AFTER making a difficult debut at the Cairns Ironman last season, it's easy to understand why Ange Castle simply wanted a trouble-free race at Ironman Australia.
But the 29-year-old got much more than that when she snared second spot in Port Macquarie on Sunday.
Currimundi's Castle hit the line in 09:41.37, behind Rebecca Hoschke (09:34.54) and ahead of Noosa's Jessica Fleming (09.50.45)
"I'm rapt, over the moon, it's certainly beyond what I expected," Castle said.
"I loved the bike leg. I really enjoyed it (but) the last 20-odd kilometres of the run were so tough, though.
"About half way through, I was hurting so I just focused on forward motion and tried not to worry about my pace and just kept chipping away at it."
Castle, who will relocate to Sydney in a fortnight with her fiance Jamie, claimed a 55-minute personal best on her only previous ironman outing, in Cairns last year.
She battled illness during the bike and run legs after swallowing "a bit" of salt water in the swim. A flat tyre didn't help.
"Not everything went to plan there, so this time around I just wanted to put together a solid race without any dramas," Castle said.
"And I was a lot more comfortable this time around with the training and experience.
"I dropped my work back to three days a week and having that additional time during the week for things like resting and sleeping is amazing."
Castle is eager to further her involvement in the sport.
"I want to do a bit of travelling with it, maybe train in some different locations around the world," she said.
But she is not aiming for the coveted Hawaii Ironman any time soon.
"I have no plans to do Hawaii as of yet," she said.
"It's very competitive to qualify for Kona as a pro, gathering points over the year, and I think only 30 female pros can qualify.
"Maybe that could be a goal, but down the track."
Castle's next race is the Cairns 70.3 next month.
While Castle's result at Port Macquarie may have shocked her, it didn't surprise Sunshine Coast Triathlon Academy coach Toby Coote.
"She's a hard worker who enjoys what she does and it showed on the weekend," he said.
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