Trish Lane poses with her husband, Dave, at their bike and kayak shop in Solomons, the Patuxent Adventure Center. Photo Danita Boonchaisri
LUSBY, Md. - Like most working moms, Trish Lane has a full plate. There are soccer practices, homework, housework and the usual array of errands. In addition to her full-time "real" job as Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer of VT Maritime Dynamics in Lexington Park, Md., Lane and her husband, Dave, also own the Patuxent Adventure Center in Solomons, Southern Maryland's only kayak and bike shop.
As if all that weren't enough, the Lusby, Md., resident somehow found enough free time in her busy days to train for and compete in the Ironman World Championship Triathlon in Kona, Hawaii, recently. The Ironman, an exhausting test of physical endurance, consists of a 2.4-mile open-water swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile run. All completed in one, very long, day.
Lane had completed an Ironman in Lake Placid, N.Y., in July, 2006, and had even qualified for the Kona event last year but broke her foot three weeks out from the race and had to cancel the trip.
"I've been a competitive swimmer since I was 5 years old and went to college on an athletic scholarship"This year, she came in 16th among women in her age category of 40-44 year-olds, Lane finished the overall event in 11:15:46. Impressively, she also came in first in the swim portion for her age group and second overall among amateur women in the swim. "That's where I make up my time," she says. "I've been a competitive swimmer since I was 5 years old and went to college on an athletic scholarship; I suppose that gives me somewhat of an edge. I'm not as strong a cyclist as the others and I really don't enjoy the run much, but if I can get a lead in the swimming that helps me with the rest of the race."
The Ironman is recognized around the world as the premier test of human mettle and each year tens of thousands of triathletes attempt to qualify or snag one of the few available lottery spots. At this year's event, only 1,700 succeeded in earning a slot.
USA Triathlon, a 700,000-member organization and sanctioning authority, notes that the Ironman World Championship is one of the best-known events in the sport. A standard triathlon has a 1.5K swim, 40K bike and 10K run; thus the Ironman, with its much longer distances, pushes the envelope in human stamina.
"I was drawn to the longer distances of the Ironman and I've really come to enjoy"A diminutive and soft-spoken woman, Lane, who is also a certified personal trainer, insists that her ability to compete among elite athletes is nothing special. "I've always been athletic," she says, "but I was drawn to the longer distances of the Ironman and I've really come to enjoy it."
"The competition isn't with the other racers, it's really with yourself... For this event, I wanted to quit pretty much the whole time"On the October 21st race day, however, Lane was under the weather and nervous about competing against so many other world-class athletes. "I wasn't feeling well during the race and was in a pretty dark place the whole time. But that's the point of doing an Ironman," she says. "The competition isn't with the other racers, it's really with yourself. You have to constantly talk yourself through the highs and lows of the day due to the length of the race and the demands it puts on your body. For this event, I wanted to quit pretty much the whole time and it was harder physically than the race I did at Lake Placid."
Lane admits that her weeks-long training schedule was somewhat unorthodox. "Some athletes do a high volume of running but I really don't enjoy the running that much so I would squeeze it in wherever I could, usually no more than about 35 miles per week. That worked for me and I had a great year of racing," she says. "In the weeks leading up to Kona however, I hired a good friend and coach who had done the Ironman in Hawaii five times before. He put together a training plan for me that worked around my family commitments and work schedule."
"I'd always wanted to do the Ironman and I just worked up to it by training over time and competing in other triathlons"People often ask Lane about her training routine and how they can participate in such a demanding sport. "I tell them all you have to do is start," she says. "I'd always wanted to do the Ironman and I just worked up to it by training over time and competing in other triathlons leading up to the event in Hawaii. You just have to get a training plan together and do it."
Asked which Ironman competitor she admires most, Lane doesn't hesitate: "Sister Madonna Buder," she says. Sister Madonna, a Catholic nun from Spokane, Wash., finished the competition in 16:59:03 - just under the 17-hour time limit and midnight cutoff. In the past 25 years, she has competed in 200 triathlons and 13 Ironman events.
By the way, Sister Madonna is 75 years old and now holds the record for the oldest person to ever complete an Ironman.
"Now that's something special," says Lane.