—The following is a guest post from Sterling Ungerman from ENDEVR.—
James Lawrence, A.K.A The Iron Cowboy arrives at the pool in a Subaru. He's folded down the back seats and slept while his "Wingmen" drove him from his last event in California 300 miles away. For having only 5 hours of rest, he looks amazingly chipper.
Without much fanfare or ceremony, James plunges into the pool and begins his 2.4 mile swim. In the lanes on either side of James, a group of seniors slowly do water aerobics and talk to each other. It's apparent that most of them are there to socialize rather than exercise. They steal quick glances over their shoulders and huddle around each other to chatter about this interruption to their usual routine. Finally, one of them calls out to us.
“Who is that?" she asks as she gestures with her eyes at James.
Matt who is there filming, squats down by the pool "That's The Iron Cowboy" he explains.
"What's he doing here?" she asks with a confused look.
"He's doing the swim portion of a full triathlon."
Still confused, she asks "Is that a big deal?"
"Well... He's swimming 2.4 miles..."
The woman's eyes get big and she turns to her crowd of friends behind her and shouts "He's swimming 2.4 miles in the pool!"
The group obviously impressed by this, all turn simultaneously to get a better look at James as he motors on by for another lap.
Matt continues, "And then he's going to go on a 112-mile bike ride when he finishes his swim..."
Even more impressed, the woman shouts to her friends "And then he's going to ride his bike for 112 miles!"
As a group, they all take a step closer to James' lane so that they can get a better look at him.
"And after the bike ride, he's going to run a full marathon. 26.2 miles."
"And then he's going to run a full marathon!" she shouts over her shoulder to her group.
"When he's done with all of that, he's going to hop in a car, catch a few hours of sleep and do it all over again in another state. He's doing 50 full length triathlons in 50 days in 50 states. No one has ever done anything like this, ever."
As the magnitude of this explanation percolated into her comprehension, she staggered back to her group. From that moment on, that group became his biggest awe-struck group of admirers at the pool.
The fact that anyone can do a full triathlon is an amazing feat. To repeat multiple triathlons back-to-back is exceptional. To do all of this on almost no sleep is borderline insanity. His doctor explains "The lack of sleep and recovery has been inhuman... I could not function on that sleep schedule even if I was not exercising at all. Granted, there are some naps in there unaccounted for, but James has shown he is mentally tough."
The natural question most people have is "Why?" Why is James doing this? What's the impetus to all of this madness? Simply put – to raise awareness for childhood obesity and raise money for the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation.
As I answer a few questions for a reporter who has arrived, he finally just blurts out "Why not just climb up a flagpole and say 'I'm not coming down until Johnny has a granola bar and goes for a walk?' Why is James going through all of this effort?" Later on that evening James explained to the reporter, “the childhood obesity epidemic is so big, and so outrageous, that it takes an act as equally as big and as equally outrageous in order to draw the attention it deserves.”
Why should you care? What's the big deal? Events like this take time to get exposure, time to gain momentum. History is literally being made right now. The action is taking place at this very moment. Right now! James is the perfect combination of athletic endurance, determination and just a light sprinkling of insanity to be able to accomplish an event like this. Trust me on this one, sometime down the road when someone asks you "Hey, remember when the Iron Cowboy broke the world record with that 50.50.50 event? What were you doing at the time?" You don't want to answer “I don't... I'm not really sure. I didn't pay any attention to it."
I would certainly be remiss if I failed to mention the incredible collection of like-minded supporters of James who have thrown their effort and product behind him, so that he can succeed.
BlenderBottle – To maintain his energy reserves, James has to consume between 8,000 – 10,000 calories per day. Four times what you and I are eating. A majority of those calories are on the go. For this reason, James is an expert on the subject. It should come as no surprise that James uses BlenderBottles to blend up his nutrition shakes while pursuing the 50.50.50 challenge.
STRENGTHTAPE – The tape that actually sticks. STRENGTHTAPE is the official tape of IRONMAN Triathlons because of its ability to last through an entire event, and stick with James as he completes the 50.50.50 event.
MyID – Essential information when you need it most. MyID supports James as he encourages more people to get out and participate in life. MyID will help you be more active and be more safe.