By Steve Crossman
Brisbane native Kym Jaenke recently clocked the fastest time over the Cairns Ironman 70.3’s course on a tough and windy day. Kym’s 4:38:28 was almost a minute faster than Professional race-winner and multiple-Ironman Champion Samantha Warriner. Kym’s performance isn’t a surprise to those who know the 36-year-old, after she won the Amateur title in February’s Geelong Long-Course and finished 2nd in her Age-Group at the 2012 Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.
Kym took time off from her busy schedule to spend time with TriZone to help us get to know this fast Queenslander.
TriZone: Hi Kym, thanks for your time joining us on TriZone and congratulations on your Cairns 70.3 result! Firstly, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Kym Jaenke: I am an accountant from Brisbane who tries to fit training, eating, sleeping, working, household duties, and a social life into their day and then repeats this 5 days a week. Then the weekend comes and instead of sleeping in uses Saturday for long ride and Sunday for a long run. I live with my fiancÃ© Peter and am very fortunate he shares a passion for fitness and being active.
TriZone: So, how did you get into triathlon?
Kym Jaenke: It all started as a swimmer in a team doing Noosa & Mooloolaba triathlons for a few years. Then my team mates and friends in another team decided to give the entire triathlon a go. That was in 2006 and 7 years later I look back in envy at those races where I turned up with togs, a cap, goggles & a towel and my leg was finished in 20 minutes!
TZ: You were the fastest female on Sunday’s Cairns 70.3 course, tells us a little bit about your race?
Kym: I really enjoyed the swim, it was a little rough on the way back in but the course was great & clearly marked.
On Sunday, the bike for me was heaps of fun. I had been working on my bike leg a lot as it has always been my weakest leg and really wanted to go strong from start and hope I could maintain the pace back to T2 and then have the legs to run well. The Cairns bike course is spectacular. USM did a really good job with the wave starts and from what I saw there were no large riding bunches and it seemed a very fair ride for the 70.3. The headwind after turning around made the last 30km tough. One of my friends that started in the wave before me was in the penalty tent on the dismount line. We always have a friendly rivalry so once I knew I was in front of him I didn’t want him to pass me on the ride.
I felt good the first 2 kms on the run, then seemed to hit a wall. Surrounded by sugar cane, the IM cyclists coming the other way provided a distraction while running. At about the 3km mark on the run I first of all heard my cousin & her friends, cheering & making a lot of noise and then saw them â€“ she had made them â€œTeam Jaenkeâ€ shirts for the day in Yellow (my colour for racing) and my 2 year god son had been dressed in a Yellow Jersey Bike Shop cycle top & bright yellow track pants with â€œGo Kymâ€ on the bum and was out cheering too. That was awesome and picked me up for the next few kilometres. After turning at Yorkey’s Knob exit onto the highway, the run was tough, it became a matter of ticking the legs over and staying focussed. I used every aide station as a positive that another 2 kilometres were down. The turnoff after the airport seemed to take forever to come.
There was one part running back in that I felt my torso was nearly horizontal to the ground trying to push into the head wind. I used the Esplanade into Cairns to really enjoy the last part of the race. The kids giving high 5’s, the people in costumes & the musicians with drums all add to the event and was great before reaching the city centre. There are not many better feelings than reaching the carpet of an IM or 70.3 and it was only then that I let myself relax and enjoy the fact that I had had a great race.
TZ: Dr. Rachael Smith, who a few weeks ago, impressed us all in the same fashion by covering the Bussleton 70.3 course in an amazing 4:17, was also racing on Sunday. Were you aware she was in the field, and did that change the way you raced at all?
Kym: To be honest, no I didn’t know Rachael was racing. I think it is probably a good thing I did not know she was racing as I would have been likely to over-analyse things way too much! Rachael had an amazing race in Busso and started a trend of amateurs mixing it at the top of 70.3 results for Aussies, with Laura Siddall finishing second to Belinda Granger over in Kona 70.3 a couple of weeks ago and then Cairns last weekend.
TZ: Apart from your Cairns result, we understand you have also done some other impressive performances including competing at the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii. In your eyes, what’s the best performance â€“or best experience- you have had in triathlon? What sticks out
Kym: Best experience for me was definitely Hawaii World Championships. To be there the week before, to be at the Pier on race morning, to ride the highway next to Lava fields and experience the cross winds like nowhere else, to run through the Energy Lab before making my way back to town and along Ali Drive to the finish chute â€“ all of it was amazing and so memorable.
My best performance to me was the Olympic Distance World Championships in Vancouver in 2008. It was absolutely freezing and miserable, the water was 11 degrees!! I was only relatively new to triathlons and just kept grinding away all day in conditions that did not suit me, on a run where my teeth were chattering from the cold the whole way to a win in the 30-34 category.
TZ: Tells us a little bit about your training. Do you work with a coach, or a training group? And, how do you balance your training with your other commitments?
Kym: Since starting in triathlons I have never had a coach. I am fortunate to have great friends, many who have achieved success at high levels in triathlons and running in the past that helped me out immensely when I first started.Â My running training group is heaps of fun, a group of friends and friends of friends where we all have our own goals but motivate each other for those tough sessions. I always swim train solo. That is my background and I prefer to fit swimming in now when I can either before or after work at odd times so the structure of a squad doesn’t work for me.
I use Peter as a sounding board for a lot of planning for training and ideas. He often keeps me grounded and very quickly puts things into reality if I am not balancing training and competing with other commitments! I know in the lead-up to a major race how my weeks I have and plan my major sessions or lead up events. Then generally every Sunday I plan my next week’s training as I fairly well know my other commitments for that week.
TZ: So, what’s next for you Kym? Any racing plans for the rest of the year?
Kym: I am having a couple of weeks off now before starting my preparation for the 70.3 World Champs in Las Vegas in September. I will do a few running events leading up to Worlds in the winter and hoping to get a race in beforehand. After racing there, I will assess the remainder of the year in regards to racing and priorities.
TZ: With a very impressive Age-Group resumÃ© and speed to burn, do you have any desires to race in the Professional ranks?
Kym: September 8 in Las Vegas is the focus at the moment. There is no desire or thoughts of racing in the Professional ranks prior to then.
TZ: Thanks a lot for spending time with us, Kym. Best of luck in September!