SL: For sure. And of course, if that’s what we’re given, we’re going to look at it as a great opportunity and always try to get the positive spin.
MS: It is what it is. You can get upset and complain, but you still have to do an ironman, so you have to try and make the best of it. What would you do next year – where would you put that ironman in the season? Would you do New Zealand again?
SL: As much as I love that race, I far prefer, for instance, how Leanda has gone about it. Everyone thought we were crazy, but she did Kona and then she did the 70.3 world champs and then she did Ironman Arizona. My biggest thing was wanting to make sure she was still motivated and mentally fired up to do that, because in my opinion if you’re not mentally fired up to do an ironman, you don’t do it. There are too many ups and downs and it’s too hard to put yourself in a position where you’re not 100% ready to face what you’re going to face. But she felt incredibly motivated and went out and did it and came in third. She put together an awesome race. She didn’t feel awesome because it was the end of a long season, but she put together an awesome race. And then she secured herself for Kona this year, as long as she had continued solid results. For me, that’s the ideal – if your body is ready to take that on – and then you get your big break after that. I think that’s perfect. I think it also allows those athletes that love racing 70.3’s to come into the season and feel fast and take that racing to the next level. That’s always been our goal is to take those 70.3 races to the next level, which will only help you at ironman. But I really wanted to respect Rinny’s recovery over the winter. And not just the physical recovery, it’s also the mental recovery and having flexibility in your life. If you want to go out and have fun one night you can and you don’t have to be at the pool at 6:00am. So we decided to do New Zealand. We decided we were going to do the best that we could to prepare. This was another thing she had to get comfortable with. I said, “Our preparation for New Zealand is gong to look really different to what we did going into Kona. You just have to look at this race as we’re going to go and we’re going to get it done.” Obviously we wanted to have the best possible result, but we just had to get it done. But like you’re saying, these athletes are so competitive. And the conditions were terrible, she had a flat tire, she was 20 minutes down coming off the bike. At that point she was fine to just finish and do the best she could. But someone like that, she starts running and feeling OK and putting quick time into it, and then she absolutely just hammered the run – way beyond what she was capable of at that point. That’s what’s so exceptional about these athletes – they’re able to find that utmost potential within themselves and access it and deal with the agony that goes along with doing that when they’re not really ready for it. It took so much out of her. It took months before she was feeling good again. But again it depends on the athlete. If you have an athlete that can go do an early season race and hold back a bit, take it in a way where there’s less pressure, then I think it’s fine. But if you have someone like Rinny, I know that no matter what she’ll go to her death going as hard as she can to try and win the race.
MS: And her racing style doesn’t always give her the luxury of being able to shut it down. Crowie’s the same way. Usually there’s some uber-biker that is off the front by 10 or 15 minutes. Crowie and Rinny are very similar – they really unleash the run to win races. But that doesn’t give you the luxury to kind of cruise it, because you don’t know what’s going to happen. The last part of the marathon people fade so much and that’s where all the time is taken out. Then you have somebody like Julie who can get off the bike with a 20-minute lead and she has more luxury to kind of keep tabs on what’s going on behind her and only run hard enough to win the race. So I’m sure that sort of plays into that, versus letting it go. I think that’s what Rinny saw and it motivated her. She was just eating that time. It’s hard for them to shut it down because they’re in the moment. They want to win that race.