After chatting to Nikki Butterfield just days ago about her lead up to the Urban hotel Ironman Asia Pacific Championships, Melbourne, she released a statement today saying that she has made the decision to pull out of the race. Read what she had to say before her statement, and her official statement can be found below.


Butterfield-celebrates-her-Abu-Dhabi-2012-winNIKKI BUTTERFIELD

Unfortunately due to cramping you had to pull the pin on the Abu Dhabi Triathlon race, but is there a silver lining in that you can go into IM Melb fresh? How’s the prep been? 

I’m not sure that cramping is the right word but it’s hard to explain any other way. I have a hyper-mobile SI joint that puts stress on my hamstring and adductor insertions. It feels like they’re going to tear out of their insertions at it’s worst. Dramatic explanation I know. I get it in training especially when I’m doing SE efforts in TT position, but in training I can just back off for a while, stretch, trigger point with my seat etc.


In a race you obviously don’t have the luxury of sitting on the side of the road for five minutes sorting yourself out. I did back off, let Melissa (Hauschildt) go, and tried to get myself able to ride again. I was able to lessen it, but once I pushed even a little again it came back. If it was a shorter race I would have pushed through and just tried to run well, but I still had 140km to go which is a really long way to ride in pain.


It’s something I’ve had my whole career, I usually just manage it a lot better. Everyone who has been competing for a long time has something that they have to look after. I just wasn’t paying attention to detail – stretching, massage, doing my strength exercises. Quite a few times I gave Tyler my massage appointments because I wanted to go riding. I was in such a rush to get back to fitness after taking 4 months off I neglected the things that hold me together. Lots of little mistakes magnifed on race day. I was acting like a junior thinking I was bulletproof.


To answer your second question – sure it’s nice to not have the fatigue of Abu Dhabi in my legs, but I fully tapered for Abu Dhabi so I needed the seven hour effort as part of my preparation for Melbourne. I feel quite underdone for Melbourne, but I guess you probably never feel totally ready for an Ironman.



People don’t seem to know that you had raced a few Ironman races years ago – before you had your daughter, Sav, so how many Ironman races have you done, and in your eyes what’s been your greatest success at this distance? 

I did ITU from 1997-2004, long-course for 2005, cycling 2006-2009, I was pregnant in 2010, then back to non-drafting from 2011 on.


My first non-drafting event was Australian Long-Course Championships in 2005, I did well pulling-off the win, then entered Forster last-minute. My best Ironman race is still Forster 2005, the very first one I did. At the time I was 23. I rode 5hrs and ran through the half in 1.30, then ended up running 3.40 – it was a VERY painful 2nd half of the marathon. I think I was 9.42 there so if I can beat that I’ll be happy.


I then did Japan Ironman seven weeks later, slipped my disc in my back, finished the year in long-course with the back injury, then switched to cycling the next year. At the time triathlon was either ITU or Ironman, there wasn’t a 70.3 series and heading over to the US while Tyler was in Europe for his first year cycling wasn’t an option in my mind. I followed Tyler to Europe and started cycling too. I’ve basically been following Tyler around for 10 years.  We lived for 2 years in France and 2 years in Spain. Then Tyler went back to triathlon in my last year cycling, I had Savana, and now I’m obviously back in triathlon again, or for now anyway. I’m finding it harder and harder to ignore wanting more kids. I’d just like to go to Kona if I can before I stop altogether.


In terms of Ironman, I also started Frankfurt Ironman last year which I had a lot of bad luck with mechanicals, then went straight to Zurich the next week but my nanny had to head home so I didn’t train at all the week between and I had tapered for Frankfurt. Looking back that was a really bad decision. I should have just come home and switched my training to get ready for HyVee and Vegas.



You had decided to retire last year, but have since changed your mind. Is it the allure of Kona calling you back to the start line?

Last year I didn’t actually ‘retire’. I was planning on taking 2013 off to have another baby and then come back again. During my four months off I realised I don’t want to race again after our next baby and there are a few more things I’d like to do in my career before I stop altogether. It just makes more sense to race until I feel content and then stop, rather than trying to mix family and racing.  A lot of the press when I said I was racing again this year said I changed my retirement decision. The way everyone wrote about it was skewed a little differently to reality. Who knows if I would have made it back again if I had another baby, but that was my intention.


Two things on my ‘bucket list’ to do before I retire altogether are to do an Ironman where I hold back the whole way so I don’t have to walk and can finish strong – that’s my goal for Melbourne, hopefully I just don’t come last. Ever since Abu Dhabi last year everyone seems to think I can win a lot. I’m trying to reduce everyone’s expectations so I can just enjoy racing again. I definitely think differently about the sport when I have a lot of pressure on me.


The other thing is I’d really like to go to Kona before I stop altogether. I qualified in Forster 2005 with my 5th but my coach said I was too young and I declined my spot. I regret that. Japan 7 weeks later was silly and was probably the end of phase one of triathlon for me.


Ironman doesn’t seem to be my thing when it comes to my natural talent, but it feels like a big gap in my career not having been to Kona. With the way the KPR works the 4000-point Ironman’s are so important which is why I’ll have a go at Melbourne even though I’ve had a less than ideal preparation. 8th is 2000 points- that would be a great start to the season.


Read Butterfield’s press release here: 13 03 20 Nikki Butterfield Withdraws From IM Melbourne

About The Author

Stef Hanson. Chief.

Chief and founder of WITSUP

Serious about what I do, but don’t take myself too seriously

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.