SL: It’s the exact same for me – even though I am a woman. But it’s the same emotional roller coaster. And the first thing you want to do is figure out what you can do so this won’t happen again. Because you do see the work they’re doing every day, you know how badly they want it. All you want is for everything to be awesome for them. Immediately after Kona I’m on my computer, writing down all my thoughts. What can we do differently? What can we change? How is this going to happen again (for Rinny)? How is this not going to happen again (for Leanda and Kate)? What am I not getting here? Did I prepare them properly? It’s always been known you learn so much more from the real tough challenges. I really like to delve deep into everything that happened, start to finish, how we prepared, and figure out what we can learn.
MS: It just stinks you have to wait another year!
SL: Yeah, exactly. You learn from the good ones too. I like to ask, “OK, so what was your mindset going in? How did you handle this situation? Do you remember how you pulled yourself out of that bad half hour you were in?”
MS: Even if they win, I know my athletes will never be like: Oh, that was a perfect race! Immediately after they’ll say, “Oh, we’ve got to work on this.”
SL: That’s just the nature of the type of athletes they are. And I love that. You know I constantly feel like I’m on my toes. I so do not look upon myself like I’m this great coach. I look at myself like: Oh my god, I’ve got to keep learning, I’ve got to do this better. I know I’ve got so much work to do.
MS: That’s a great mindset to have and I’m glad to hear you say that. The moment you think you have it all figured out is the moment you stop learning.
SL: You’re done.
MS: You hope that you know now maybe 10% of what you’ll know in the years to come.
SL: Totally. Absolutely. I feel like there’s just so much more to learn and I’m so excited to learn it.
MS: How do you see this years men’s and women’s race play out in Kona?
SL: I think it’s going to be an incredible race all around. I think there are the obvious main contenders, but I also think people are coming into it a lot differently than they’re used to, having had to qualify and do different things throughout their season. And I feel that the level is getting so much higher and the dynamics of the race could look so different for a number of reasons. I don’t think that anyone can go in with an expectation that it’s going to look this way on the men’s side and it’s gong to look this way on the women’s side. I think we’ve got to be ready for anything.