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‘Iron Cowboy’ pushes the limits of human endurance

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

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

“Folks all the time say chase your desires, 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 obtained to be one thing highly effective, you personal it, you’re the grasp and also you’re conquering it.”

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

Pushing the boundaries

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

He is 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 little one intercourse trafficking.

“I do what I do to boost cash for charity and to problem myself to see what the boundaries are for my thoughts and physique,” says Lawrence, who celebrated his 45th birthday alongside a 38th successive each day triathlon on April 7.

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

“James was a health club rat,” says Sunny. “He’d simply go to the health club and carry weights. I had run for health and stated, you understand, 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 arduous for you?

“I had all the time needed to run a marathon and signed us up, however I’d have by no means recognized that that four-mile enjoyable run would have become this whole 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 all the time loved particular person sports activities having grown up a wrestler, after which taking over 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 essentially the most half-distance triathlons in a yr, 2011, earlier than transferring on to interrupt information within the full-distance self-discipline in 2012.

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

“It positively was a logistical nightmare,’ remembers Lawrence. “An expertise we’ll without end bear in mind.”

Touring all through the US in 2015 — because the Amazon documentary “Iron Cowboy: The Story of the 50.50.50 Triathlon” particulars — gear went lacking, sneakers obtained misplaced, and the Lawrence household, together with all 5 youngsters, lived and slept in a rented RV.

“That naivety,” says Sunny. “Not understanding how arduous it was going to be, was in all probability the best present we have ever been given. We would’ve chickened out, however we have been like, oh, no, we completely obtained this.

“While you’re in it and it is depressing, you are like, nicely, we obtained to see it by means of.”

Household is necessary to Lawrence and his eldest daughter Lucy — now full-time pupil and enterprise supervisor — would meet her father to run the ultimate 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’re every little thing.”

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

Classes learnt

Logistics weren’t the one 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 — as a consequence of 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 answer to get well.

The accidents and a tropical storm pressured the “Iron Cowboy” and workforce to rearrange indoor services in quite a lot of states to allow him to finish the required each day distances on static gear reminiscent of a cross coach, an elliptical machine that replicates the movement of operating with out the impression.

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

The World Anti-Doping Company (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 considered doping, and subsequently WADA modified their guidelines to understand excessive endurance challenges such because the “50.50.50.”

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

Additional controversy ensued when Lawrence did not present a direct hyperlink for folks to donate cash to the charity he supported all through the problem — the Jamie Oliver Meals Basis, 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 obtainable, and Lawrence tells CNN that the eventual fundraising determine reached $80,000.

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

Restoration again house

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

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

Lawrence can also be sleeping much more — a median of seven hours an evening. His eating regimen contains fruit, sandwiches, Hello-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 workforce.

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

Your individual model of arduous

Lawrence knew it was not possible to coach a human physique for 100 full distance triathlons, and says he used a gradual strategy of low impression, “heavy” bike, “low run quantity” and constant swim and weight coaching in order that the primary 10 triathlons would prime him for the subsequent 10 and so forth.

He explains that he needed to really feel recent in the beginning as “10% undertrained is best than 1% overtrained.”

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

“It was unimaginable 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 house in Utah, home familiarity and native help has helped banish recollections of the poisonous response he suffered on-line over the “50.50.50.”

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

“Not one individual. I do not know if it is as a result of folks know he can do it, or due to the trigger,” she says. “This time round nothing, it is such a gorgeous factor.”

“The neighborhood loves it,” admits Lawrence. “Significantly our hometown, Lindon Metropolis. They’ve bent over backwards for us.

“Everyone seems to be engaged and supportive, it has been an unimaginable 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 youngsters to housewives, and athletes to motion figures.

“I like to empower folks to do their very own model of arduous,” he says. “It’s type of enjoyable to do the not possible.”

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 document breaking territory.

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

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