Jaenke more than half a chance for US glory

KYM Jaenke nearly gave up top level competition after completing the tortuous Hawaii Ironman world championships.

However, true to her competitive pedigree, it was only a fleeting thought.

After a break late last year, one of Ipswich's most successful sportswomen found a new challenge to fulfil her insatiable appetite for achievement.

Jaenke, 36, is focusing on the world half ironman championships in Las Vegas later this year.

Fresh from being the fastest female at a half ironman event in Cairns last weekend, she's ready to step up her training.

"You need a break mentally, physically, emotionally," she said.

"Working full-time and doing training and competing at the level that I do, it is good to have a break.

"You can't go 100 percent 52 weeks of the year."

In Hawaii last October, Jaenke won a silver medal in her age group after nine hours, 53 minutes and 18 seconds of swimming, riding and running.

She was almost put in an ambulance after a crash battling Kona's notoriously hot and windy conditions.

However, Jaenke (pictured) never gave up and completed the toughest challenge on earth - swimming 3.8km, riding 180km and running a full marathon.

"After Hawaii, I had quite a long break (8-10 weeks)," she said. "To be honest, I thought that would be it."

But instead of taking it easy, she's opted for another direction in her amazing sporting career.

The former international triathlete's next pursuit involves a 1.9km swim, 90km ride and 21.1km run.

"I am fortunate I am self-motivated and like a challenge," she said.

"After I finished Hawaii, I had it in my mind I wanted to go and try and win a medal at the half ironman world championships."

Success in Las Vegas in September will complete her international record after her medal-winning feats in ironman and triathlon events.

Cairns last weekend was her second half ironman. She secured a spot at the world titles after winning her age group in Geelong in February.

"After I qualified at Geelong, I wanted to try a couple of different things in the race and that's why I raced in Cairns," Jaenke said, experimenting with a larger back wheel.

"It was a hotter race. Las Vegas is going to be a very hot, dry heat in the desert.

"The most satisfying thing for me in Cairns was to know what I tried before Cairns worked.

"I'll take that confidence with me to Las Vegas and do it at a higher level.

"I'll have a perfect race one day."

However, just because her latest conquest is half the distances of Hawaii, it's no less challenging.

"The training is probably more intense," she said.

"Competing is totally different.

"The ironman is at least a 10-hour day out there. It's a long day. You don't have the speed.

"But with a half ironman, on Sunday it took me four and a half hours but it is at a fast pace."

That's why she each week does three or four swim sessions, four bike rides and three runs to prepare for what lies ahead.

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