Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Profiles in Mental Toughness III

I didn't know who Sarah Reinertsen was until I watched her getting the news that she had missed the bike cutoff time in Kona in 2004...she was devastated. I was floored. This amazing woman, with only one of her legs... she came back in 2005 and ruled the course, becoming the first woman amputee to ever complete the Hawaii Ironman course. Talk about mentally tough.

I'm sure most, if not all of you know Sarah's story. She was born with proximal femoral focal deficiency (PFFD)...or a deformed left leg. She had to wear a leg brace starting at the age of 11 months so that her legs were even lengths...and when she was 7, the decision was made to amputate. She had a great attitude but, as you can imagine, was not able to keep up with her peers physically...phys ed. teachers didn't include her in regular play, she was always picked last for teams... I can relate to being picked last. It SUCKS.

When Sarah was 11, she went to her first track meet for kids with disabilities...and she won the 100 meter race. This success launched her world of athletics...

Her mantra: "Don't ever give up on what you believe in. Not once. Not ever."

The fact that Sarah has been able to overcome so many obstacles in her quest for Ironman is incredible...but get this (from Cytosport.com):

Ironman. 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike and a 26.2-mile run. It's one of the toughest races in the world. To finish, Sarah has to be tougher than the rest. She expends 40% more oxygen and twice the energy than a person with two legs. Every stroke, every peddle on the bike, every step she runs has to be fine tuned to perfection. She will be the first, the only amputee woman to complete the Ironman in Kona. Only two years ago, she had never been on a bike. Her swim was fair at best. But she worked. And worked hard to qualify for the coveted spot. Currently, Sarah trains over 20 hours a week to accomplish this goal. Once again, Sarah will break new ground and go where no amputee woman has gone before.

40% more oxygen and twice the energy than a person with two legs.

So basically she does the race twice.

The next time I'm tempted to whine about it being cold or rainy or I'm tired or hungry...I'm just going to remind myself that it's POSSIBLE for me to be pushing 40% harder... Sarah does it every time she trains...for as many as 20 hours a week.

Be inspired. And train hard...


Blogger Flatman said...

Great post. Sarah makes us all look like wimps, huh?

I have major respect for her. Thanks for taking the time to make us all think!

2:35 PM GMT-5

Blogger Phil said...

The 2004 Ironman tape is a classic. It has gotten me throuh many treadmill sessions. I cry every time she rolls into T2, only to be told it's too late.

The day after the 2005 race, she was the first person I looked up in the results.

2:37 PM GMT-5

Blogger TriSaraTops said...

I second Phil! I cried on my trainer 2 weeks ago--the first time I saw the Kona 2004 DVD....she's such an inspiration. You're right--she's doing the race twice. Man, I have no room to complain. ;)

3:45 PM GMT-5

Blogger Cliff said...

Thanks for the post Spence..no excuse..just train.

3:57 PM GMT-5

Blogger E-Speed said...

Love all the mental toughness posts!

Sarah is absolutely amazing. I cried during her first attempt at ironman.

4:17 PM GMT-5

Blogger jameson said...

i saw a video of her telling her story on a plane while i was flying to colorado a couple months ago. she's incredible, no doubt. It just shows that if you work hard enough and dedicate yourself you can pretty much do anything. most people just prefer the easier road.

4:24 PM GMT-5

Blogger BuckeyeRunner said...

Thanks for the inspiration. I love Sarah - she reminds me that whenever I am in pain during a run -- embrace it. I can FEEL it. She can't feel pain in a leg she doesn't have, you know?

And by the way - love the new header!!

7:35 AM GMT-5

Blogger tri-mama said...

These profiles are great! I was watching a training/wt loss show on my bike spin yesterday and one of the participants made the crucial discovery that "her mind quit before her body did" that seems like the lynchpin for all of us-these are great role models. thanks

8:53 AM GMT-5

Blogger Wylee said...

She is quite amazing, thank you for putting this inspirational woman on your blog!

9:43 AM GMT-5


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