As athletes we do a lot of mental training throughout training, on race week and even in the hours before the race start. I often speak about controlling the controllables and not wasting energy on things out of our control and this all comes down to the mental component of being an athlete. We can’t control the weather, but we can control our gear/clothing for race day. We can also control our pacing, attitude and nutrition. We can’t control who shows up on race day, the course, how many volunteers and spectators are out on the course or the exact start time of the race.
-Forget going for "the look". Focus on being comfortable on the bike. Not too cold but not too hot.
I hope I am not alone here but ass a coach, it didn't even cross my mind that athletes would not race at IMFL because of the cancelled swim and unfavorable race day conditions. Certainly, I would never ask an athlete to compromise his/her health just for a race but at IMFL, I saw a lot of athletes giving up before even trying and I contribute this to emotions and feeling alone with thoughts, in the moment. In this scenario, the only way to get through this situation was to control emotions in order to see what was possible for the day. And that is exactly what all 9 Trimarni athletes did on race day.
Despite our athletes dealing with a lot of conflicting emotions just like everyone else, Karel and I were able to remind our athletes as to the work they did to prepare for the Ironman and the training was not a waste just for 2.4 miles subtracted in a 140.6 mile event..
In a 8+ hour event, there is still a lot of racing to be done and the day would not be without obstacles to overcome and plenty of lows that would need to be dealt with in 138.2 miles of racing. And that is what the Ironman is all about!
I am sure that the athletes who started IMFL did so because they had something to prove. The same mental training that was needed to prepare for 140.6 miles of racing was still needed for 138.2 miles. The day was not easy. There was a lot of fighting, suffering and hardships for 138.2 miles but also a lot of passion and even smiles. Correct me if I am wrong but a 138.2 mile duathlon absolutely requires a lot of training so why would an Ironman athlete feel less deserving of this accomplishment compared to 140.6 miles? Sure, it's not the same and I get that but if you can't control the situation, control your attitude.
For the IMFL athlete who refused to give up on a dream that was given 3,6,12+ months of preparing for, I am certain that success was still felt at the finish line and bragging rights were still allowed despite the slightly shortened event.
Your courageous efforts were not ignored and to every athlete who started the race, you are now a smarter, fitter and more experienced athlete. You will remember your IMFL experience forever.