Up to the challenge: Roseman completes Ironman triathlon
By Susan Shinn
Pam Roseman considers herself just your average wife and working mother.
But underneath her pleasant, soft-spoken exterior beats the heart of an Ironman.
Who trains with Little Debbie snack cakes, no less.
Pam, who turns 40 this year, completed her first Ironman competition this summer in Idaho.
“It was the best time of my life,” she says. “It was one of the most memorable days I’ve ever had.”
The Ironman series offers worldwide qualifying events for the world championships in Hawaii each year. Only a handful are held in the United States.
The Ironman triathlon is comprised of a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile marathon.
Pam finished the event in 15 hours, 10 minutes.
Pretty good for an average wife and mom, wouldn’t you say?
“I have always been a runner,” says Pam, who’s a physical therapist with Rowan Regional Medical Center’s Home Health.
Then a friend introduced her to biking.
“It seemed so fun and natural that I combined the two for a duathlon,” she says. “Then I thought, well if that so much fun, why not try a triathlon?”
Pam took a beginning swim course at the Hurley Family YMCA to hone her freestyle stroke.
“It led to open-water swimming,” she says. “Then I put all the components together and did my first sprint triathlon, and I was hooked.”
She then turned to Eddie Frye of the South Rowan YMCA to set up a training regimen for the Ironman. Frye has completed five Ironman competitions, so he knew what she needed to do.
Pam decided that the The Ironman would be the perfect fit for her.
“I’m so competitive,” she explains. “If I was going to do it, I wanted to be as challenged as I could.”
She and her husband, Dan, and their son, Alden, decided to combine the trip to Idaho as part of a family vacation out West. Dan has family in Montana.
“They choose beautiful locations,” Pam says of Ironman events. “I knew we would be able to enjoy the scenery.”
But for Pam, it was more than just your average family vacation.
“To celebrate my 40th birthday,” she says. “I wanted to do a big, physically challenging event.”
She got just that.
She started training in January 2007 for the Idaho Ironman on June 22, 2008.
“You have to plan,” she says. “You have to register a year in advance. They’re sold out in an hour.”
Once she registered, she began her workouts.
Pam says Eddie was a “fantastic” coach. He provided accountability for her.
Pam would work out six days a week, twice a day, with a combination of strength training, running, swimming and biking.
“I was up every morning at 4:30 a.m.,” Pam says. She’d work out, see her patients, then train in the afternoons before heading home.
“She’s just a super girl to work with,” Eddie says. “She set a goal and she pretty much followed everything.”
Eddie watched Pam’s finish via Internet.
“I’ve never seen anyone to have as big a smile on her face,” her coach says.
“I’m a full-time mother, worker, wife and active in church,” Pam says. “I was curious if a regular athlete could accomplish all this.”
She adds, “I couldn’t have done it without that family support.”
Dan helped with housework and got Alden back and forth to school. Alden counted push-ups and sit-ups for his mom.
All told, Pam trained for 20 hours a week.
“It was like a part-time job,” she says.
Interestingly enough, while she didn’t lose weight, she dropped 10 points in body fat, from 25 percent to 15 percent.
“I gained lean muscle mass,” she says proudly.
She lost one size.
She ate lots of carbs, proteins, fruits and vegetables, while cutting out simple sugars and junk food in general.
“I just ate lots of small meals all the time,” she says.
Now about those snack cakes. Pam figured that out. She wasn’t interested in GU or power bars, but she did find that Little Debbie strawberry shortcake rolls provided her with the energy she needed on those 100-mile bike rides.
For three weeks at a time, Pam went through progressively more intense workouts, with a lower intensity on the fourth week so that her body could recover.It must’ve worked well, because she never had an injury.”It was always so enjoyable,” she says. “I loved it.”
She was careful, she admits. “I never hit the fall. It was so wonderful to work toward accomplishing that dream of being an Ironman.”
Pam’s not a bit offended at the male-oriented name.
“I wanted that title,” she says.
The daily grind
Pam Roseman says that the grind of daily training prepared her mentally for the race.
iWhen I did those 100-mile bike runs, I knew, this is how Iím going to feel. I wanted to push myself where I had never been.î
Coach Eddie Frye told her, iIf you make it through the training, you will finish.î
She used visual imagery to picture herself at different points of the competition.
The mental toughness, she says, is a ihuge componentî of the Ironman competition.
iYou have to think positively and visualize yourself at the finish line,î she says.
When you push yourself to such extremes, Pam says, you ifind out what kind of character youíre made of.î
So what did she find out?
iIím pretty happy with myself,î she says. iI could take a challenge and work through it in a positive manner.î
What she learned can best be summed up with the Bible verse, Phillipians 4:13, iI can do all things in him who strengthens me.î
ó Susan Shinn