Home Sports Triathlon: 'Iron Cowboy' pushes the limits of human endurance

Triathlon: ‘Iron Cowboy’ pushes the limits of human endurance

“The 50 wasn’t shut sufficient to know my limits,” Lawrence tells CNN Sport. “That is why I’m doing the ‘Conquer 100.'”

Lawrence, identified to many as the “Iron Cowboy” is doing these 1000’s of miles close to his residence in Lindon City, Utah. He began on March 1 and hopes to finish the feat on June 8.

“People at all times say chase your goals, however if you’re chasing one thing, you by no means catch it,” says Lawrence’s spouse Sunny, explaining the reasoning behind the title “Conquer 100.”

“With this, I used to be like, it is acquired to be one thing highly effective, you personal it, you might be the grasp and also you’re conquering it.”

Lawrence uses 'wingmen' to pace his speed, and also provide moral support.

Pushing the limits

By finishing the ‘Conquer 100,’ Lawrence desires to set a brand new benchmark of human efficiency and endurance.

He’s additionally fundraising, saying all proceeds generated from his problem are being donated to Operation Underground Railroad, a not-for-profit group utilizing former CIA and Navy Seal operatives to eradicate baby intercourse trafficking.

“I do what I do to lift cash for charity and to problem myself to see what the limits are for my thoughts and physique,” says Lawrence, who celebrated his forty fifth birthday alongside a thirty eighth successive every day triathlon on April 7.

“My first endurance problem was a four-mile enjoyable run on Thanksgiving Day,” he remembers. “At least it felt like an endurance occasion after I did it in 2004.”

“James was a health club rat,” says Sunny. “He’d simply go to the health club and raise weights. I had run for health and mentioned, , let’s do that race.

“It was tough for him and I used to be like, you’ve got to be kidding me. How can that be onerous for you?

“I had at all times wished to run a marathon and signed us up, however I’d have by no means identified that that four-mile enjoyable run would have was this complete profession.”

After their marathon collectively James Lawrence found triathlon.

“It was one small step at a time,” he explains. “Over a decade I took it up a notch, stayed constant, and climbed the ladder to excessive endurance.

“I’ve at all times loved particular person sports activities having grown up a wrestler, after which taking up golf. Triathlon was a pure transition for me so far as difficult the thoughts and the physique.”

Lawrence celebrated his 45th birthday on the same day as completing 38 successive triathlons.

Lawrence is reported to have accomplished the most half-distance triathlons in a 12 months, 2011, earlier than transferring on to interrupt data in the full-distance self-discipline in 2012.

The “50.50.50” — 50 full-distance triathlons in 50 days throughout 50 states — took the concept of endurance competitors to a different stage.

“It undoubtedly was a logistical nightmare,’ remembers Lawrence. “An expertise we are going to perpetually bear in mind.”

Traveling all through the US in 2015 — as the Amazon documentary “Iron Cowboy: The Story of the 50.50.50 Triathlon” particulars — tools went lacking, sneakers acquired misplaced, and the Lawrence household, together with all 5 kids, lived and slept in a rented RV.

“That naivety,” says Sunny. “Not realizing how onerous it was going to be, was most likely the best present we have ever been given. We would possibly’ve chickened out, however we have been like, oh, no, we completely acquired this.

“When you are in it and it is depressing, you are like, nicely, we acquired to see it by means of.”

Family is vital to Lawrence and his eldest daughter Lucy — now full-time pupil and enterprise supervisor — would meet her father to run the last 5km every day.

“Nothing nice is ever achieved on our personal,” Lawrence says. “And I’ve been so blessed to undergo this journey with my household. They are all the things.”

Lawrence runs 26.2 miles (42.195km) every day, and plans to do it 100 consecutive times.

Lessons learnt

Logistics weren’t the solely difficulties Lawrence confronted. On day six of the 50, he tore a shoulder muscle and needed to swim the subsequent 44 days with one arm, whereas one other day — attributable to sleep deprivation — he fell asleep whereas biking, tumbling onto the highway.

By day eight he was affected by such extreme dehydration that he handed out, and was subsequently administered with an intravenous drip (IV) of saline resolution to recuperate.

The accidents and a tropical storm compelled the “Iron Cowboy” and crew to rearrange indoor amenities in a quantity of states to allow him to finish the required every day distances on static tools reminiscent of a cross coach, an elliptical machine that replicates the movement of working with out the influence.

That meant Guinness wouldn’t ratify the 50.50.50 for the world report; Lawrence’s use of an IV additionally led to hostility and accusations of dishonest on social media.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), didn’t instantly reply to CNN’s request for remark, however based on the Amazon documentary, IV use inside two weeks of a triathlon occasion was thought to be doping, and subsequently WADA modified their guidelines to understand excessive endurance challenges reminiscent of the “50.50.50.”

However, Lawrence has admitted utilizing an elliptical machine did scale back the credibility of his achievement.

Further controversy ensued when Lawrence did not present a direct hyperlink for individuals to donate cash to the charity he supported all through the problem — the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation, which aimed to alleviate childhood weight problems — and he was accused of charity fraud.

The now defunct basis denied this was the case, finally making a hyperlink out there, and Lawrence tells CNN that the eventual fundraising determine reached $80,000.

Up early, the Iron Cowboy starts his swim shortly after 5am.

Recovery again residence

After what he’d put his physique by means of, Lawrence knew when he dedicated to the “Conquer 100” in the fall of 2020, his preparation needed to change.

With well being testing at UCLA, and medical knowledge being monitored every day by means of Biostrap, his crew acknowledged that he wanted to make use of “each possibility he can to recuperate,” together with physique massages each evening, magnetic pads, pink gentle remedy, a hyperbaric chamber, and speedy reboot compression boots.

Lawrence can also be sleeping way more — a mean of seven hours an evening. His weight-reduction plan consists of fruit, sandwiches, Hi-Chews, Swedish fish, salads, inexperienced smoothies with protein powders, and “as many potatoes as I can” he says.

His weight — for somebody finishing such an enormous quantity of intense train — has stayed remarkably constant based on his crew.

On day 38 as he celebrated his 45th birthday, the Iron Cowboy was joined by a large group.

Your personal model of onerous

Lawrence knew it was unattainable to coach a human physique for 100 full distance triathlons, and says he used a gradual course of of low influence, “heavy” bike, “low run quantity” and constant swim and weight coaching in order that the first 10 triathlons would prime him for the subsequent 10 and so forth.

He explains that he wished to really feel recent at the begin as “10% undertrained is healthier than 1% overtrained.”

The plan labored and similar to throughout the “50.50.50,” Lawrence says he felt his physique “break” after three weeks, after which bounce again.

“It was unbelievable to see my physique change and act as if it had a thoughts of its personal,” says Lawrence.

After his first day running, the 'Iron Cowboy' had another 4,220km to run.

Being near residence in Utah, home familiarity and native assist has helped banish reminiscences of the poisonous response he suffered on-line over the “50.50.50.”

Sunny emphasizes, the risk has been “non-existent.”

“Not one particular person. I do not know if it is as a result of individuals know he can do it, or as a result of of the trigger,” she says. “This time round nothing, it is such a fantastic factor.”

“The group loves it,” admits Lawrence. “Particularly our hometown, Lindon City. They have bent over backwards for us.

“Everyone is engaged and supportive, it has been an unbelievable expertise.”

On April 19th the Iron Cowboy completed his 50th consecutive full distance triathlon.
A look at his social media additionally reveals lot of interplay along with his endeavor — from kids to housewives, and athletes to motion figures.

“I like to empower individuals to do their very own model of onerous,” he says. “It is sort of enjoyable to do the unattainable.”

Lawrence says he met his fundraising goal of $100,000 by day 38, and now previous the midway mark in his ‘Conquer 100’ try, the Iron Cowboy is once more in report breaking territory.

“I mentally really feel nice,” he confirms. “I’m stronger than I used to be for the 50 … there’s a lot of work to be executed, and I’m respecting the journey.”

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