Swiss IRONMAN superstar and honorary Aussie, Caroline Steffen is heading to the fifteenth anniversary IRONMAN Western Australia (2 December) to make her comeback to IRONMAN after a three-year break from full distance racing.
With the birth of baby son Xander in December 2017, Caroline has been on the comeback trail building into her year with a third place at IRONMAN 70.3 Vietnam in May, a second in Cebu, and more recently wins in the Sunshine Coast, Wenzhou and Shanghai.
The two time World Longcourse champ and multiple podium finisher at the IRONMAN World Championship in Kona, arrives at IRONMAN Western Australia looking to finish on a high and keen to test herself again over a full distance IRONMAN.
“I have definitely been improving with each race and getting a little bit stronger and a little bit faster. Looking back, my first race back in Vietnam was way too early but I knew that. Then building up to my second place in Cebu and I was really happy with the win at Ironman 70.3 Sunshine Coast as it was faster than previous years. Then we decided to do a little test in China to see how I would go racing back to back and see how the body responded.
“I wasn’t really sure how the fitness was going but I was able to do two 70.3 distance races in one week and the second race was even stronger than the first. We thought that was a really good indicator of where I am heading. So we have stepped it up into IRONMAN preparation and I hope it is enough. My last IRONMAN was three years back but my body is feeling good so we are going to Western Australia and give it a good shot in Busso. We will see,” she laughed.
“I have never been to Busselton and it was always on the to do list but being so close to Kona all you want to do is rest, so I haven’t had the chance before this. I have heard good things about Busso and people are always returning there to race. I am really excited to go there, to give it a good shot and have a look at the course. It is one of the biggest, oldest races as well and this year it is perfect timing for me.”
Caroline is over the moon about being a new mum but she said her comeback has been harder than she originally thought it would be.
“Being a full-time mum and a full-time athlete is hard. Getting ready for a 70.3 is a different program and easier but I am four weeks into full IRONMAN training and it is definitely much harder. A lot of people think IRONMAN is just double the distance but it is not, it is really hard on the body and it takes a lot of time which I am not sure that I want to spend away from Xander. He is always priority one.”
“There will be a reassessment after Busso to see how I go and see how I feel and if I want to do more IRONMAN. Or maybe, I will just go back to 70.3 and be happy with that. If I qualify for Hawaii I would take the spot and probably go back but I don’t really know and I am leaving it open for now. I am really excited to do Busso but not having raced IRONMAN for three years the key will pacing. If I hammer it like a 70.3 I will be crawling over the finish line.,” she said.
Caroline is determined to close out the year with a win on debut at IRONMAN Western Australia and then focus on some time off with her family over Christmas.
I have a first birthday party for my son and I am looking forward to my family coming over from Switzerland. My dad is over here at the moment and travels around a bit but he will be back for Christmas and my mum is coming over as well.
“The year has gone so quick. I feel like I have just had Xander but he is one at the end of December. He is nearly walking, doing a few steps and he is definitely on the go. You cannot leave him alone for one second. I finish with my training but the training with him never stops, I am always running around. He is very active. It is a busy life but I am really enjoying it. It is a lot of fun, I love it and it is a good mix for me,” she said.