Just turned full-time pro, but she's eager to ace races

By Chia Han Keong

SHE may have turned full-time professional athlete for just all of one month, but Australian Rachael Paxton is eager to make a name for herself in probably the most gruelling of all triathlon competitions: the Ironman races.

The 26-year-old already has a great track record in the half-Ironman competitions even while she was working as a physiotherapist.

She won the 2009 Putrajaya Ironman 70.3 Malaysia, then came in second and third in the Japan and Philippine races respectively last year.

"My goal is to make the most of my first year as a full-time professional and enjoy all of my racing experiences," she said ahead of Sunday's Aviva Ironman 70.3 race at East Coast Park.

"I aim to improve with my training and racing, and try to make a little mark in the world of long-course triathlon. Thereafter, I want to step up to the full Ironman."

Sunday's race is a half-Ironman race - 1.9km swim, 90.1km cycling and 21.1km running - and Paxton views every one of her races as a challenge to improve herself.

She said: "You start to think, 'How much fitter can I get? How much faster can I get? How much stronger can I get?' Every race is a challenge, because every race is different."

One thing she hopes to rediscover is that winning feeling.

"You tend to take this feeling for granted," she said. "In retrospect, I really wish I made more of my Putrajaya win, because wins are getting harder and harder to come by.

"I have different emotions at the end of each race, depending on how I have performed. One thing is a must though: Reward with ice cream."

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