The best moments are unexpected

The best moments are unexpected

Imogen Simmonds

After the 26-year-old unexpectedly qualified for the World Championships in her first long-distance race in Frankfurt, she competed in the Ironman Hawaii for the first time this year. We met the young Swiss during race week in Hawaii, ran with her and got an insight into her everyday life, her preparations for the competition and some great moments she was able to experience. We are proud to have them on our team and in the Ryzon community.

Ryzon Imogen Simmonds Ironman Hawaii Interview Running How does it feel for you to be on the starting line in Kona this year? Was Kona your big goal this season?

No, I never thought Kona would be one of the main races for me this year. My first Ironman ever was in Frankfurt this year and I just wanted to finish. So it was a total surprise for me to qualify for Kona. And of course I really wanted to take advantage of this great opportunity, which changed my season planning a lot again. I still feel like a bloody Ironman beginner. That's why I'm not really ready for Kona, especially considering the extreme and unfamiliar conditions in Hawaii. I haven't set myself any big goals for the race and just want to enjoy everything and take everything with me that will help me for the further races.

How did you prepare yourself physically and mentally for the race? Did you do anything differently than usual?

Physically I haven't changed much. In Frankfurt I saw that my previous training is good for me and works. Also, a big change in training, with only 3 months between the two races, would probably have meant more risk. But I was aware of the heat and high humidity, which is why I prepared for the race in Texas. But not more. I know that I am still at the very beginning of my career and still have a lot to learn and improve my performance. But I want to continue on the same path as I have been doing up until now. That's why I trained for Kona the same way I normally do. I did a lot of pace sessions this season and started as a preparatory race for the Ironman Hawaii at the 70.3 World Championships in Nice. Kona is a mental challenge. In addition, I have been meditating, which helps me to become calmer and more focused. Here in Kona, I try to stay away from the hustle and bustle of race week to really unwind and find some peace.

How is the team around you doing? How important is support to you as an athlete?

In my opinion, the key to success is having my training partners, my coach, my sponsors and above all my family around me whom I can trust. I'm sure every other athlete feels the same way. This is also the reason why so many athletes thank their teams after the races. Nobody could achieve their goals without the support of the team.

Can you describe what is a unique moment in racing or training for you? Or why you love the sport so much?

This is definitely very individual and subjective. But I just had a moment like this this morning. During swim training in the open sea, a school of fish swam under me. Of course I couldn't swim my usual time then because maybe I was a little too excited. It's moments like this that make this sport special. In general, I love to train outside and breathe fresh air. This is also the reason why I try to avoid shifting my training inwards as much as possible. Whenever there is an opportunity to ride a bike in the mountains, I take it. There's nothing like feeling like you've reached the top of the mountain after a steep climb. I also get a total rush of endorphins after completing a super hard workout. Especially when I was afraid beforehand. But the feeling afterwards, when the training is over and I've also improved my time, is pure fulfillment. But I also enjoy the time to myself, for example when I just go out for a coffee.

"I firmly believe that the most beautiful and unique moments happen unexpectedly"

Yes, I think so too! You just can't plan moments like this.

Yes, they just happen when you least expect them. That's exactly how it was at the Ironman in Nice. I never expected to be able to keep up with the best riders. The moment in Nice, when I rolled out of the mountains towards the transition area after three hours, was super surreal. Most of the time on the track it was very quiet because it was not possible for spectators to stand at the edge of the track. But when we arrived at the bottom, a roar broke out and everyone cheered us on. The whole pages were filled with spectators cheering us on. Only then did I remember that I was in the race. Before that I completely hidden it.

What do you think about during a competition? Is there anything specific you think about then?

It depends. Sometimes it's random things that pop into my head. But most of the time I try to push myself. When cycling downhill, the only thing I think about is “don't fall off the bike now” and stay calm. So I try to be completely focused most of the time.

Obviously focus and concentration is an important aspect of racing. But how does fun play a role for you in the race?

For me it is super important to have fun. I enjoy what I do. That's why I love this sport so much. I've experienced so much, such as training in Thailand. Of course it's hard training and it's still a competition at the end, but we give each other so much energy and it's just fun. I also know that some athletes live in asceticism and only eat the same food for four months in preparation. I personally couldn't. But everyone is different, I'm pretty relaxed about that. I think that would rather work against me and affect my performance negatively.

How do you manage to get out of bed and exercise every morning? Especially on days when you don't feel like torturing yourself?

There are some days when I have a hard time getting out of bed because everything hurts. That's also one of the reasons why training partners are so important, if we have an appointment, I can't just lie there. In addition, it's not just training, I see it more as my job. I just don't question working out early in the morning. It's like everyone else who drives to work in the morning. But if I have to train alone, it definitely becomes more difficult to be disciplined. But even then, I usually manage to keep my motivation up.

So your training has become a routine now that it doesn't matter what you do?

yes Sometimes I have to trick myself by rewarding myself after a workout. But otherwise it's really routine now.

Are you superstitious?

A little maybe. There are a few things I believe in, karma is one of them. But on the whole I don't believe in things like that something will bring me bad luck now. Such as "today I can only get out of bed with my right foot".

Thank you for your time.

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