Episode 121: James Lawrence – The Iron Cowboy
Welcome back to the Love Your Story podcast. I have a question for you. What is YOUR impossible? What boundaries have you set on yourself for how far you can go? It’s commonly acknowledged that we set our own limits on ourselves, and this idea of redefining impossible got really serious with today’s guest James Lawrence, aka the Iron Cowboy.
James got the nickname after he started wearing a cowboy hat during the marathon portion of his Ironman races so he could easily be identified by his five children. Originally from Calgary Canada, he now lives in Utah with his wife Sunny their kids. With two Guinness world records under his belt, James and his family attempted to take his endurance even further and do something every person deemed impossible. Complete 50 Ironmans in 50 consecutive days in all 50 states. Did he do it? Stay tuned to find out. And, let’s talk about redefining impossible.
When James announced his plan to complete 50 Ironmans in 50 consecutive days in all 50 states everyone thought he was crazy. An Ironman consists of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride, and a 26.2-mile run – a marathon. In Lawrence’s case, he would have to complete those distances and then make it to the next state in time to do it all over again the next day. Even Lawrence’s coach didn’t think he could do it.
When I met James Lawrence he was standing in a REAL soccer box raising funds and selling his book: Iron Cowboy. I got a copy that night and started reading it the following week. All I can say is holy shit. That was one painful, crazy-ass, unbelievable journey. His book is the story of his herculean 50-day journey and all the wonderful, miserable, and life-threatening events that happened along the way, as well as a glance at his life leading up to the mission, and winning two prior world records. Lawrence holds two world records in the Guinness Book of World Records: one for completing 22 half-Ironmans in one year (2010) and one for completing 30 full Ironmans in one year (2012). In 2015, he started out on this crazy quest to set a record for completing 50 Ironman distances in 50 states in 50 days.
Along the way, Lawrence survived tropical storms, internal bleeding, hypothermia, hyperthermia, dehydration, nerve damage, infected foot blisters, a blood-clot scare, extreme sleep deprivation (he only got four to five hours of sleep each night), and a bike crash!
Tune into the audio program for my interview with the Iron Cowboy and hear his stories and thoughts, including:
“No matter how extreme my suffering became, it was only suffering.”
“We’re not entirely on our own, because we can draw inspiration to achieve our own impossible, by seeing others conquer theirs.”
“The good you do is not always the good you expected to do.”
“The one thing I could control was my attitude, so I decided the predicament was a test rather than a setback. Unable to change my situation, I changed its meaning instead.” Can you tell us about this particular situation and your thoughts on it?
After this feat, Sports Illustrated ranked James in the top 50 fittest freaks with the likes of Lebron James and Connor McGregor, 2 of James favorite athletes. RedBull declares that ‘when it comes to endurance, he is unstoppable’ and Success magazine named him ‘The Most Enduring Man In The World’. He has literally Redefine the definition of impossible.
To learn more about James, buy his book, or follow him:
Your challenge this week is to start to look at the boundaries you have placed on yourself? How can you blow past those? How can you fight the pain, or fear or stories that sit between you and what you’ve thought was possible for you? If James Lawrence can push through the unimaginable mental and physical pain and discipline required to do 50 Ironman races in 50 days, we are certainly capable looking at this example and digging deep into our own wells of endurance. Look at your self created boundaries and choose one this week to show it who’s boss.
Thanks for tuning in for his fantastic story. If you like the show, please take a minute and leave a review on iTunes. It makes a big difference for us podcast folks, because it helps rank our shows. Share the love people and go out and create your best life story on purpose.