Wednesday, October 19, 2011

140.6 x 30 = ???

Just imagine for a moment-
30 Ironman races.
Yes, 30.
Not in a lifetime-
In one year!
140.6 miles x 30 is 4,218 Iron Miles.
That's a lot of miles.

Who would do that??

Let me introduce you to James-
James Lawrence aka Iron Cowboy

I "met" James last year on while he was completing 22 half iron distance triathlons in a single season to raise money for In Our Own Quiet Way, setting a Guiness World Record in the process.

The most Ironman 70.3 races completed in one year was 22 by James Lawrence (USA) of Lindon, Utah, USA, between 27 March and 13 November 2010. Lawrence concluded his record by participating in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships. An Ironman 70.3 is classified as a "half-Ironman." Participants must complete a 1.93 km (1.2 mi) swim, 90.12 km (56 mi) cycle, and 21.08 km (13.1 mi) run.

That's a lot of BLING!

Pretty impressive stuff to complete 22 HIM's in a lifetime, never mind a single triathlon season.
How do you top that?

James is out to set another world record, only this time he's going bigger and badder!!
Bigger and badder as in 30 Ironman races in one year.

I was lucky enough to catch up with the very busy James-husband and father of five- to chat about his plans for 2012.

James, last year you took on the challenge of completing 22 Half Iron distance triathlons in 30 weeks in conjunction with raising funds for In Our Own Quiet Way's "Give A Dam", which builds dams in Kenya to retain waterfall. Please tell me what inspired you to do this and how did this plan come together.

I came up with the idea on one of my long bike rides. I'd wanted to do something big for many years now but just couldn't think of the best way to have the largest impact. When the idea came to me to combine the work we were doing in Africa with my passion for triathlon, it was a match made in heaven. The plan looked perfect in my head until I started doing all the number crunching and Ironman racing just isn't cheap. The first step was to find a sponsor for all the races. Alex over at Muscle Works here in Utah saw my vision and offered to pay for all my race entry fees. From there things just seemed to fall into place like it was destiny. I had no idea how I was going to get from one location to the next but the means and the way always presented itself. I want to be very clear however that not one penny from donations was used to pay for triathlon expenses, every dollar was passed onto In Our Own Quiet way for the work that they do.

So you were already involved with Quiet Way before your HIM streak?
This vision of 22 HIM's also earned you a world record-how cool is that!?
What was THAT like?

Yes I was working as the public relations manager for In Our Own Quiet Way at the time. The world record was an absolute bonus... the main objective was to help as many people as I could. I have to admit though when the World Record certificate came it was pretty dang cool. In 2012 I am excited to travel to North Africa after my race in South Africa to see the regions we have affected thus far.

I know from following your adventures last season, not every trip was smooth sailing. Do you care to share some of the "more challenging" moments? How about the highlights? Which race was your favorite and why?

Timberman 70.3 finish (of course, I had to include this shot!)

There were many highs and many lows. I am a family man and father of 5. When I was gone I sure missed my family. Technology allowed me to keep in pretty good contact with them when I was gone but it just isn't the same as being home with them. They supported me 100% though... I could not have done it without them. I had little to no physical issues except for two....

In St Croix my body decided it didn't want to race or process nutrition... by mile 3 of the run I had thrown up everything in my body and struggled to a dehydrated finish. The other instance was in my current home town at the Provo Utah half. I had planned to enjoy the day and race with my wife Sunny which was suppose to be one of the highlights of the year. After waiting in T1 to start the bike I ended up flatting at around mile 5 of the 56 mile bike ride. I told my wife to go ahead and that I would just catch her. I underestimated just how strong of a biker she was and I turned myself inside out trying to make up the time it took for me to change the flat. It took me till just after the turn around to catch her but by then I had already done the damage... I believe this was 8 weeks in a row of racing and my body wasn't in the mood to push. I limped in on the ride with my wife and told her to go on without me, my hamstring wasn't going to allow me to continue.... my friend Jess talked some sense into me and convinced me to walk the run and finish. So we ended walking all 13.1 miles together and crossing that finish line. My wife still talks about the day she beat the 70.3 world record holder!

I had airlines destroy my bike, delayed flights, lost hotel reservations. broken down cars, nights slept in my car, nights spent under the stars and many more crazy things.

One of my highlights was racing in Michigan on Saturday and then flying out immediately after the race to my birth place of Calgary Canada for another race on Sunday of the same weekend. Knowing I didn't have time to spare I ended up posting a season best in Michigan of 4:39 followed by a 5:19 in Calgary the next day. I was pretty proud of both performances. I was awesome to have my family there in Calgary to support my efforts.

Austin 70.3 finish yielded a time of 5:01!!

You rode an amazing bike last year (I have total bike crush!) Tell us about your bike!

love my Ellsworth Coefficient and the crew at Ellsworth. They went out of their way to make sure my bike needs were met for this 2010 effort. When Delta destroyed my bike the guys at Ellsworth made sure to get me everything I needed to get back out there racing. Wheeltags is also a very cool company. They custom did the design on my disk wheel and without fail I got comments on it at every race!

Yet, there is a new "lady" coming into your life soon-care to share any info about her??

I had a doctor out of California offer to buy me the bike of my choice for my 2012 journey and in return.... when I break the world record I sign the bike and it goes on his wall!  It is being built right now so I don't have a full pick of it yet....

You have big things in the works for 2012--how are you going to top 22 HIM's?

2012.... I get scared every time I think about it. 30 full Ironman distance races through 15 countries. It time to man up and do this thing. 2011 has been a big prep year for me both physically and logistically. It has been a full time job getting everything ready and so far I'm not even close. The second half of 2011 will be very busy. I am still working on financial support and physical readiness. I am very excited to represent Quiet Way again on this adventure and hope to really be able to impact some lives.

30 Ironman races is a lot-both physically and financially. How are you going to accomplish this?

I have already secured help from generous sponsors and locals to cover the race entry fees, so that is a relief. I am working as hard as I can around the clock to get ready for the 30 events.  I am doing what I think is best for my preparation.  I am racing Ironman Cozumel later in November of this year in hopes of securing a spot in Kona for 2012.  I know I will be ready physically it is financially that I am most concerned about.

Best wishes in Cozumel! I hope you get that Kona slot.
Speaking of Kona, I'm gonna go there. Now that the WTC has this new "Do 12 IM's (or more) and get a Kona "slot" deal going, will this have any impact on you as a triathlete. Will you want to compete in Kona just based on the number of IM's you have done or would you rather get they by qualification?

WTC's do 12 races and get into Kona program is very interesting.... however the WTC is very tough to work with. They are SO big and get so many request that I don't think I am even on their radar. From my understanding they are going to start at the top of the list and allow entry for the people who have done the most races above the 12 first... then work their way down the list. Unfortunately my 12+ races will be coming in 2012 leading up to the race. It would be a dream to do the race in 2012 and include it in the world record.... I hope the stars line up in Cozumel 2011 and I won't have to leave Kona to a chance, but don't get me wrong... I'd take the spot.

Curious where James will be racing in 2012-

The races are all over the world and a mix of WTC, HITS and Rev3
Here is a link to his schedule.

James Family
Five beautiful children

I know the training demands just preparing for ONE Ironman are intense, tell me how you find balance with your training schedule and your family-Obviously, they support you in this! Tell me about them.

My family is awesome. My wife, Sunny makes sure I get my workouts in and ensures that I am eating right by cooking good meals. She is always asking me how things are going with the project and pushes me to keep going. Balance is tough but Sunny and my five kids are super excited about the project. Ideally we would like to sponsor wrap a big motor home and cross the country with it. This would allow them to be a much bigger part of my journey.

So what is a typical day like for you?

A typical day...My wife gets up early to get her workouts in. I get up and start getting the kids ready for school. Once the kids are all off and the youngest ones situated at home my days starts. I have gym clients starting at 9am and I get my swim in when I have a break. I make sure I schedule myself according to my workouts. If I have a long ride, run or brick then I will block off those parts of the day. If I am too busy at work unfortunately I have to get in that workout in the evening. I try not to cut into family time and will head out the door for a run after we have the kids in bed. I eat as much as I can during the day and then get up and do it all again. I typically have about 10 clients a day and do two workouts. Right now it is like have 4 part time jobs. Getting myself ready, training my clients, family time, and putting all the puzzle pieces together for 2012.

You are also a triathlon coach-tell me more about that.

Yes I am a personal trainer at a local gym here and I have tri clients on the side as a personal business. My goal after 2012 is to open my very own training facility here in Utah. I currently work with clients all over the country and am looking for a few more so that I can have an income through 2012. This is something that I can do from anywhere. I am well versed in all triathlon distances and am very confident I can get the beginner athlete and seasoned veteran to the finish line of any race exceeding their goals.

My training site is
Everyone has their own unique story, which is why I called it Tri Diaries. In a perfect world I would do a full blown documentary on the 2012 journey with me as the backbone of the series and highlighting an athlete at each of the 30 events. I think it is very interesting to hear all the reasons why people do Ironman. I want to tell those stories and really get into their minds, the mind of the school teacher, the stay at home mom and the aspiring pro. I know I'm nuts but why are you? Why do we do what we do?

Want to check out James' blog? You can find it here-

Do you want to help James on his amazing accomplishment?

You can do something as simple as LIKING his Facebook page. To secure additional sponsorship, he needs to reach 15,000 fans on his page! Go ahead-click the link and click the LIKE button and share with your friends. It is such an easy way to help.

You can also offer support by donating to his cause, Quiet Way. There is a link to it right on his blog

Do you have a question for James?
Please ask in the comments.

I will be following up with him again soon and would love to hear what YOU want to know about his epic adventure!


Julia said...

this is simply incredible!!! GOOD LUCK JAMES! so inspiring! thanks for sharing the interview!


Sick (in both a good and bad way)

Beal88 said...

Total baller!!

Aimee said...

So awesome! I "liked" him on FB!


Oh, your reading this James?
Your not sick, I actually wanted to do an IM on each continent in the same year, but WTC told me it has already been done

Anonymous said...

From James' wife...he is tender hearted, a great house cleaner and incredible Dad! He is always helping around the house and is an amazing husband. And believe it or not, incredibly humble!!! LIKE HIS IRON COWBOY FAN PAGE on Facebook, and help us along!

Love you!

HEATHER @ runfastermommy! said...

I think I got sympathy DOMS just reading about him, haha! That is so amazing!

Haley @ Climb Run Lift Mom said...