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Cara Richardson, Business Intelligence Analyst for Juice Plus+, never thought she would one day complete an IronMan triathlon. Some people consider the long-distance triathlon as one of the most difficult one-day sporting events in the world.
During an IronMan, competitors first swim 2.4 miles, then bike 112 miles, and finish off the day with a 26.22-mile run — with no break. The race has a cutoff time for each event. If you complete the swim within two hours and 20 minutes, the bike ride in 8 hours and 10 minutes, and the marathon in 6 hours and 30 minutes, you are designated an IronMan (a name used to refer to both male and female finishers).
On November 4, 2017, Cara pulled off that hat trick at the IronMan Florida race, and now belongs to an elite club of IronMan finishers. She completed the race alongside her husband, who now has three IronMans under his belt.
Cara has enjoyed running for over a decade, but she had no interest in completing an IronMan, even when her husband decided to attempt one several years ago. But as such things go, he found a local group to train with, and the couple became friends with the folks in the group, and Cara started running with them. Before she knew it, they helped convince her that she could complete an IronMan. “I thought: why not?” Cara says. “Why not try?”
So last fall she began training in earnest. If you’ve never looked at an IronMan training calendar, a typical week includes about 15 hours of training. Every Saturday is 3-5 hours on the bike, and every Sunday is a 2-3-hour run.
For Cara, it was all about taking it day by day. Being a data analyst, she put her workouts into a spreadsheet so she always knew what she needed to do each day. “I just viewed it as: Anything that I skip or shorten, I’m only cheating myself,” Cara explains.
When asked if she ever thought about quitting, Cara gave a definitive “no.”
“There were times on the bike during the actual event where I thought, ‘my gosh, this is the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life,’” Cara says. “But I never considered quitting. You put so much time and effort and energy into something. Quitting would have been a waste of a year.”
In addition to her own effort, Cara credits the support of her husband, as well as her team at Juice Plus+.
“My whole corporate Juice Plus+ family was so incredibly supportive and encouraging,” Cara stresses. “It’s part of our corporate culture to encourage healthy living. I could not have maintained the training that I needed to maintain without the support of everybody here.”
Before the race, every IronMan competitor has a finish time they are shooting for. Cara had hoped to complete the triathlon in 15 hours, so she was frustrated by her finishing time of 16 hours, 15 minutes. But as her husband reminded her, “What do they call the very first person who crosses the line? They call them an IronMan. What do they call the very last person who crosses the line? They call them an IronMan."
We couldn’t agree more! Congratulations, Cara. You are an IronMan.