Extract from PRO Chasing the Dream by Rasmus Henning
Here's the first of a series of extracts from Rasmus Henning's new book, covering a year in his life between Ironman Hawaii 2010 and Ironman Hawaii 2011
Wednesday, June 22nd
Today was a good day. I swam with the other triathletes at the training center in Farum early this morning. It really seems as if my swimming has fallen into place over the last few weeks. At least none of the others could keep up with me. My Sigma Tri teammate, Rasmus Petraeus, the fastest swimmer of the group, had to take off early from training, so I didn’t get the pleasure of dueling with him in the pool.
I went on an easy run afterwards. The rest of the day was dedicated to family time. First, we spent an hour and a half at the Vaerloese Aquatic Center. It makes me happy to see the girls enjoy the water like a couple of water dogs. Once we were dry again, we went to the open-air museum and looked at old, traditional farmhouses, horses, cows, sheep, and chicken. To finish off our family day, we went to our old community housing north of Copenhagen in Birkeroed, to eat dinner with our dear, former neighbors.
It was a blissful day during a time where I’ve otherwise been feeling torn. On the one hand, I can feel that I am beginning to make improvements and have reached a confident state of mind, where I know that I am going to win in Aarhus in ten days’ time. That level of lucidity extends also to Hawaii, where I sense that I am competition-ready and can measure up to the others. I’m in the process of reading a book penned by Chris McCormack, the winner of Ironman Hawaii 2010, called I’m Here to Win, which I find inspirational and has gotten me fired up.
On the other hand, I keep thinking about the purpose of having a coach, and what I essentially need from one. Although I have many years of experience and know exactly what to do and when to do it, I still would like to have someone with whom I can bounce ideas off of about anything and everything. My current coach Michael Krüger was that guy once. But he had already made it clear after the 2008 Olympics that he wasn’t willing to continue collaborating at my level of demand, because it was too overwhelming for him.
For that reason, I had a long period in 2009, where I was my own coach. At the end of that year, Michael and I agreed that he would again create my training programs without the extra obligations from before. However, it is those extra obligations I miss most and has me torn. A part of me feels like I have no right to demand his undivided attention – he has so many other athletes to see to.
But another part of me also reminds myself that I am, after all, one of the world’s best triathletes and, hands down, the most winning Danish athlete at the elite level, and for that reason deserve more commitment from the national coach. This has left my wife Anita and me grappling with the thought of changing coaches. It may be the best solution, even though we worry about what difficulties it would create in both our personal lives as well as my training. The job would probably go to a foreigner, which will require more travelling on my part for meetings and camps. I don’t know if I’m ready for that.