Many, many moons ago, I met Lori Kamler when I started working for my current employer. Lori hates it when I tell this, but here goes anyway. Lori was rough around the edges, knew her job, but lacked confidence to really excel, and could hardly run more than a mile. Lori found out I was a runner and began peppering me with questions about the sport, how to train and giving me copius updates as she began running lunchtime workouts.
“hey Jeff, I ran two miles today!” was the content of many an early email I would receive. Time went by and eventually I convinced her to sign up for a race and challenge herself.
The distances increased, moving up to half marathon and then the full marathon. I had the distinct pleasure of pacing her to a finish at her first marathon at the LA Marathon. From there the insanity continued, marathon after marathon. The Lori I had met back in 1998 was now a completely changed person. Focused, fit, confident and hands down the best asset that our company had on it’s roster.
But then she got nuts. She stepped into the insane and obsesive world of triathlon; sprint, olympic and then up to the half iron distance. She began racing some life changing events and her confidence grew, along with her fitness. Fast forward to 2008 and Lori got the wild hair to sign up for Ironman Arizona 2009.
For the uninitiated, an ironman distance race consists of a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike and then, once you completely exhast yourself with those two legs, you GET to run a full 26.2 mile marathon. The enormity of this undertaking is mindbogglingfor the layman. Completing an ironman only comes after years of conditioning your body for endurance events and typically a year training cycle specific to the race. It is tough physically and mentally and requires hours of intense training, rest and the support of family and friends. Ironman is an emense undertaking.
And this is what Lori as signed up to complete on this brisk November morning in Tempe, Arizona. The weather is in the mid fourties at the start, the water temp is hovering around 60 and the high for the day should be in the mid 70′s; a perfect day for a race.
As Lori makes her way through the day, I will post updates and any media I can get. Join me in cheering on Lori Kamler, rock star and future Ironman!
The racers are on their way. Age groupers [the non-pro athletes] started right on time at 7:00. The water was COLD, but the air is colder! Lori should hit t1in about 2 hours. Next update from the swim to bike transition.
Lori is out if the water right at 2 hours. She looked great and I got a wet high five and a huge smile. Many of the athletes were commenting on the water temperatures and looking hypothermic, but Lori looked fresh and wash focused and all smiles. Onto the bike!
Lori has been out on the bike course for a little over three hours now and is starting on her second of three 37 mile loops. The bike course leaves Tempe Town Lake and heads up highway 87 to Shea, a long, mild climb for over 18 miles before turning around to be rewarded with a gradual downhill. The temperature has climbed into the high 60′s, but sun is shining fiercly. The important thing for these athletes on this leg of the race is to use the bike platform to get hydrated and fueled for the upcomming run, all while maintaining effort to successfully finish the bike. Lori will be on the bike for over seven hours in the desert sun. That is a long time to be riding and poses it’s own set of difficuliltirs when transitioning to the run. Surviving the bike takes consistent focus and effort.
Lori’s husband reports seeing her on her third loop of the bike course, indicating that she’s maintIning her desired 15mph pace and looking to transition onto the run around 4:30pm.
Lori hit the last turn around on the third loop right at 3:30pm. She’s holding to a solid 15mph pace. She said that she was tired, but the remainder of the ride is downhill so she should be able to recover over the next 18 miles.
Dana saw Lori enter t2 right on schedule. She’s still tired, but the run is her event and she’ll be great once she settles into her pace. The transition from bike to run is tough. After being in the aero position for over seven hours, the body can be really stiff and it may take several miles befor the legs an back loosen up to where you feel like you can run normally. Durring training, triathletes will practice this type of transition to prepare themselves for this sensation. Lori is well aware of how to handle this. As she eases into the run, it is important for her to keep drinking fluids and eating to keep her muscles fueled and limber.
Lori just passed the four mile mark after just under an hour of running. Her pace looked like she was running about an 11min mile, so she must have wisely walked the first couple of miles and she looks to have settled into her comfortable pace.
Lori passed Danna and I just after mile 12 and stopped for a brief chat. She complained about shortness of breath and was concerned about making the mile 17 cut-off at 10:15pm. We talked her down off the ledge and let her know the time and re-assured her that even walking the next five miles would put her at 17 before the cut-off. She was relieved. She returned to her old self when I commented that she looked like an alien with the chemlites on her belt and she shot me two birds. She’s going to rock this thing!
Mile 17 and Lori hit it right on pace for a six hour marathon. She crossed at 8:55, well before the 10:15 cut-off. She was tired, but hammering out the miles.
Danna and I caught Lori again at mile 20 and while most other athletes were walking, Lori came around the corner running and kept going. She could taste the finish at that point and I don’t think anything will stop her now. She looked so much better at 20 than she did at 17!
Lori finished in 16:20 to the sounds of, “Lori Kamler, you are an Ironman!”