Hopefully, if you have the distinct pleasure of meeting Dr. Sara Dumich it’s in her role as an athlete on the course and not while she’s pulling med tent duty at one of the many races she covers in her role as a Family and Sports Medicine Physician for Metro Health Sports Medicine. Dr. Dumich is new to the Metro Health family and also what she would consider relatively new to the sport of triathlon.
Her journey as a triathlete has a similar beginning that many of us in the sport experienced. It’s all about who you know. Sara was doing her Sports Medicine Fellowship at Michigan State University alongside her co-fellow. He had done a few triathlons and introduced her to his friends who were avid triathletes. They convinced her to meet them at the pool for a swim workout, she swam with them and has never looked back. But that is where her path diverts from most triathletes. Having never actually done a triathlon before Dr. Dumich registered for Ironman Louisville in 2015. This didn’t seem all that unusual for her, having never run a 5K in her life her first running race was the Chicago Marathon. After some training for Ironman Louisville, she tackled her first triathlon, the Olympic Distance at our partner race The Grand Rapids Tri. She did four more triathlons that summer before conquering the course in Louisville. This year she’s really focused on training for the Half Distance.
Dr. Dumich wouldn’t have considered herself a swimmer, cyclist, or a runner before becoming a triathlete. She was a gymnast all through high school. She wasn’t recruited to be a college gymnast, but after some time studying at the University of Illinois, she approached the gymnastics coach there stating her interest in getting back to the sport and was put on the team.
While her history in athletics shows Dr. Dumich to be a “go big or go home” kind of athlete, she truly believes this sport is for everyone. “Even if you’ve never heard of it before or have any experience in the disciplines this sport is for all ages, levels, and body types.” She wants to encourage people to just go for it. “The sense of accomplishment is amazing. I love training and would train even if I didn’t compete.” But she does appreciate that feeling of crossing the finish line. She also values the sense of community. Her fiance is also a triathlete so they can train together, moving to Grand Rapids and joining Team Stellafly gave her an instant group she belonged to.
As a Sports Medicine physician, her advice to other athletes is to listen to your body. She knows from experience what can happen when you push through an injury. “Be kind to yourself. If competitive have a coach or follow a training plan. She also says nutrition is key for workouts, before, during, or after a race.