Not many people complete an Ironman competition. The grueling and physically demanding triathlon isn’t for the faint of heart. But for White Plains resident Jason Rosen, it was a challenge he completed as a result of a bet with a friend.
Two years ago, Rosen was living in Israel. There, he participated in the Tel Aviv half marathon. Not long after, he was talking about the experience at a friend’s house, and a guest brought up the idea of the Ironman, challenging him with an offer of $5,000 to complete it.
Rosen initially dismissed the idea, but when he realized that $5,000 could go toward charity, he decided to run with it. He had two years to fulfill his obligation and to beat a record of 12 hours and 54 minutes, a number that amounted to 778 minutes and is divisible by 18, the number for chai.
After committing himself to the event, Rosen decided to tell all his friends to support him, announcing that he will participate in the race in Boulder, Colorado, near his hometown of Denver, and the money would go toward Leket Israel, Israel’s National food bank, a cause that he became familiar with when he resided in Israel.
Instituted in 1977, there are dozens of Ironman events held annually, but only the fittest of the fittest participate. After all, it is a 17-hour event with a 2.4 mile swim, then a 112-mile bike ride, followed by a 26.2-mile marathon. Yet Rosen continued, completing the race in 12 hours and 46 minutes.
The training regimen was a very involved one, which included mental and physical preparation. In the thirty weeks of training, he would spend four of those days preparing for the event with one or two workouts per day. He would try to run and bike twice, and then swim (usually indoors) wherever possible. His bike rides were done indoors with the aid of a computer program that gave him an experience that is likened to a spinning class, showing him the exertion he put forth and the time spent. When he ran, he would do it outdoors, and the extreme winter temperatures didn’t faze him. As he grew closer to the event, he spent more and more time biking, running, or swimming.
Three weeks before the event is when athletes need to stop, a process known as the “taper.” This is when the body is prepared for the “ultimate exertion.” As Rosen describes, “You’ve morphed. Your heart rate is lower, and the endurance that you’ve accumulated is huge. You won’t lose the level of conditioning in three weeks, so the idea is to save your muscle mass and strength for the real event.”
It worked. With more than four hours to spare, Rosen became an Ironman, successfully completing the race within the allotted time.
“Participating in the Ironman was an athletic pursuit of a lifetime for me,” Rosen said. “I learned how to push myself beyond limits I never believed I could. I am incredibly honored to have accomplished this goal while raising money for such a worthy cause as Leket, which made the entire experience that much more gratifying.”
by Tamar Weinberg
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