Who is The Iron Cowboy?
James Lawrence, also known as the Iron Cowboy is a Canadian/American Iron Man triathlete best known for holding the world record for the number of Iron Man Triathlon’s in a year – 30. However, in 2015 at the age of 38 he challenged himself to complete 50 Iron Man triathlons in 50 states, within 50 days. His aim? To raise 1 million USD for the Jamie Oliver Foundation to fight childhood obesity.
Lawrence wasn’t always a fitness fanatic and triathlete. In fact, he only ran his first 5k when he was 28 years old, and says he hated it. He went from zero – to hero, in ten years but it wasn’t easy. Not only was he pushed to his physical limits, but also his mental limits Today we investigate the story of The Iron Cowboy and how his achievement is the embodiment of the Caddyboo message to “Do What We Can’t”.
Training and Perseverance
Lawrence after setting the world record for 30 Iron Man triathlons in a year states that he felt “empty” and had a further desire to push himself beyond his physical limits. This mentality lead to him deciding to take on his 50/50/50 challenge much to the chagrin of many of the people around him.
Despite the closest people to him: his wife, his friends and coach stating it was impossible he persevered and trained up to 14 hours a day, every day to be prepared both physically and mentally. His training regimen shows how preparation and dedication is key in achieving your goals. Whether it’s that you’re training for a triathlon, starting a business, or trying something complete new for the first time, focus and dedication are the cornerstones of success.
It Took a Village
A key theme around the story of The Iron Cowboy is the team that was essential to his success. While the triathlon may seem like an event that is dedicated to solo performance – and while physically that might be true, it’s abundantly clear that there is no way that Lawrence could have completed this gross feat without the support of a solid team.
His coach and analyst monitored his every move to ensure that he was accurately reaching each of his targets throughout the 50 days. Lawrence also had a full road crew of people trained to ensure that he stayed physically healthy including a chiropractor, physical therapists and a myriad of doctors who were solely focused on his health and wellbeing while completing the 50/50/50.
Perhaps most importantly, he had the full support of his family, including his five children and wife who travelled with him throughout the entire 50 days and his road crew – made up of friends who would swim, bike and run alongside him to keep morale high. This undoubtly played into his mental health and wellbeing during the long, hard days he endured and allowed him to keep his spirits high.
The show of support that Lawrence received from his family, teams and supporters is proof positive that we need people around us to support our goals. It’s imperative as you take on a new challenge that you have a team around to support you – even if it’s just one person. As the saying goes, no man is an island and having people around you to help you stay focus and motivated is a key to overcoming challenges and pushing yourself forward.
Then Came Struggle
The story of the 50/50/50 wasn’t always easy however – nothing ever is. Within days of starting his challenge, Lawrence was suffering sleep deprivation. In addition he suffered numerous physical injuries. Lawrence was mentally prepared for the challenges that would lie ahead but couldn’t predict the toll it would take on his body. His mental strength, positive attitude and determination to succeed helped to drive him forward, making what would be disastrous for one person, another hurdle that he overcame.
Lawrence’s mental strength was one of the defining factors of his journey. Lawrence faced backlash on social media due to using an intravenous saline drip to increase oxygen flow through his body. In addition, having neglected to officially register his challenge with the Jamie Oliver foundation, rumours spread he was collecting money and had no intention of donating the money at all. The mental toll that this took on Lawrence was apparent in the latter half of the challenge especially as donations began to dry up.
Despite the pain and criticism, Lawrence was determined to continue for his cause. The mentality to push past was essential to his success. His determination shows that even when you hit a roadblock you continue to train, you continue to persevere and, in the end, you can look back and acknowledge that even the bad parts were part of the journey to success.
Followed by Success
After 50 days and 11,313 kilometers Lawrence completed his journey in the 50th US state to the applause of hundreds of people – family, friends, and strangers who were there to support his journey and take inspiration. While he raised less than 1/10th of his intended charity target there was no doubt that his focus and determination inspired thousands of people.
If we can take anything from Lawrence’s story it’s that nothing is impossible if we prepare, focus, and strive for success. He not only physically trained for the events, but he mentally equipped himself with the tools to overcome challenges, and to push himself further when he felt he couldn’t possible go another step.
He shows that when you push beyond what you think you’re capable of, when you utilize the help and support of the people around you and when you mentally and physically prepare yourself to achieve your dreams – you really can accomplish anything.
Lawrence is just one of the many every day heroes that Caddyboo looks to when we want to focus on a task and ensure that we succeed. He’s a living embodiment of the “Do What We Can’t” philosophy and we encourage everyone to set a challenge and achieve it – whatever it may be.