Made of Iron – The Making of an Iron Woman

The IRONMAN is arguably the toughest competitive athletic event in the world. It takes the toughest events to do in and of itself in one day and combines it with yet another day’s toughest event. THEN, throws one more in just for good measure! The IRONMAN is a 2.2 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride, and 26.2 mile marathon all IN ONE DAY. Having just seen the NYC Marathon, to FINISH a marathon is a feat all its own! BUT, having to finish and finish as quickly as possible after a swim and a bike? That takes one strong man. Or in this case, one AMAZING woman.

Pamela Maino is one such woman. I’ve had the privilege of personally training Pam in the past and she is one tough customer. You could not imagine how physically indestructible and mentally focused an IRONMAN (or in our case, an IRONWOMAN) is until you’ve worked with one.

Pam explained to me how she was heavy all her life. A full-time working mother of two athletes and wife to a devoted husband, one would never believe that there was a point in life that this vibrant 41 year old woman was not on top of matters. Only 4 weeks after her second child was born, Pam was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, a crippling neurological disease. Only 28 years old at the time, Pam ballooned up to 200 pounds and

her health became seriously compromised. Being a nurse by training, she

finally decided that enough was enough and took to exercising. An evolution that eventually birthed an IRONMAN; Passing an IRONMAN in a marathon some years later focused Pam’s mind, “An IRONMAN I can become,”

she thought.

That was 37 Marathons, quite a few mini tri-athalons, 2 World Championship IRONMAN’s, and 3 IRONMAN’s ago. People laughed. There are always skeptics and now those skeptics are believers. Competing in the 40-44 year old class, Pam has finished 2nd in her age in Brazil, 4th out of 130 in her age at yet another, has finished in the top 5% in another, and no where below the top 1/3 of any.

Training for an IRONMAN is simple. In fact, you can join Pam any day you like. But first ask yourself, “Am I ready to train 7 DAYS A WEEK? Am I ready to bike 200 – 250 miles a week? Am I willing to spend approximately

12-15% of my waking hours training? Can I fit the 4 hours per week of

swimming in? How about the 9 hours of biking or 5 hours of running? What about the additional cross-training in the gym? What about seeing my family? What about my full time job?”

Well, don’t complain to Pam because that’s what it takes. She gets it all in AND manages to turn in a 6-7 hour completion time for the bike-ride in the IRONMAN and a 3 and a Half hour Marathon (an accomplishment for a marathoner doing ONLY a marathon). “You’ve got to dig deep and want it every minute,” she says. “You need to stay focused every minute of IRONMAN. You’ve really got to want it more than you’ve wanted anything.”

Oh, by the way, did I mention Pam is 41 and has Multiple Sclerosis?