TO: In terms of the pressure, it’s kind of the flip side for me, going in with Rinny as the defending champ. I should maybe ask Nicole [DeBoom, Tim’s wife and former pro] this, but what’s that vibe like? It’s going to be a circus around her.
TD: It’s hard, the pressure’s hard. But most of it came from within me. Yeah, everybody’s looking at you, but the pressure I felt was coming from within me. The year I got third was the biggest one – coming in after that. I thought: What if that was a pure fluke? I talked to Lieto about that the year he got second. He was like: Maybe that’s the best I’ll do, maybe that was fluke. So for me to come back and get second and be pissed about it was probably wrong. I mean I crossed the line and I was like: Fuck. I was pissed I got second place. I mean I couldn’t be happy. I was really upset about it, because I knew I had given away a win that day. It was still an improvement, but it was hard to accept that. I think Nicole couldn’t quite understand why I was upset with second – but then the next year when I won, she understood what you need to do to motivate yourself for that. That’s the thing with Rinny this year. You’re going to be part of that circus. The best thing you can do is step aside and take care of yourself. As much as you’ll want to be there for her, you can do that back in your condo. On the outside, you need to take care of yourself. You’ve got to hold that energy of your own the whole time you’re in Kona. If you’re giving it out, if you’re walking around the expo shaking hands, all that stuff – you’re giving away energy. If you’re thinking about your competition too much, you’re giving away energy. You’ve got to just hold onto that for yourself. I got criticized once – it was race morning and somebody wanted to shake my hand. I was literally getting into the water, and he was like: Hey, good luck! I was literally getting into the water and I didn’t want to shake his hand. It was mostly because I didn’t want to get grease from his hands on my hands – I had scrubbed alcohol on my hands to get a feel for the water and not have grease on my hands. But all I heard was: You dick! So you just have to blank that stuff out and take care of yourself to have a good race over there. Maybe other guys will tell you completely differently, but for me that was what I needed to do. It wasn’t always the healthiest thing in the world as a person, but it got the job done. It’s taken me this long to look back and appreciate the effort that I put into that and be proud of it. Man, I committed to that! And I’ve done a little of that this year, getting ready for Norseman, more out of fear than any race goals. Nicole’s been like: Wow, you’ve put in some good focus time and it’s been cool to see again. That’s what you’ve got to think about going into this. Flip that switch going into this thing.
TO: Is it hard to keep flipping that on year after year?
TD: I think it’s going to be harder nowadays, because you have to race so much. I mean I could have not raced all year and gone to Kona. But now you have to race. After Kona I would take my break. I wouldn’t start training again until December. I’d take a month off and then I wouldn’t start focused training until January. Now guys are racing in November. Nowadays if it was me, I’d think about doing Kona and then racing Arizona or Western Australia – walk through it just to get my qualification. And then focus on the next year like you normally would. But it’s a tough call.
TO: I’ve been thinking about that same thing. But three ironmans in one year for a guy that’s never done an ironman?
TD: But hopefully you would never have to do that again. Hopefully you could walk through. But that’s where you really have to put your pride in check. I was really happy Rinny did New Zealand. Just go down there, get that out of the way. She didn’t train for it like she would have trained for a hard race.