Ready for Hawaii as­sault

Multisport Mecca - - Front Page - Grant Ed­wards Grant.Ed­wards@news­re­gional­me­dia.com.au

EM­BRAC­ING the emo­tion and at­mos­phere of Kona in­spires Tracey Bell.

Join­ing the undie run and hav­ing a caffeine hit at the cof­fee boat will be just as im­por­tant as get­ting to the fin­ish.

Just qual­i­fy­ing for the Iron­man World Cham­pi­onship was a sur­prise for the 50-year-old Sun­shine Coast Pri­vate Hos­pi­tal nurse.

Tracey earned her spot af­ter an im­pres­sive race in June. It was sup­posed to be her last Iron­man.

“When I went to New Zealand (in March) I was hop­ing to do well,” Tracey said.

“I lit­er­ally hated ev­ery se­cond. The fin­ish­ing line pic­tures look like I was in mourn­ing.

“I didn’t want to fin­ish like that on a re­ally sour note.”

That led her to Cairns in June, where she fin­ished third in her age group with a time of 11:30:05. With two Kona slots in the cat­e­gory, the se­cond-place fin­ish didn’t take it, and Tracey im­me­di­ately took the po­si­tion.

“It was a dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion whether to go as I had made the de­ci­sion Cairns was go­ing to be my last one,” Tracey said.

“But it’s the op­por­tu­nity of a life­time. There was no hes­i­ta­tion and I put my hand up.”

But af­ter re­lax­ing post Cairns, her prepa­ra­tions for the world cham­pi­onship faced an im­me­di­ate stum­bling block. Dur­ing her first easy run Tracey tore a soleus calf mus­cle.

That meant no run­ning for six weeks and no pres­sure while rid­ing the bike.

“I had to do all flat rid­ing, no ef­forts out of the sad­dle,” she said.

“I’ve been back run­ning three weeks and the fur­thest run is 20km. I’m hop­ing the body knows what to do on the day.

“I have pos­i­tive peo­ple around me. Scotty Far­rell my coach and I saw (po­di­a­trist) Vanessa Ng, and they were very pos­i­tive. They were say­ing this isn’t an is­sue. Oth­er­wise it would have been a spi­ral into the depths of de­spair.”

Tak­ing a glass half full ap­proach, Tracey was swim­ming ev­ery day.

Typ­i­cally her weak­est leg, she has seen big gains in the swim fol­low­ing the ex­tra work­load.

Un­sure whether she’ll ever re­turn to Kona, Tracey is look­ing to fo­cus on one sport af­ter Oc­to­ber.

Com­ing to Aus­tralia from Eng­land about a decade ago, she was orig­i­nally a run­ner. From the age of 35 she started run­ning as part of a weight man­age­ment plan, and it was also some much-needed en­ergy re­lease away from three young chil­dren.

It wasn’t un­til she started swim­ming and un­der­took her first triathlon at Noosa in 2007 when she be­came hooked on the tri-sport.

Rac­ing Olympic-dis­tance events for a few years she was talked into talk­ing the Gold Coast half-Iron­man in 2009. With the sup­port of coach Leanne South­well, Tracey went on to suc­cess­fully com­plete Iron­man Aus­tralia at Port Mac­quaire in 2010.

She then took two years off rac­ing due to car­diac is­sues, be­fore mak­ing a come­back to com­pete in the 70.3 world cham­pi­onships in Las Ve­gas in 2012, then Mel­bourne Iron­man in 2012 which was fol­lowed by Bus­sel­ton in 2013.

For now she is look­ing for­ward to the ex­pe­ri­ence of Kona, watch­ing the likes of Rachel Joyce and Daniela Ryf first-hand.

Post Hawaii, Tracey said she will see how the body holds up be­fore con­cen­trat­ing on trail run­ning while she com­pletes a masters de­gree in health care lead­er­ship.

PHOTO: GRANT ED­WARDS

Moun­tain Creek 50-year-old Tracey Bell will at­tend her first Iron­man World Cham­pi­onship on Sun­day.

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