So along comes the day of my 400m heat. I have to admit…I was pretty nervous! I looked at the start list and saw the first few girls were running 51s and 52s…I happened to be put in the heat with the Nigerian whose best time was 51.1. My back was still not 100% and giving me pain when I warmed up so the doc injected some local anesthetic to help relax the muscles and numb it a bit. This helped helps and allowed me to warm up with a clearer head. The whole experience of warming up and going to the call room and everything is so different to anything in Australia, I found it so exciting just going to the call room and seeing all the TV cameras around the place.

By the time I got out to the track I had completely forgotten about my back, walking into my lane (which I unfortunately drew lane 7) and hearing everyone cheering ‘Aussie Aussie Aussie, OI OI OI’ gave me goose bumps. I ended up coming 4th in the heat and ran a 54.29 which wasn’t fast but considering I couldn’t walk 2 days earlier I was happy to be through to the semi-finals! I had an ice bath, massage, a good feed and was off to bed for an early night because my semi was at 11am the next day.

I was a lot less nervous getting ready for the semi because I’d gotten the first run out of the way, so I felt my mind was more focused and my legs had had a bit of a stretch out the day before. I had the same problem with my back warming up so I got it injected and strapped again. I drew lane 7 for the second time and had a few American girls that could run 52s in my heat… Realistically I knew I’d have to run a 52 to get into the finals, I knew I was in PB form but with this new back problem I didn’t know what I’d be able to pull out…Unfortunately I ran a 54.39 which placed me 5th, so I missed out on the finals but I’m now ranked 15th in the junior world! I was definitely disappointed with the end result, mainly because I hadn’t run a PB…getting to the semi-final and being ranked 15th is awesome but I’m annoyed because I know I can run faster…I guess it’s all a learning experience though!

The 4x400m relay heat was on the Saturday, so I had two days of recovery where I spent a lot of time watching and cheering everyone else on. We hadn’t had much relay practice but the order was set as Caitlin Sargent to Louise Maybury to Shannon Smith to me. I was so glad to get another run on the track, it’s such an amazing experience so we were all pretty pumped to get out there! My back was still giving me a bit of grief so I had the local anesthetic again just to numb it so it wouldn’t worry me. We started out pretty well and the girls all ran really hearty races, but we had a tough heat with a few top class teams! I got the baton and we were placed 6th, I tried to make up a bit of ground with the girl in front of me which helped me get a good split of around 52.7! We came 6th, so we didn’t progress through to the final but I know we all had the time of our lives competing for our country out there.

The final day was on the Sunday so we all got to watch the remaining athletes compete and then try and swap a few bits and pieces of our uniform for other countries. I managed to get USA Nike tights and shirt, and I traded our thin, plastic, white rain coat for the Spain team jacket which I was stoked with!!

All up it has been by far the best few weeks of my life. I’ve made friends with the whole team and different countries, and have learnt so much about international competition. It’s definitely ‘spark’ed my goal to be selected in senior teams and compete for Australia again very soon!

Special thanks to Sara Mulkearns and Terri Carter, the team physiotherapist and doctor, and the rest of the team management for looking after us exceptionally well!

Anneliese Rubie – July, 2010