Smashing the mental barriers

Endurance. Two local ladies have shown what it takes to complete a half ironman: mental stamina and a training regime to boot.

But it’s mainly the mental aspect, they say.

Friends and training buddies Kelly Honess and Rochelle Hammond both had different physical strengths the lead up to the ‘IRONMAN 70.3 Sunshine Coast Triathlon’ in Queensland, but they share a common willpower to succeed.

For Kelly, a bout of bronchitis didn’t even deter her, finishing the circuit in 60th place in her division (Female 35-39).

“I was very nervous,” she said, “because it was an ocean swim – if you have a coughing fit out there, there are no rails to hold onto.”

She took it slowly, and emerged from the water to see a crowd 15-people deep cheering her on.

“It’s just a magic feeling,” she said.

“The run is always my weakest link, but it’s much easier to pull yourself over the line (with a crowd).”

Kelly completed the 1.9 kilometre swim in 31 minutes 42 seconds; the 90km bike ride in 2:57:42; and 21.1km run in 2:28:40, making her overall time 6:08:56.

Kelly is now trying a new take on the sport, training as a guide for blind 27-year-old Melbourne woman Casey Hyde, who is to compete in a sprint distance event in Canberra in November, a shortened version of a triathlon.

“Throughout the races, she’s tied to me at the ankle when we swim, it’s a tandem bike – I power walk and tell her when to lean left (and so on),” she said.

“With the run, I’m just by her side, she’s attached to my hip so she can hold onto my elbow if she needs to . . . I’m the visual coach to get her through and over the line.”

Rochelle finished the morning off in 25th place for her division (Female 45-49) with an overall time of 5:40:07, after a 36:49 swim, 2:52:25 ride, and 2:04:23 run.

“I did it for fun,” Rochelle said. “It was just a good, fun day.”

The lead-up to the day was nine months of training, and though Rochelle admits her determined nature helped with the regime, she says it is something all can aspire to.

“I had a program and followed it,” she said. “It’s definitely achievable and there are plenty of people around to help.”

While swimming and running have always been a part of Rochelle’s active lifestyle, riding is a new challenge.

“The bike’s been the learning curve, but persistence is paying off. I’ve had awesome riding friends. It’s been great to have someone to push you along a bit, for me that’s been absolutely fantastic.”

Of the triathlon scene, she said: “It’s really supportive. Fellow competitors are really encouraging at every level – doesn’t matter what level you are, everyone that finished or has a go is a winner.”

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