race morning. First on my agenda, stop thinking. I jumped in the shower to clear my head, and then place only the thoughts I wanted back.
7:45- 3 hours until race time, time for protein, oatmeal. My stomach usually doesn't want anything to do with food right before a race, so I eat until I can't handle forcing myself to take another bite and then stop. I made it about ten bites.
8:15- Relax. I use snapping to calm myself down. 15 minutes sitting, snapping. The constant rhythm is relaxing and my focus is easily brought to my fingertips.
8:30- The craziness starts. It is raining pretty hard and about 55 degrees outside, not ideal. I step outside and smile. Nothing was going to change the weather, it was an uncontrollable. Why worry about something you can't control? I was better off smiling. Our team bike mechanic brought my bike over to me and told me my tires were all set up for the conditions and he would check them again before race time. The plan was to ride the 4km to the race as part of our warm up, but with the rain the roads were to dangerous. The two other girls and I loaded in the bus and sat quietly over to the race.
8:45- The three of us handed our bags to the coaches who would carry them to the athlete's lounge for us, while we warmed up. The first 10 minutes of our warm up I was freezing. Slowly my body temperature raised as I climbed the steep hills and practiced taking the sharp turns at race speed.
9:30- Our warm up ended at the athlete's lounge for check-in. The officials checked to make sure our numbers were placed correctly on our arms and legs, our suits were photographed, and we were given our timing chip and swim cap.
9:45- One hour. Time to eat again. Three bites of a PB&J, one of a protein bar, and a shot of blocks. Seems random, but it was all I could handle. I sat impatiently, head phones in but no music. Mostly to keep myself from being distracted from all the noises. 5 more minutes of snapping.
10:00- A quick running warm up and swim. The water is the warmest I've been all day.
10:35- All 54 of us were ushered under a white tent, lined up by number and nervous.
10:45- Each girl was called out by number, being number 7 meant I had a long time to wait on that beautiful blue carpet while the others came out. The hardest part of the race is right there. It is the waiting.
10:47- The starter calls on your mark and follows with a horn blast. In triathlon, I am a fairly strong swimmer, so I lined myself up on the outside, so I would be able to swim in the clear, flat water along the edges. That didn't happen! I quickly got caught up in a mess of girls. I took elbows and shoulders to the face, my googles were pulled, my suit caught in someone's hand. The only thing to do was relax. I swam around the cluster of girls trying to reattach myself with the pack in the front. I ran out of time before the first turning buoy. I was now caught in the middle of the pack, fighting to make a simple turn. Not at all where I wanted to be. The rest of the swim calmed a little and I was able to recompose myself. I came out of the water in the middle. It was on to the bike. the bike started with a fierce climb that quickly separated the girls into packs. I was in the second pack, or chase pack. With all the rain and wet roads that bike course was slick. My pack slowed down significantly before every turn to make sure we didn't all fall. Throughout the bike girls slowly dropped off the back of our pack and would be picked up by another, we also picked up some girls who had dropped off from the front group. But no big shifts in placement happened. After a quick three laps of the course, we re-racked our bikes and slipped on running shoes. The run took off at a blazing pace. The stands that ran along 1k out and back section, kept the pace high. I crossed the finish line in 28th place.
The experience World Championships gave me is unforgettable. There is so much to be learned from each mistake and every hiccup I came across. I grew so much as an athlete and a person. I had so much support from my family and everyone back home, something every athlete needs. Thank you for everyone who supported me through my crazy adventure.