Sue McMaster won't have injury holding her back this year but will have to contend with extreme conditions at the Ironman world championships in Hawaii.
Last year, McMaster was hit by a car while cycling, leaving her with broken ribs and a fractured arm three months before the race, but she still managed to finish eighth.
The mother of three leaves today and this year is injury free for the 3.8km swim, 180km bike and 42km run in Kona, on October 13.
"I'd like to get onto the podium," McMaster said.
"There's so many variables in terms of conditions. Different conditions suit different people.
"It depends on how the weather is. I'm very small so you have a plan if the wind picks up on the bike which is my strength.
"Last year on the bike I was second fastest in my age group, seventh fastest in the swim and down a bit on the run.
"I'd like to be in the top 20 out of the water and hold the position."
It will be "extreme" heat, about 30 degrees Celsius during the race which McMaster needs to acclimatise to so she can race in it.
"For me winning or to get the highest placing overall, I need to be leading coming out of the bike and the swim. They're my two strengths."
Competing in the 50-54 age group, it is a no-wet suit race and the water will be warm so it will be hard for her to know how fast she is going.
Her time in the swim last year was 1hr 7min and she'd like to take a few minutes off that and "get as close as I can to the hour".
Her age group has a strong field and even though there are winners of previous events in her age group now, she will be one of the top competitors, especially as she came eighth last year still recovering from injury.
"It will be interesting to compare [myself] to them 20 years on.
"You would have to rate them as contenders."
McMaster isn't affected by her crash too much these days but she has changed her swimming training in the past five months which has helped her improve.
She still gets treatment for her injuries because of the large amount of swimming she has to do in her training and competing.
"I'm always going to have to deal with it.
"It's not going to hamper me this year."
Feilding's Aimee Perrett is also competing at Kona and while the pair have trained together, Perrett will be entering the 45-49 age group.
- Manawatu Standard
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