It was three days before her 30th birthday when Lauretta Howarth completed her first Ironman race in Malaysia of all places; it was a pact that she made with her two best friends, they were on the quest to do something spectacular before the big three zero.
Lauretta is now taking on a challenge that is hotter, harder and longer; the Crocodile Trophy is providing the challenge and Lauretta is adamant that her ego will not let her down, nor will she let the team down, she is in this race to cross the finish line.
The 37 year old Paramedic is balancing long hours and training, she was once a believer that this race was out of her league, when asked to participate, she was unable to find a reason to say no.
Rowena Scott from Bicycles Network Australia (BNA) spoke with Lauretta about the challenges that she and the SheSpoke Cycle Wear team will face in far north Queensland this October
BNA: How old where you when you decided to take on your first ironman race?
Lauretta: I was 29. Ironman Malaysia was three days before my 30th birthday. My two best friends and I had made a pact that we would all do something “spectacular” to celebrate turning 30.
BNA: Have you always been competitive?
Lauretta: Definitely, as a kid I was into athletics, especially 100m, 200m and long jump. I loved to win. As I’ve gotten older though I find it’s less about competing with others and more about competing against myself, pushing and constantly redefining my limits.
BNA: Being a paramedic must be stressful; do you find time on your bike balances things for you?
Lauretta: Absolutely, I work 8 days of 10 hour shifts and on-call, so it’s pretty much 24/7 for eight days straight. By about day 5 I’m yearning for some quiet time with just me, the bike and the bush.
BNA: Is there any particular stage of the Crocodile Trophy that really frightens you?
Lauretta: Stage 1, it’s only 98km but its never-ending nasty hills where my granny-gear is going to get a lot of use and where there’s not hills it’s hot hot hot!!!
BNA: Have you done any of the trails that the Crocodile Trophy follows?
Lauretta: I’ve done Stage 1 a few times and a few of the stages out west. None of these rides did much too ease the anxiety! Hills, sand, rocks, steep technical descents, red dust and heat (Okay, I need to stop listing the nastiness before I hyperventilate!).
BNA: What’s the one thing that’s going to get you through if you're having a bad stage?
Lauretta: My ego, I couldn’t bear the thought of not completing a stage, or the race. And my amazing team mates, Sharmie & Maree.
BNA: Why are you doing this?
Lauretta: Hmmm… I’ve been asking myself that very same question. I’ve always been in awe of the Crocodile Trophy and used to perceive it as a race that was beyond my ability. I’d never even entertained the idea of doing it until Sharman asked me, but when she did I couldn’t think of one good reason to say no. It’s an opportunity to challenge myself and take myself way outside my comfort zone. My goal is to simply cross the finish line & if I can achieve that – wow – that will rock my world!
BNA: What is your favorite motivational saying?
"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways at the last minute, champagne in one hand, strawberries in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming WOO HOO - That was fun!"
Bicycles Network Australia wishes Lauretta and the SheSpoke cycling team the best of luck for the Crocodile Trophy and hope they finish safely with all limbs intact.