Meeting the Iron Cowboy

Last night I had the honor of running with the Iron Cowboy, James Lawrence on his #25 IM in as many days in Williamsburg, VA. If you haven’t heard for James’ crazy challenge, he is doing 50 Ironmans, in 50 states, and 50 days. Pull your jaw off the floor, that is some crazy shit. That’s 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile run everyday, and then driving to the next state to start again. It’s like a painful version of Groundhog Day played out in a different place every day.

Here’s a quick video explaining James’ mission:

My threshold for crazy endurance feats is pretty high, but this is on the edge of what I think is possible. I first heard about James’ story on the Rich Roll podcast. My brain was swimming thinking about the difficulty of the challenge.  I immediately started following him on social media, and fired off an email. If James makes it to Virginia I’m coming to run with him. This is a once in a life time opportunity to see someone doing something unheard of.

After following James’ journey for the past few weeks, the day had finally come to go and run with the Iron Cowboy. At each of his events, they have a 5k portion of the day where people can meet up with James to run. We met at Jamestowne High School at 7pm to shove off for the 5k. There were about 50 people there to run. I brought my family so they could check it out. I’m not sure if my girls understand the significance of what was going on, but I want them to be around this type of positive and healthy energy.

The Iron Cowboy showed up about 10 mins before 7pm having already completed the swim, bike, and 4 miles of the run. He gave a quick speech about his challenge, and partnership with a charity fighting childhood obesity. He introduced his family of five kids, for whom this whole journey is dedicated. Not only is he taking on this massive challenge, but this is a huge family vacation. While dad is out pounding the pavement, the kids are hanging out and going to see the local sites. This is the most awesome and difficult family vacation, I have ever heard of.

Everyone gathered for a group photo, and we were off for the 5k run. It was a very leisurely run, so people could chat with James and get some selfies. When we first started, I mentioned to the guy next to me this feels like the scene in Forest Gump. The scene where he just keeps running, and people start following. Thankfully he didn’t just stop like in the movie.

After the 5k, I went and ran some more miles with James and a small group. I got to chat with him for a while, and I kept my questions short. His answers were short, as I am sure he is exhausted from the effort and sleep deprivation. I was taken by his focus. We weren’t moving quickly, but he was steady, and concentrating on putting one foot in front of the other. In all I ran about 10 miles, and my family was ready to go. I wish I could have stayed until the end. I was filled with so much positive energy, I could have run all night.

It was a great experience, and one I will remember for a long time. I met some wonderful people during the run. Everyone was super positive and supportive. The most interesting guy I met was a Russian Physicist from Richmond.  He was a competitive swimmer, and now he is getting into running and triathlons. Many people drove 2-3 hours just to come and run with James. That is the power of a really big goal.

I have to say I am truly inspired by James’ challenge. I hope he stays healthy and finishes. I have some ideas for challenges of my own, and its time to get them rolling. The bar has been set very high now for what is possible. Just like James’, I’m trying to stay active and make my kids proud.

If the Iron Cowboy is coming to your state, go and run with him. He will appreciate the support, and you will have a chance to witness greatness.

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