Butterfield continues to find right balance
Less than ten months after the birth of her second child, Nikki Butterfield marked her return to professional racing with a third-place finish at last weekend’s Ironman 70.3 Mandurah Australian Pro Championship.
Butterfield’s result came amid a highly competitive field and served as a gauge for her fitness.
“I’m really happy,” Butterfield said. “Any time you’re on a podium, it’s a great feeling, especially in a field like this. I feel privileged to be in the mix with these girls after being away from the sport for quite a while.”
Butterfield has balanced the joys and challenges of both parenting and professional racing in recent years, taking time out from the competitive circuit to give birth to daughter Savana Rose, 3, and ten-month old son Walker James.
She returned to racing in impressive form five months after Savana’s arrival, posting victories at Ironman 70.3 Syracuse in 2011 and the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon in 2012.
Although she considered retirement with Walker’s addition to the family, she ultimately chose to attempt an end-of-season comeback to the professional ranks.
Sunday’s race showed that Butterfield is surely well positioned to perform at her peak in the future.
“I was conscious not to go over my limit because I’m very aware of where I am fitness-wise,” said Butterfield.
“I felt strong on the bike once I found my rhythm and then, on the run, I had to keep my focus to stay within my own race plan.’”
Her patient confidence proved a wise strategy, as she strongly and steadily moved through the field, finishing third in a time of 4hr 3min 49sec.
Butterfield posted the second-fastest bike split of the day in 2:12:44 as well as the second-fastest run 1:24:16), just four seconds behind Annabel Luxford, the eventual winner.
Butterfield and her husband Tyler will both compete in the inaugural Challenge Bahrain on December 6.