Professor Places Third in "Hardest" Ironman

Author: Sue Pierman

Published Date: 9/25/2019

Categories: F1RST Magazine Faculty and Staff

Athletic Ability.

These are a few of the key characteristics necessary to become a pro-level triathlete. 
Lenny Ramsey possesses all of them.

Lenny Ramsey, Carroll University
Dr. Lenny Ramsey

On May 25, Dr. Lenny Ramsey, an assistant professor of physical therapy, finished third with a time of 10:10:48 in what’s been called the toughest Ironman race in the world: the Lanzarote in Spain. Ironman races consist of swimming, biking and running.

“It’s hilly and windy because it’s on an island, and that was not easy. The first day I got on the bike, it was bit of a shocker. I had trained inside here, and it was gusty winds of up to 50 to 60 mph. It took a couple days to settle in,
and it was pretty rough,” she said.

Luckily, Ramsey was well-prepared. “For Spain, I was in maximum training for over 25 hours a week. I plan out my week; I get up at 5 a.m., seven days a week, to get training in before work.” She maintains the same schedule on weekends to keep her sleep schedule consistent.

Ramsey, 33, began competing just five years ago, and this is her third season as a pro. A member of the #iracelikeagirl pro team, she is coached by QT2 Systems. Transitioning from amateur to professional triathlete meant setting new expectations.

“A lot of people in the sport are fairly Type A, but if you want to make it in the pro field and compete there, you have to accept the fact that you’re also going to lose,” Ramsey said. “As an amateur, I won races. When I went pro, I was at the bottom of the pack. All of a sudden, you’re not the fastest one out on the field, but I like the challenge. I try to stick in the top 10.”

Ramsey traveled to Spain 10 days early so she could accustom herself to the course, which included a 2.4-mile ocean swim, an 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile run.

Unfortunately, a hip injury has sidelined her for now, but she’s still flying high. “Spain was an amazing experience because I was hoping for a good result, but I was not expecting a top three. I was very happy with that performance. It’s the closest I’ve ever gotten to first place; I was only 10 minutes behind the winner.”

What does the future hold for her after that success?

She hopes to qualify for the world championship Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii, in 2020. But Ramsey, who grew up in the Netherlands and has a master’s and a Ph.D. in neuroscience—has no illusions about becoming a full-time pro athlete.

“It’s never been a priority to make it my living; I’m not worried about sponsorship,” she said. “I’m hoping if my hip holds together, to do this for another five years or so. One caveat is I need to enjoy it. It’s a hobby. I’m not doing it to make money, I’m doing it because I love it. Once that goes away, I’ll stop.” 

How do you train for an Ironman?

Lenny Ramsey put in 25 hours a week leading up to her third-place finish in the Lanzarote Ironman in Spain. Here's her typical training regimen:

Mon.:Swim 3,000-5,000 yards
Tue.:Swim 3,500 yards
Wed.:Swim 3,000-5,000 yards
Thr..:Swim 3,500 yards
Fri.:Swim 3,000-5,000 yards
Sat.:Swim 3,500 yards
Sun..:Swim 3,000 yards
Mon.:Bike 25 miles
Tue.:Bike 40-60 miles
Wed.:Bike 25 miles
Thr..:Bike 40-60 miles
Fri.:Bike 25 miles
Sat.:Bike 100-140 miles
Sun..:Bike 25 miles
Mon.:Run three miles
Tue.:Run 6-10 miles
Wed.:Run three miles
Thr..:Run 6-10 miles
Fri.:Run three miles
Sat.:Run 6-8 miles
Sun.:Run 13-20 miles

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