Sarah True: Fourth Time Lucky | Triathlon Journey To The Ironman World Championships 2019

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– Now we’re delighted to be
joined with Sarah True here, because she knows all
about the term fourth, and I thought I would talk a
little bit about that just now. She was fourth place in
the London Games in 2012. She then moved up with
ease to the Ironman 70.3 distance after her second Olympics in Rio, and took fourth place at Ironman 70.3 in Chattanooga Worlds. After that, you moved up
to full Ironman distance and last year here in
Hawaii, she had a fantastic debut performance to come fourth. Now, moving on to this 2019 season, fourth took a little bit of
a twist on the whole racing dynamic because Sarah
collapsed, unfortunately, not one, but two of our Ironmans in qualifying or trying to
qualify for her race this year. She finally got her slot
after a third Ironman attempt at Mont-Tremblant at the
final weekend of racing, and here we are ready for
Kona, at your fourth race, you guessed it, of the 2019 campaign. So, we thought we’d talk to Sarah about highs and lows of all of that and the reflection that
she’s had on that process. ♪ Much to show ♪ ♪ Wonder are you right ♪ ♪ What you did right ♪ (sound of globe spinning) – So, Sarah, take us back to being here, this time last year, Kona 2018. How do you think that whole year, since then, has been in your words? – Last year, first year doing
Ironman World Championship, you walk away with fourth place thinking, “Hey, that went pretty well. “I’ve learned a lot. “I’m going to come back here next year, “and just build on the success
I had the previous year.” And it’s been a lot harder
year than I anticipated. And that’s okay, that Ironman, right? It was almost too easy for me last year, so, now it’s all kind of catching up, that this Ironman stuff is pretty hard. I’ve had some medical issues
kind of come up in races and it’s been a lot harder route to get here. The positives are my training is better that it was last year. I’m a more experienced Ironman athlete. You know, there is this one variable, that we don’t know whether or
not my body will let me race. But we do know that I’m a better, more experienced Ironman athlete. So, that’s why I’m going
to line up on race day and just try to make the
most of the opportunity. – ‘Cause we could easily
say, “Fourth place, that’s the first athlete.” Top three here in Hawaii
re-qualify automatically, for the next year. The athlete simply has to
validate by finishing another full Ironman distance race. But you came fourth, that’s an
absolutely brilliant result. I can’t imagine you had any doubts that, “I’m going to tick that box easily. “I’ll go to whichever race I choose. “I’ll pick the one that
suits my schedule the best. ” Tick that box, bang, all things be well, “and I’ll be back in Kona, quite happily.” And the first Ironman you
chose was in June, right? – Yes, the first race I
chose was Ironman Cairns. I knew I was in good
enough shape to qualify and about 16k into the run, I blacked out. Which was definitely unexpected. That’s not happened to me before. Yeah, then all of the sudden, this plan that you had for the season, you have to kind of reconsider
where you’re going to go. But we knew that I had
gotten in good training before that race, we knew
that I was fit enough to get it done. So it wasn’t a question
of whether or not I was a good enough athlete to qualify for Kona. It was a question of having things line up for me to get my slot. Yeah, I think it’s been a different year than we expected for sure. – Yeah, but at that point,
after having that black out, I don’t imagine maybe,
correct me if you’re wrong, that you perhaps panicked too much, because we all have bad
races from time to time. Things go wrong. – Yep. – It was only June, plenty
of time to reconsider and that’s what you did. You picked another one the next month. Presumably thinking, I’ve
carried all that fitness to train for that Ironman, I can reassess, and start another one,
which was Frankfurt, the following month. – Yeah, so I, we had
Frankfurt in my back pocket in case I got a flat,
something unexpected happened. Never in a million years
would we have thought that I would just black
out 16k into the run. So, we had me signed up for
it and it was a question of all right, do we think it makes sense? Does it make sense for
you to do this race? And at that point, we,
my coach and I decided that this was a risk we
were willing to take. We calculated that it was a
good race for me to target. My fitness was there. It still allowed me, if I
were to qualify in Frankfurt, it still allowed me plenty of time for good lead up to Kona. So we showed up optimistic,
you know I was definitely fit, I was ready to go get my
slot, and it didn’t happen. (laughs) – Now, that was, I mean, we
were actually there filming in Germany for that weekend,
and we saw you absolutely crushing on the marathon. The live coverage showed
you happily in front. – Yeah. – Seemingly in complete control. – Yeah. – [Ollie] And obviously,
the unfortunate happened, not at 16k or 16 miles,
but only at kilometers. – Yeah. So, you know agonizingly
close to the finish. And that’s, if anything, if
it’s amassing the absolute lows of performance racing, that
you can be within grasp of winning an Ironman. – Yeah. – And then that happened. So, talk a little bit
about how you’re able to, I guess, bounce back from that. – It was about 700, 800
meters from the finish. The medical team decided
to take me off the course. The first thought is, what
could I have done differently? No was this something within my control? What did I do wrong? Let’s look at this
systematically and let’s also rule out any underlining medical issue. I think it’s really easy
in sport to come to these gut responses of, “Oh
my goodness, I bonked, “or I did XY and Z.” And basically having a list
of things that could’ve lead me to get to that point, basically, just working through, checking
things off one by one, and trying to come up with
an answer to the problems that I’ve been facing in racing this year. – So, that must’ve been
quite a daunting prospect, ’cause you’re then faced with
a little bit of a crossroads. ‘Cause you’re a professional
athlete, Kona is, for want of a better term,
the be all and end all of the professional racing year. There is an awful lot of
pressure, it would seem, placed on athletes to try and be here. You clearly wanted to be
here, that was the whole point in doing these Ironman, to qualify. So, you’re then, in July,
you’ve got to decide do I want to got through all of that again and am I healthy and able to
do that, to then get myself here, to Kona, to do myself justice. – Emotionally, I wanted to be here, and I’m fit, I feel excited to race. There’s just more uncertainty
going in than we would like. Because, let’s be honest,
doing multiple Ironman races in a year, takes lot out of you. It takes a lot out you physically, it takes a lot out of you mentally. It doesn’t mean I can’t perform, it just makes it harder to perform. – So, that has been clearly a, difficult’s maybe not the right word, an interesting process
to evaluate where you are after each of those
races, to decide whether you are able to get back here, firstly, ’cause clearly you want
to be back here in Kona, that emotional drive was there. But that evaluation of
good races, bad races along the way, is no
different whether you’re a pro athlete or an amateur, is it? – Not at all. I think the important
parts to really drive home is that while emotion is
what gets me out the door, it gets motivated for
races, we have been really, really cognizant of the data,
the scientific part of it, and being honest with
ourselves about whether or not it makes sense to race. So, I think sometimes it’s really common to get caught up in the Kona dream, without stepping back and looking at, does it still make sense
for me to continue. Am I physically able to perform? My training’s great, I feel strong, I feel stronger than last year. We have this element of
uncertainty, whether or not my body will let me, whether
I will have a similar issue as I did in Frankfurt and Cairns. But I am trained. – Yeah. – I am healthy, I don’t
have injury, I’m not sick. So, all along the way
we’ve been looking at it and like, yes, there’s
this emotional component that makes you focused on this goal race, but let’s also continuously
check in, and be honest with ourselves about whether
or not it makes sense. Because at the end of the day,
there’s always another race. If we felt that my performance
was any way in jeopardy, I can always do another
Ironman, I can push it off. But at the end of the day
I’m fit, I’m excited to race, and we’re continuing on. – Well, we’re excited to
watch you race and we’re definitely glad you didn’t
pull the pin on your training before Ironman
Hawaii, because we’re going to be out there cheering
for Sarah, very lively, in a couple of weekend’s time. So, if you, too, have had
a feeling that you’ve had to skip a race or move
forward, then please tell us your story and drop them
down in the comments below. Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed
this video, so please hit that thumb up Like button. Don’t forget to find The
Globe somewhere on screen, subscribe to all our other
videos, and if you want to see a video that we did
about Sarah and her pro bike, you can get that here.


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