James Lawrence Q&A: One on One #505050 Triathlon
On June 7, 2015, James Lawrence, AKA the Iron Cowboy, will attempt the incredible: 50 full Ironman distance triathlons, in 50 consecutive days, in 50 different states. Say what?? Yes, you read that correctly. James will be doing a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and a 26.2 mile marathon run, every day, for 50 consecutive days, in every state! That’s 7,030 miles of swimming, biking, and running. FOLLOW JAMES’ JOURNEY ON FACEBOOK and FEZZARI INSTAGRAM. Fezzari Bicycles is not only excited to sponsor this amazing fete of human determination, strength, and abilities, but more importantly, we are excited to sponsor a great person. A while back we were able to sit down with James (which is a hard thing to do, considering his training schedule that sometimes is 12-14 hours a day), to learn more about him, his family, and the reason behind the 50-50-50.
Fezzari Bicycles: James, we’re glad to have you in the Fezzari family. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
James Lawrence: I was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Growing up I committed many hours to wrestling. I was undefeated my senior year, and ultimately won the provincial championships. At 23, I had a unique life changing event that led to the opportunity to move to Utah.
FB: What was this life changing event?
JL: The carnival came to town and they offered a cash prize to whoever lasted the longest on a Ferris wheel. We got 2 five minute breaks in each 24 hour period. I survived 10 days – longer than anyone else and won the cash prize. I used the cash prize to head down to Utah.
FB: How did you survive that long on a Ferris wheel?
JL: I learned to not eat or drink too much because I didn’t want to have a bathroom urge stop me. I also learned to focus. I learned in that time that I have pretty good determination. Once I set my mind to something, I do everything I can to accomplish it.
FB: So you headed to Utah, and then what happened?
JL: I met my wife, Sunny, in college and we were married in December, 2000. One day, she challenged me to a four mile fun run and was amused by how much I struggled. She decided I needed a bigger challenge and signed me up for a marathon. In April 2005, I crossed the finish line of my first marathon. After this taste of endurance events I moved into triathlon, which ultimately led to my world record experiences!
FB: You’re obviously an accomplished triathlete. What’s something people may not know about you?
JL: Not many people know that I am a huge Spiderman fan, so much that I have a Spiderman tattoo on my back. I have watched a ridiculous amount of Dora the Explorer and SpongeBob over the past 10 years with my kids. I’m not a morning person at all, but I’ve managed to show up to every early morning tee time and race start. There are strange things about my body as well. I have a cauliflower ear, hammer toes, protruding veins that will make any vampire excited, and have smoother legs than most women you know. Ironically, I rarely shave my face. Above and beyond anything else I love fruit, angry birds, movies, sushi, travel, water sports and being with my wife and 5 children.
FB: You are listed in the Guinness Book of World Records. Can you tell us more about those records?
JL: I currently hold two Guinness World Records: one for the most 70.3 (half ironman) races done in a single year and the other for the most 140.6 (full ironman) races done in a single year). I accomplished these records between 2010-2012. In 2015 I have something pretty special planned that I hope will inspire people and also make the question what the human body is capable of.
FB: You must have to dig pretty deep to do things like this. Where do you get your determination and resolve?
JL: In my opinion it comes down to being able to control your mind and have a good game plan in place. There were moments of extreme pain, excitement and also boredom… let’s just say I learned many lessons and much about myself during those years.
FB: Are there any tips that you would recommend for others in their training?
JL: Yes, hire coach, surround yourself with a supportive cast and don’t settle for mediocrity.
FB: A lot of people have wondered if it’s even physically possible to do the 50-50-50. What do you say to them?
JL: First of all, I’m in the best shape of my life. I’ve actually been training and planning for this for a long time. It’s not something that I just thought about and said, “Tomorrow I’m going to go do the 50-50-50.” Because of that, I believe it’s well within my capabilities. My goal is to keep my heart rate between 120-130 beats per minute. I only have to do that for 12-14 hours a day. There are a lot of people walking around that are overweight, with high blood pressure and diabetes whose resting heart rate is in that range and they have to maintain that for 24/7/365. I only have to do this for 50 days in a row. They’re the ones we need to be worried about.
FB: What happens if you get an injury?
JL: Let me just say that I’m not going to push myself to the point of death or anything – I have a wife and 5 kids that mean more than anything to me. That said, I know there are going to be tough times. There will be times that I might be puking on the side of the road. But that’s life – there are good times and tough times – you just push through.
FB: What if you get a sprained ankle or something?
JL: I’ll put a boot on and push through it. We’ll deal with the things as they happen. This is going to be exciting.
FB: Are all of these events sanctioned Iron Man events?
JL: No. They don’t have Iron Man events every single day, but all events have been mapped out and all distances will be verified by Garmin. Also, I have been amazed at the outpouring of support. In each state there will be people participating with me from local tri clubs. We are inviting anyone to come out and do the event with us, or come do part. Come swim with me, come bike 10 miles with me, come run the last 5k every day. I’m so humbled and appreciate all the support.
FB: So where do you go after this?
JL: A long rest! I’m going to definitely need it.
FB: We wish you the best of luck!
JL: Thank you. And I want to thank all those who have helped to make this possible!