Three Luther sales leaders completed the Thomas Cook Ironman 70.3 Mallorca race in Spain this summer, running over the finish line together with an American flag flowing freely in their wake.
Hopkins Honda New Car Manager Heidi Colby said it felt like the Olympics, with people from all over the world- Wales, Germany, Spain, and Brazil, she said. Colby met up with her Luther compatriots, Debbie Tufts and Angie Langsdorf, with about four miles to go. Tufts is a new car manager at Rudy Luther’s Toyota and Langsdorf is general sales manager at Brookdale Chevrolet.
“The three of us cheered each other on, to the finish line, it was so cool, it gives you goosebumps, an emotional moment, that’s for sure,” Colby said. The unplanned meet-up was remarkable when considering the half Ironman’s maze of 2,500 competitors. Only 400 were women and the U.S. had just 250 people in the race. It was a 1.18 mile swim, followed by a 56-mile bike ride and 13.11 mile run, for 70.3 miles in total.
Training for five months before the race, Colby joined the others after watching them compete in a 2010 Ironman in Madison, Wis. To prep for Spain, they trained together on “Super Thursdays,” with four hour bike rides and 8-mile runs. Colby’s fitness background is in biking and running, while Langsdorf shines brightest in swimming and Tufts in bicycling.
Race day temperatures were in the 80s, as the women swam in the Mediterranean Sea, climbed mountains and ran along sandy beaches. The biking portion was the most harrowing, said Langsdorf. It began with a 10-mile narrow, winding hill climb with mountains on one side and cliffs on the other. Then the downhill, a super technical 40 mph drop with 90-degree switchbacks.
Much of it is the ability to be comfortable with being extremely uncomfortable, Langsdorf explained. Physical, mental and emotional discomfort can lead many younger competitors to give up, she said. Coincidentally, the most competitive Ironman age category is 40 to 44 and two from Luther were in that group. Tufts said the required commitment drove her. “That’s how I function, why I sign up … I would never not finish something I’m committed to.”
There was encouragement along the way, as men from other countries with their hollow sounding bike wheels raced up behind them. Noticing their United States jerseys, they would shout, “Go terminator ladies you’re an animal, an animal,” said Tufts. Through all the discomfort, Tufts said she knew her body could do it. The hardest part is convincing the brain, she said.