By Ashley Choquette
On Sunday in Coeur d Alene, Idaho, Ozzie Rosenleaf will be conquering endurance athlete’s ultimate feat, The Iron Man Triathlon. For those who don’t know about the Iron Man, it is a long-distance triathlon consisting of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bicycle ride and a marathon (26.2 miles) raced in that order and with only a transitional period.
Ozzie Rosenleaf began running in 2003. He had recently quit drinking and needed something to replace it. So, being the compulsive type, he put his heart and soul into the insane sport. And, with his extraordinary capacity for hard work, in 2004, he ran his first marathon in Mesa Falls, Idaho.
Running is the type of sport that becomes extremely addicting once you get past that initial “hump.” Ozzie, well, he is definitely what you would call an addict. I tell Ozzie all the time that he is super human, and that not many people can train like him and escape injury. Of course, he begs to differ with me.
In 2007, Ozzie decided to make it a goal of his to run a marathon in all 50 States. He has ran a total of 22 marathons in 17 different States which include Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Minnesota Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Utah, South Dakota, Washington and Wyoming.
Last year we were out on a Tuesday night run, and remember him telling me that he was signing up for the Iron Man in Idaho.
My immediate response, “What the hell! Have you even competed in a sprint triathlon?”
His response to my response, “No.”
Turning forty to most consist of a surprise party with great friends and family. Typically some black balloons and a giant cake or preferably cupcakes from sugar (Mmmmm) would suffice. Ummmmm…yeah, not for Oz. He decided that since he would be turning forty, an Iron Man would be a great way of celebrating it.
Since June 25, 2012, Oz has been training, mainly building a base. His crucial training began in January of this year just shortly after his Disney World Goofy Challenge. What is the Goofy Challenge? It’s where you run 39.3 miles in two days. On the first day, Oz ran the half marathon with his daughter Joby, and then Marathon the very next day.
Since then, Oz has been training for the Iron Man daily and religiously. He is currently swimming over 2 miles, running (of course), and has biked from Bozeman to Butte. Ozzie stated that training is overwhelming at times, but has made him a fitter athlete and faster runner.
Being the fantastic peep I am, I’m constantly asking Oz how he is doing and if he feels ready. He reports that he is feeling well and is ready physically, but the tapering over the past couple weeks is somewhat mentally defeating.
Ozzie is rare breed. He has a strong, yet sensible mind that never ponders failure, only contemplates prevailing. He never settles for anything ordinary and demands 110 percent from himself. You will see him training during the day, night, rain, sleet, snow, wind and in below zero weather. To Ozzie, limits are only words or numbers, and nothing more. His philosophy, “If you’re not willing to risk the unusual, then settle for the ordinary.”
On Sunday, Ozzie will be able to say that he is officially an Iron Man.