Challenge Roth 2009 (false start), 2010, 2011
My first introduction to the Challenge Family was Challenge Roth in 2009 where unfortunately I was struck by swine flu on the flight over from Australia to Germany and was unable to compete. BUT returned to finish what I started and raced 2010 and loved it so much returned again in 2012! Happy days :-) Roth is the home of triathlon in Europe and the world’s largest long distance race with over 5000 triathletes and 200,000 spectators. I would consider the best race in the world :-) I felt an immense sense of love and passion with this experience combined with a depth of family and community spirit from all levels of volunteer support, to the comradery between domestic and international competitors. Experience is everything to gain a deep understanding of what the Challenge Family represents.
So - you could imagine I was jumping out of my skin to discover Challenge Family had made its way 'down under', mapping Challenge Cairns (Half & Full IM), Australia 2011 as part of its circuit of races. I was totally hyped up for this experience - I just wanted to race with no limits whatsoever! Challenge Cairns Half Ironman was my first long distance triathlon win as a professional triathlete. I learnt so much about my potential that day and it marked a significant turning point in my career.
To see the huge amount of support, resources and hard work done, in order to re-establish the Challenge experience back into Australia 2013, is something I believe is very special for the future of our sport. It was without hesitation that I wanted to race and support Challenge Forster, NSW. Forster is an iconic location which has historic significance as the foundation of Ironman triathlon within Australia. It flags a unique destination that I felt fitted all the core values of the Challenge Family.
My approach to the race was no different to any other - to race the course smart, hard, with passion and self belief. Hang on for the swim, bike like I wanna blow up and run with no limits! I just love taking risks in racing :-) With a talented field of girls, the race was a great opportunity to push my own potential.
I felt tired leading into the weekend (IMWA prep) so I was unsure if it was going to turn out good, bad or ugly! It was the first time I was racing a half ironman distance 2 weeks out from an Ironman (yes ticking boxes - great leaning opportunity). I was keen to see how the whole process before and after was going to roll out and how my body and mind would respond.
Personally, I find the best learning experiences are the ones which are beyond your comfort zone and in unknown territory. Sure, I've had races which have gone completely south based on this philosophy - but mistakes are essential to grow, develop and improve. This race was a great opportunity for me to throw myself into this zone and learn from the process.
Swim: Managed to stay in a pack, head space could only think about 'hurry up and get this swim leg over!'...Swim plan required more effort (I was lazy) - Keep your head where your body is Bec!
Run: A thunderstorm blew in for the afternoon so the back end of the bike leading into the run leg featured heavy rain, lightening, mud and massive puddles to navigate! The spectator support throughout this weather activity was amazing - thanks to all the guys on the sidelines and volunteer support who persevered and maintained their positive energy and spirit during these conditions. I ran as hard as I could for 21kms, wasn't paying too much attention to activity around me but focused head down looking @2 metres in front of me. The sideline encouragement definitely helped push through those tougher patches...
Finish line: I wanted to enjoy the finish chute and finally looked up and cracked a smile after I manged to have a great day racing and a result which exceeded what I expected. To win Challenge Forster 2013 following my previous experience in Cairns 2011, is personally very special and rewarding.
What did I learn: That self belief is everything and I'm more capable than I realise.
The weather conditions pushed the race course and traffic conditions to the limits and there were a few unlucky incidents during the day including a fall from Tim Berkel. Michelle Wu also had an unlucky slip - and I wanted to wish both guys a fast and full recovery.
I met so many people as part of the weekend including Annabel who has represented our Country at the top of our sport and has had a great season this year. I'm always meeting amazing people from all levels of the sport and learning so much from every experience. Great to see so many great races out there, including pbs, first time experiences, and plenty of guts to have a go, be part of it and have fun!
Specialized/Cyclery Northside, Skinfit, Eyeline, Compressport, SaltStick, FuelBelt High 5, Asics, Team Latitude & TriShave, Grant Giles, Aeromaxteam (coach); Paul Penna Focus Performance Psychology; Jon Bell swim squad/BigBlueSwimming; Daryl Phillips Performance Health Newport; Kira Sutherland Sports Nutrition & Naturopath; Radek Valenta Zoominzones; Michael Smith massage, my friends, family and my number one person who supports me every day in what I love - Nigel.
I've received so many really lovely messages from this result, it personally means a lot and I really appreciate all the support received.
Rebecca HOSCHKE 04:17:43 00:23:21 00: 01:25 02:24:39 00: 01:21 01:26:56
Michelle BREMER 04:21:46 00:23:21 00: 01:20 02:24:51 00: 01:07 01:31:05
Annabel LUXFORD 04:24:06 00:20:05 00: 01:12 02:28:36 00: 00:58 01:33:13
Jessica SIMPSON 04:35:50 00:22:50 00: 01:27 02:31:54 00: 01:11 01:38:25
Natalie SILVESTRO 04:37:33 00:23:19 00: 01:44 02:34:55 00: 01:42 01:35:5