Here I was, in Louisville, Kentucky for the Ironman Competition. I felt so unsure of everything. I had put in the training, but could I actually swim, bike and run for the entire 140 miles? Was the injury I struggled with going to put me out all together? This was my dream, and had been for years, but I never really thought this could be a reality.
In my twenties I started running, first trying a few races – and then a marathon. Not only did I love it – I was good at it!! In 2007 at the age of 33 I tried my first Duathlon – showing up in cute running shorts and a simple white T-shirt with my basic road bike that had bucket peddles, instead of the clip-in bike shoes everyone else had. I remember feeling embarrassed, but once the race started, my focus took over and I didn’t worry about everyone else. I finished 6th out of 28 women in my age group and 22nd out of 149 women! I realized then and there that this was my “thing”. I could totally do this – with or without fancy gear.
In 2010 I raced in my first Triathlon. It took me a long time to work up to this as I was terrified of the swim – and I still am! I’ve learned that you just have to throw yourself into it and focus on your strengths. I may not be fastest in the water, but I make up for it on my bike and my run! The next year I won my first award in Triathlon and was more motivated than ever!
I started imagining one day hearing the words, “Pamela Lawson, YOU are an Ironman!” But fear was holding me back. Could I accomplish 140 miles of physical endurance? I never had that “perfect” athletic body, but was dedicated, driven and confident that I had the best nutritional support from Genuine Health products that have contributed to my success over the years.
Soon after, I found myself at the start of the swim of the Ironman in Louisville, Kentucky. Chatting with other athletes I realize I am not alone – this is a first Ironman for many. I’m ushered down the dock and take the plunge, trying to avoid swinging arms and legs, wondering if I’ll drown here! I focus on the stroke and breathing, trying to relax and just enjoy the moment: I am doing an Ironman!
Heading into the first transition, I am way ahead of my predicted time and the volunteers help me with my gear, handing me my helmet and bottle of activfuel+ that I had prepared. On my bike, I try not to push too hard, sipping activfuel+ every few kilometres to stay hydrated – it’s a HOT day in Kentucky! I approach a really hilly section of the race, and when swerving to avoid a branch on the road, I go down in the ditch. A volunteer comes running to help me get my bike back in order. Cut up and bruised, I finally get going and for the next 30km I’m peddling for all it’s worth! My husband sees me but I don’t see him, I’m too focused.
Heading into the run, my legs feel like jello but I’m doing my best to look good while everyone is cheering me on. People keep yelling “go Amelia” and I wonder who this popular girl is. I realize my bib is folded over, covering the “P” in my name – I am “Amelia”!
Making my way towards the finish is a spectacular experience: the long carpet, the huge banner, the crowds of people yelling, screaming, and cheering me on is overwhelming. Full of mixed emotions – I had done it! I high-five people waving their hands out to me as I pass, and then finally hear it…… “Pamela Lawson, YOU are an Ironman!”