Sarah Douglas

May 20, 2021 20:44 · 5611 words · 27 minute read

(upbeat music) - What’s up, everybody.

00:08 - And welcome to episode 20 of the USANA Athlete interview series.

00:13 - I’m your host, Jason Nacey. And today we have an unbelievable guest.

00:18 - She’s going to be attending her first Olympics in a few months for the Canadian sailing team.

00:24 - Please welcome Sarah Douglas. Let’s dive right into it.

00:29 - You’ve got the Olympics coming up. This is going to be your first Olympics.

00:35 - Are you pretty excited? - Yeah, I mean– - Obviously.

00:38 - That was a dumb question, but let’s talk about your excitement.

00:44 - - Yeah. I mean, at this point it’s almost seems normalized because I’ve been thinking about it and planning so much and just trying to make the whole experience seem normal like going to an Olympics and eating at the buffet or wherever and just try to make it more normal, but no, it’s really exciting.

01:03 - I mean, it’s such a huge honor. When you put up your sail at the Olympics and you know, it’s just Canada, that’s all about it is.

01:09 - On your jersey, it’s Canada and so that really means a lot to me and representing Canada at my first Olympics. It’s exciting.

01:16 - - Oh yeah. I mean, that’s gotta just be special on any occasion representing your country, but then, I mean obviously the Olympics, that’s the ultimate goal, the ultimate level.

01:31 - Yeah. I don’t, I can’t even imagine what that would be like representing your country.

01:37 - You getting a lot of support from people? - Yeah. Yeah.

01:43 - Well, I kind of had a bit of experience of representing country, a number of events.

01:49 - - Yeah. - But I mean, the Olympics is such a big, I mean, massive and every four years and the support has been incredible.

01:58 - I mean, in the last four years especially to people supporting me, you know, donating helping me out, the little things like helping me put my laser on top of my car because I’m traveling somewhere.

02:11 - It’s the little things that really make a big difference.

02:14 - And it’s really nice to have the support of the community.

02:18 - - Yeah. I saw on your Instagram, it was a handful of weeks maybe a couple months ago when you were down in Florida training and you got a flat tire, it seemed like there was a handful of things that kind of bounced in the wrong direction for you while you were down there.

02:36 - - I just have so many car problems. I don’t know.

02:38 - I think hen you’re trailering something there’s just something always going to happen.

02:44 - So yeah, the really number of issues with our trailer, it’s like, we ran out of, well one of my mistake, I ran out of gas on the highway on the Florida turnpike and, you know.

02:55 - The light comes on and you’re like, “Okay, yeah I should probably get gas the next stop. ” But I’m pulling a massive boat behind me and that takes up so much more gas.

03:05 - So then we just, I was on cruise control and the car just stopped and it was just like, “Okay, now I gotta pull over and figure that out. ” But I mean, every day is another adventure and something always happens when you’re trailering but we’re pretty prepared for it.

03:20 - - So we went and asked a bunch of people on Instagram to send in a bunch of questions.

03:28 - So I’m just going to dive into these questions if you’re cool with that.

03:33 - There’s some pretty good ones. And I don’t know how I was, if I was given these in the order they came in or whatever, but yeah.

03:44 - There’s just a bunch of random stuff. So— - Let’s do it.

03:48 - - Yeah, first question. What is your favorite dessert after practice? - Well, I’m not really allowed dessert after practice but my favorite dessert of all time is brownies mostly brownies and ice cream.

04:04 - My coach actually did treat me to, I was just in Portugal last month and he got me a little pasteis de nata, which is like a little Portuguese pastry after racing.

04:15 - So that’s probably also like, just like a nice treat.

04:18 - - So when you have brownies and ice cream do you love your brownie piping hot and then and throwing on the cold ice? - It melts the ice cream. Oh yeah.

04:29 - I don’t get that I often but– (Jason laughing) When I do, it’s incredible.

04:33 - - So why don’t you get that very often? I think this is a good point I’d like to dive in for a second.

04:40 - - Yeah. I think I’m just pretty cautious about my nutrition.

04:45 - In sport of sailing in my boat specifically, I’m quite tall, six feet.

04:49 - And so, I kind of have to watch my weight a bit as well.

04:51 - There’s like an ideal range. - Yeah.

04:54 - - And if I have one too many brownies I might get a little bit too happy for the boat.

05:00 - So I’m just constantly keeping an eye on what I’m eating.

05:05 - I don’t do anything crazy, but just all in moderation.

05:09 - And I’m the person that I don’t have a lot of self control when it comes to it.

05:13 - So like, if I have a chocolate one day I’m going to want a chocolate the next day.

05:16 - So most of the time I just kind of go cold turkey just to manage that because yeah, I’ve just got such a sweet tooth.

05:24 - - See, and I think that’s a great point. The reason why I wanted to get into this is, you know I’ve had this conversation with a lot of people.

05:32 - They’re like, “Oh yeah, I can’t do that. They have this God-given ability.

05:37 - Oh, there’s so much better at that than me. “ But what I’ve learned over the years talking to so many athletes and becoming really good friends with a lot of these athletes is, you know a lot of them weren’t ever the best.

05:53 - They just worked a lot harder and that plays into, you know I’m sure you’d love to have brownies and ice cream every single day, but what’s more important, the brownies and ice cream or representing your country at the Olympics? And I think that’s where really, you know goes into focus for me, is how much you guys sacrifice and what I mean, you guys. just all the elite athletes, how much you have to sacrifice to get to that level.

06:27 - Yeah. Do you want to chat about that just for a second? - Yeah. You know, I don’t always go like full cold turkey.

06:34 - I guess it’s a time and a place too. So, obviously after a big competition like post competition I’m probably going to go to McDonald’s after.

06:44 - But it’s just a matter of going into training, you know.

06:47 - We’re fueling our bodies and what you eat fuels it.

06:50 - So whenever I’m in a training camp, I’m just very cautious about what going in, because I’m working out so many times.

06:58 - I’m on the water for so many hours that you really need to make sure that you’re fueling for what you’re doing.

07:04 - And so it kind of changes, but yeah, just being cautious about what type of food you’re putting in your body because that’s what you need for energy.

07:14 - - Yeah, yup. And then, so this, wasn’t a question that somebody asked on Instagram, but it’s kind of relative to what we were talking about.

07:25 - Was there ever a time you felt like quitting? ‘Cause I know to participate at the level you’re at in any sport, there’s so many sacrifices.

07:37 - Was there a time ever a time where you’re just like, “Yeah, I just wanna live a normal, easy life. ” - You know, it happens all the time.

07:47 - And that even happened last month in Portugal.

07:50 - I was tired, I just finished a competition that I didn’t do particularly well in and I was disappointed in my results and I was felt burnt out and I was like, you know what, I’m really exhausted.

08:01 - And with COVID and all the struggles, constantly changing schedule, I was like, “Oh, hell. I don’t know about this. ” You know, you go sail on the next day and you’re like, “This is why. ” You know, it’s a great deal on the water.

08:15 - I love what I’m doing and I have to remind myself that this goal and the goal that I’m going after.

08:20 - But there are certainly those days that you’re struggling, that you’re struggling to get out of bed and do that workout.

08:27 - But it’s good to have those kinds of reminders whether that’s visually or you write it in your journal or just chatting to a friend or something that kind of really helps me.

08:37 - But yeah, all the time. It’s like those tough days, you know those tough workouts and you wake up and you’re so sore and you’re like, “I can’t even get out of bed, but I gotta go do another bike ride. ” - Oh yeah.

08:49 - I mean, I’ll be the first first to admit, you know, I was doing pretty good exercising, hitting a lot of these competitions, whether it was Spartan races or, you know, trail runs, whatever.

09:05 - And then COVID hit and my schedule cleared up and all of a sudden, you know, I’m laying in bed, the alarm goes off and I was like, “Oh, I’ll get out of bed tomorrow because I don’t have anything on my calendar. ” You know, the discipline’s really hard for me.

09:26 - I have to have something on my calendar. So there’s nothing on the calendar.

09:29 - It’s like, “Oh, you know, I’ll get at it tomorrow. ” And then tomorrow turns into a week and a week turns into a month.

09:35 - And next thing I know, it’s been several months and I’ve hardly done anything.

09:40 - And it’s like, what is happening? It’s so easy to spiral down that road.

09:49 - - Yeah. I think it’s easier for me. Well, I have a, I work with the sport strength and conditioning coach.

09:57 - And so I also have that aspect of like, “Ah, if I don’t do my workout today, he’s going to see it.

10:02 - It’s going to be read online. “ And I was just like, I have a guilty part of that too and part of that workout.

10:09 - So it’s makes it a bit easier for discipline ‘cause I’m like, I don’t want to disappoint him.

10:13 - I got to get the workout in. Plus you feel better always. Once I’m done, I’m so happy I finally did that.

10:20 - - 100%. I’ve never gotten out of bed early and hit a hard workout and been like, “Man, I wish I would’ve just stayed in bed. ” Never, never.

10:30 - - Yeah. Sometimes you’ve got to force it. - Yeah. All right. Here’s another question.

10:37 - What is your favorite USANA product? - Oh, easy. That’s the sports pack.

10:45 - It’s just, you know, it’s so convenient and I travel all the time, so it’s yeah it’s a little packets and it’s great to just kind of keep me healthy while I’m on the road.

10:57 - - Yeah. Yeah. Nice. All right. Next question.

11:02 - Why do you trust USANA as a professional athlete? This is a good one.

11:07 - - You know what? Most of the products that I take are NSF safe as well which is a massive aspect because we’re being tested all the time.

11:16 - I have to fill out where I am at all day to WADA.

11:20 - So, you know, it’s great to trust a brand and know what’s going into it and know that I’m going to be safe from testing and everything.

11:29 - - And I don’t think people realize, you know when you say you have to let WADA know where you’re at at all times, you’re not joking and they can just show up at any time unexpected.

11:43 - I’ve had friends who maybe gone several weeks and then get tested, you know, two or three times in one month.

11:51 - And it’s just, it’s so random. You never know.

11:55 - And I know that, you know, in talking with other athletes because the supplement industry is not really regulated you know, a lot of the athletes wanted to take supplements but they were afraid to because the ramifications, if you fail a drug test are severe.

12:17 - Yeah. I mean, losing a medal, in sailing, I know it varies from sport to sport.

12:25 - I’m not positive ;cause I haven’t had in-depth conversations with all the Olympians about this.

12:32 - I don’t know if it’s the same if you’re an Olympic athlete suspension, but in sailing, if you failed a drug test, even if it was by taking a product that, you know nothing was on the label and then you failed the drug test because of that, how long do you get a suspension or what happens in sailing? - I think it depends on what kind of drug it is and whether you’re in competition or out of competition.

13:02 - But generally, there is some sort of suspension.

13:04 - It just depends on how long it will be. But before I take anything, we can look it up online.

13:10 - And yeah, it is different whether you’re for what sport and whether you’re in competition or out.

13:16 - - Yeah. - But before I take anything, I always search it online and make sure that it’s approved and that it’s safe for me to take because yeah, I gotta submit where I am every night.

13:27 - Like every day I have a overnight location that I kind of fill out beforehand.

13:32 - And if they show up and you’re not there you get a strike and you get three strikes.

13:36 - That’s like equals with a positive test. - Wow. That’s nuts.

13:42 - Yeah. Kind of scary. (Sarah chuckles) - Yeah.

13:46 - - All right. Here’s another really good one.

13:50 - How many hours do you practice a day or a week? - So I’m on the water probably for three hours in a day.

14:03 - And I’ll typically sail five days a week. And then I will have a workout probably like every other day or maybe two or three. Depends on what kind of cycle I’m in.

14:17 - But it ranges from like a one hour strike workout to like maybe a two hour bike ride.

14:22 - - Okay. Okay. Do you like riding the bike? Is that something a lot of sailors do? Is it supplement on a bike or? - Yeah, I think it’s great cross training for us ‘cause it is a lot of legs, what is what we use in the boat.

14:38 - And, you know, we go to a lot of really cool places and get to travel and it’s always nice to kind of explore on the bike as well.

14:45 - - Yeah. - I wasn’t always massively into biking, but with the pandemic and gym’s clothes, I just kind took it up.

14:52 - I upgraded my road bike last summer and then all of my friends kind of got into it.

14:57 - And it was just a really great activity to get outside and work out as well.

15:01 - - Yeah. So that leads me to another question I didn’t even think about.

15:06 - How do you get that massive boat, your bike, how do you get all that equipment around? Cause you’re, I mean, you’re all over not just in the States, but you’re in Canada, US, weren’t you just in Barbados? - Portugal. - Portugal.

15:23 - And then earlier were you in Barbados or something like that? Yeah.

15:27 - - Yeah. I’ve been a bit of all over. I don’t exactly travel light.

15:32 - So for example, the last trip I had three suitcases and you know, one with my clothes, and my different bars and supplements and everything then I have my sailing bag because I have to carry around the rope and the sails that I use and then all the wetsuits and all the gear that I wear because depending on when you’re going, you know the weather can change a lot.

15:56 - So you have a thinner sweatsuit to thickest one depending on where you’re going.

16:01 - - Yep. - And then my third bag is my bicycle.

16:04 - So I’ll kind of pack that up. But for, in terms of the boats I’ve got three boats right now.

16:11 - Two are, well, they’re kind of all over the world.

16:13 - So I have one in Canada that I used in the US, that’s like North American based.

16:19 - - Yeah. - One in Europe that usually gets stored in Spain and then one for Japan, which I also use in Australia.

16:28 - So like that kind of side of the world, but they get transported in containers.

16:34 - So actually have my European boat and my Japanese boat on route to Japan right now.

16:40 - - Okay. Okay. So you’re taking two of them for the Olympics, just in case something happens? - Yeah.

16:48 - Originally, we were supposed to have more time training, so that was the plan to use my boat.

16:53 - But now with everything where we delayed our arrival to Japan until the village and the venue opens.

17:01 - So I actually won’t be using my lasers because we get a lot of boats.

17:07 - We get given boats with the Olympics. - Oh, cool.

17:10 - - Yeah. So we kinda have like a lottery and you pick ‘cause they’re all the same boat for boat that I sail.

17:15 - Actually pretty much all of the classes are the same, so yeah.

17:20 - That’s, do a nice little worldwide trip and it’ll eventually come back to Canada but unfortunately I won’t be able to use them in Japan.

17:27 - - Yeah. Wow. That, yeah. You don’t even think about all the logistics that are involved. - It is a lot of logistics.

17:35 - We have a lot of staff that really helps us out with that because when you have a shipping container and you have all the equipment in there, you know you have like five, six boats in there.

17:45 - You have paperwork for that, and a carnage.

17:48 - It’s just, it’s a lot of logistics. - Yeah. Sounds insane.

17:55 - So another question that kind of goes into this and you talked a little bit about this but what does your training look like? So you talk about the boat, I mean, the bike being a big part of it and then also being on the boat.

18:12 - - Yeah. I would say depending on whether I’m preparing for competition, our training sessions are a lot of practicing certain techniques and racing with other boats.

18:25 - So I actually don’t usually sail by myself.

18:28 - There’s usually a group of us train together.

18:30 - We all sail individual boats but you need to kind of like test your speed, new different maneuvers around them and then you all race together around the course.

18:38 - So that’s typically what we’re doing. We’ve got very specific goals and techniques that we’ll kind of work on during that day.

18:46 - And my coach will film it all just on his phone and then we’ll watch all the video later and talk about all the different strategies.

18:53 - And we have a whole rule book as well for boats coming together.

18:58 - So there’s a lot of discussion on rules and who was in the right, who was in the wrong and just kind of talking about the training session.

19:06 - - So, last week you posted a picture that blew my mind.

19:13 - There was so many boats in sales in this picture, it almost looked like a wreck.

19:19 - Like it looked like people were on top of each other.

19:23 - Is that typical in your sport? - Yeah. I mean, we race against, well, the Olympics will be 44 boats in one course.

19:32 - So we go, we have a starting line, between two boats and it’s a five minute sequence and we’ll go around the course.

19:40 - So we’re competing against everyone else. So we get sometimes at the beginning, get very clustered and we’ll try not to hit boats ‘cause that’s also against the rules, but it happens.

19:51 - And, but a yelling and confusion always happens, but we are racing against everyone else.

20:00 - So that does get quite heated. - Okay. So when you’re racing like at a tournament or the Olympics, you guys go, is it like every five minutes, a new boat goes or do you all– - We all start at the same time.

20:16 - - Oh, you all start at the same time. Wow. So how does that work? ‘Cause it almost seems like other people would have a bigger advantage if they were up towards the front.

20:27 - And I would feel like not knowing how it happens, I feel like everybody would try to be getting in the front as much as possible.

20:40 - - So as it’s different because, so we have two boats that are anchored and they have people on them and they’re watching this line.

20:49 - They have two flags on both of the boats so they’ll watch, it’s like an imaginary line essentially.

20:54 - And you can’t cross in front of that, your boat.

20:56 - So if you’re over that line by go, or before go, sorry, you’ll get a penalty.

21:05 - So it’s a lot that you’re kind of racing each other to make sure you’re front row.

21:13 - And then you have a clear start because if the boat’s any bit ahead of you, you’re going to have back wind.

21:18 - They’re going to kind of create some turbulence for you.

21:20 - And then there’s also certain ends of the line are favored.

21:24 - So there’s going to be one that’s a little bit more upwind one a little bit closer to the next mark.

21:29 - And it’s kind of doggy dog when it gets to and we’re all starting at the same time.

21:35 - - Yeah. - You practice that a lot. - Okay. So would it be fair to say the people who are really good at starts are typically the ones that do really good in a race? - Mhm.

21:50 - - Okay. - Yeah. Starting as a massive part of the race because if you get started ahead in front of everyone you have good wind, you have clear air no one’s affecting your air and you can make your own decisions from there.

22:03 - As soon as you fall back a little bit, then you’re going to be forced, it could go a different direction.

22:08 - And maybe that’s not the best way with what the wind’s doing because we’re also reading the wind and wind shifts.

22:14 - And maybe there’s a geographical aspect of it, maybe there’s a cliff on the right-hand side and wind kind of bends around it.

22:23 - - Wow. That’s crazy. - It’s a lot of things.

22:26 - - Sounds a little bit like NASCAR. NASCAR’s the same way.

22:30 - Typically the car in the front, they get to make their, like you said, make their own decisions.

22:36 - And if you’re behind, you’re always you’re getting air that’s more turbulent and a little harder to cut through.

22:45 - That’s crazy. That’s fascinating. - Yeah. And the wind’s constantly changing too.

22:50 - So that person that might’ve started ahead could actually lose to the person that ended up going different direction ‘cause the wind changed.

22:59 - - Yeah. Yeah. - So it’s, yes. It’s a lot.

23:02 - - So is it safe to say that although there’s a tremendous amount of skill in your sport, there are still somewhat natural elements that can make or break a race for you? - Yeah. We could have a big wind shift that could happen.

23:23 - They generally, the race can be people that are running the races will try to, will abandon it if it’s an extreme windshift if it completely changes the leaderboard, but any sort of cloud that comes in will change the wind.

23:40 - And so we use that to our advantage. You know, I kind of like studied clouds.

23:43 - I’m almost a bit of a mini meteorologist because you got to study the cloud what kind of cloud it is and where you are what time of day is big factor of us as well, like what kind of wind is coming through and is it a system? These are all kinds of questions that we’re putting in our head as we’re racing around the course.

24:01 - - See that’s crazy. I don’t think people really think about all that goes into it.

24:10 - You know, look, I’m going to sound like an idiot and I’m not trying to like simplify your sport but I really thought, you know, it was being in shape, obviously knowing something about the wind, but didn’t even realize the mass start like you guys have and then really studying all the different, like a cliff.

24:38 - I wouldn’t have even thought about a cliff.

24:40 - I would have just gone out and gone sailing and probably ended up upside down.

24:46 - And that’s why I don’t sail. (Jason laughing) - Yeah. It’s kind of like we always using a metaphor, it’s like running your race, but also playing a chess game at the same time, because we’re very physical in the boat but you have to have your head out of the boat looking at yeah, the winds, a cliff, wherever you are.

25:04 - And then also just having knowledge about where you are because like current can play a big role in our racing as well.

25:11 - So anything above water and below water makes a big impact on our boat.

25:17 - - Man, that’s crazy. So how did you get into sailing? I mean, that’s not something that people just fall into.

25:26 - - No, not at all. You know, my family had never sailed before either.

25:30 - We were not sailors. - Wow. - It all started with my brother actually.

25:33 - So I grew up in Barbados and you know, with the ocean right in the backyard, my brother wanted to start.

25:40 - And so my dad was like, “You know what? Let’s do a father son activity.

25:44 - Let’s learn how to sail. “ My dad was like, “I’ve never sailed before. ” And they loved it.

25:48 - They started and when I got old enough, I was seven.

25:52 - I started to sail then my mom started to sail.

25:54 - It just became a whole family activity and we just absolutely loved the sport.

26:01 - You know, we went from living in a house more in the middle of the island to then being right on the water in a marina so that we could have our boat in the backyard and we could go sailing more often.

26:14 - - That’s really cool. So it was just kind of a fluke, how your family got into it? - Yeah, pretty much.

26:20 - It’s all my brother’s fault essentially. He wanted to do it and we just fully took it on from there.

26:27 - And every vacation was an altar on sailing.

26:31 - We’re very involved in the sailing community in Barbados.

26:34 - And then we would come to Canada in the summers and compete when we were young.

26:39 - - Okay. So do you think your family will ever try and sail around the world? - My dad’s dream would be to do that but my mom, that’s not her dream.

26:54 - So he would love to retire and buy a boat and kind of live on it for a couple of years and, you know travel through the Caribbean and South America or the Med or something.

27:06 - But it’s not, my mom’s not that much of a sailor.

27:09 - She likes the destination, not the journey which is not what sailors are about.

27:14 - (Jason laughing) I don’t think that’ll happen for them but they’re just going to be like day cruisers.

27:18 - - Yeah. I gotta be honest. I’d be a little freaked out being out in the middle.

27:25 - The ocean, the ocean has always just kind of whipped me out.

27:29 - Like I like to see land, if I don’t see land, then it I mean a cruise ship’s completely different, right? I mean, that’s like a massive city, but yeah, being on a small boat and the chances of a storm hitting.

27:47 - I think maybe I’ve just seen too many Hollywood movies.

27:50 - That’s– - Yeah. I think you’ve seen too many Hollywood movies.

27:53 - They got radars and they’ve got, you can see the systems, you know, you know there’s gonna be a storm coming.

27:59 - You’re going to be prepared for that. - So it’d be pretty hard to get caught in a storm if you were smart about it? - Yeah. I mean, the keyword is being smart about it.

28:07 - I’ve certainly have been caught in storms just out sailing my laser.

28:12 - But yeah, I think when you’re on a bigger boat and you’re doing crossings that you’re probably a bit more prepared, but for sailing at least with my sailing, a storm does get us every now and again, and we’re like, “Okay, we got to get inside.

28:25 - It’s lightening. “ - Yeah. - We should get back to shore immediately.

28:29 - - Well, I mean, lightening doesn’t seem that big of a deal with a big old metal rod hanging out on a flat ocean.

28:40 - - Yeah. Well, as soon as we see lighting, we head in.

28:43 - That’s immediately. We’re pretty good about that safety aspect.

28:47 - - For sure. All right. Last question.

28:52 - And this is one I typically ask the athletes.

28:56 - I think it’s really cool to leave people watching this with a little nugget or, you know, some advice.

29:07 - So what’s one thing that you do every day that helps you either become a better athlete or a better person? - I’m actually going to say two, ‘cause they’re kind of related.

29:19 - I meditate and I journal and I think that makes a big impact.

29:24 - I just do a little short, like three to five minute meditation on my phone, just getting breathing.

29:30 - And I think it really brings focus and awareness and I’ll write down kind of my focuses and goals for the day.

29:37 - And I find that starting my day off with that gets me so focused and really highlight what I need to accomplish and not deal with all the other stuff happening.

29:48 - And so I find that really helps me with my training and my competing.

29:53 - - Fantastic advice. Sarah, I really appreciate you taking the time.

29:58 - I know you’re traveling like crazy right now.

30:03 - So, and I know you’re super busy, so I really, really appreciate you carving out this time and spending it with me.

30:11 - And it’s been fantastic getting to know you a little bit better and cannot wait to watch you at the Olympics and cheer you on.

30:20 - - Thanks, Jason. I really appreciate it. It was great chatting with you. .