GRU­ELLING RACE

EL­E­MENTS TAKE THEIR TOLL ON ATH­LETE

Southern Telegraph - - News - Ai­den Boy­ham

Triath­letes of­ten push them­selves be­yond bear­able lev­els of pain in the pur­suit of glory — and then there are peo­ple like Rock­ing­ham Triathlon Club’s Tracey Sch­midt.

Af­ter re­turn­ing from the Iron­man New Zealand in Lake Taupo ear­lier this month, Sch­midt has been at home re­cov­er­ing from one of the tough­est events she has com­peted in.

Af­ter star­ing down the bar­rel of a 3.9km swim, 180km bike ride and 42km run, Sch­midt told the Tele­graph she suf­fered a hip stress frac­ture and se­ri­ous ham­string im­pinge­ment dur­ing the race.

Hav­ing twinged her ham­string a week-and-a-half be­fore the event, Sch­midt said she knew the race would be a struggle.

“Con­di­tions were ter­ri­ble; lead­ing up to the event they were great but on the day the winds turned Lake Taupo into an ocean,” she said.

“It was the tough­est swim I’ve ever done and there were points where I thought I wouldn’t make it.

“About 100 peo­ple didn’t make it through the swim.”

Gale-force winds made the long ride hard, be­fore the marathon run at the end took its toll on Sch­midt.

“The wind was hor­rific; it was a real struggle to ride through it,” she said.

“As soon as I started the run, I could feel the top of my ham­string.

“I pushed through it, but un­for­tu­nately about 17-18km through the race, it got worse. I was get­ting pain to the point I couldn’t run and my leg kept col­laps­ing on me.”

De­spite it be­ing just her sec­ond ma­jor Iron­man event, Sch­midt was shocked when she was told she was in third place.

De­ter­mined to fin­ish the race as best she could, Sch­midt walked the next 2km be­fore the agony be­came too much.

“I tried jog­ging but my leg kept giv­ing out,” she said.

“I con­tem­plated walk­ing the last 20km but un­for­tu­nately that was the end of my race.”

An MRI scan on re­turn from New Zealand re­vealed the ex­tent of the dam­age.

De­spite the long lay-off ahead on the side­lines, Sch­midt re­mains op­ti­mistic about “get­ting back on the bike” and com­pet­ing again.

When it came to the “ad­dic­tive” na­ture of ex­treme events like the Iron­man, Sch­midt had some sound ad­vice for those con­sid­er­ing div­ing in at the deep end of hu­man en­durance.

“You’ve just got to break it down into re­ally small seg­ments when it gets tough,” she said.

“When you are strug­gling, it is hard to stop your mind go­ing into the neg­a­tives . . . but I think of the peo­ple who have in­spired me or mo­ti­vated me through life.

“Peo­ple who have done it tough; if they can do it, then I can do this.”

Pic­ture: Tracey Sch­midt

Rock­ing­ham Triathlon Club mem­ber Tracey Sch­midt pushed through the pain bar­rier in New Zealand.

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