Tonawanda News

July 26, 2013

NT native Stevenson ready for Ironman

By Joe Konze
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — Jacquelyn Stevenson’s workout regimen would put most to shame.

Running, biking or swimming, each week holds a different encounter that she attacks with grit, building her strength and endurance. 

With each day comes a task that she is concentrated and focused on completing, but her motivation comes from the thought of knowing she is one step closer to conquering a mammoth objective on her bucket list: completing an Ironman.

Stevenson, a North Tonawanda native currently residing in Scranton, Pa., is ready to take part in one of the toughest courses the Ironman has to offer in Lake Placid, NY on Saturday. 

“This year I turned 30, so I figured what better of a year to do it,” Stevenson said. “It’s a challenge for me. I’m getting older and how do you continue to challenge yourself?”

Just a few years ago, after setting her sights on an Ironman competition, Stevenson had to overcome a small little hurdle: she didn’t know how to swim. With a background in running and her ability to ride a bike, she knew which area she needed to focus on in order to compete in a triathlon.

“I joined Team in Training. They fundraise for the leukemia and lymphoma society,” Stevenson said. “I fundraised for them and, as a result of that, I got a triathlon coach that taught me the basics of triathlon and good swim focus and strategy and how to plan out my stroke efficiently.”

Between her full-time job working in corporate audit as an engineer for a large defense contractor and other responsibilities, Stevenson planned her workout routines. 

Over the years, she took all three aspects — swimming, biking and running — and strengthened them, doing an Olympic distance triathlon and then a half Ironman distance in preparation for the full distance.

“In the beginning you’re building up your basic endurance,” she said. “You have a week that is very swim focused, a week that is very bike focused and week that is very run focused, and you’re still doing other workouts in that time. … Almost every day consists of two of the three areas. On the weekend you may be out on a ride for six and a half hours, followed by a run after that.”

Tomorrow Stevenson, along with a field of other hungry athletes, will take part in a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile run through and around the town of Lake Placid.

Her goal is to finish before the 17-hour cut off mark.

“In high school I did all the spring distances: the 100m, 100m relay, 100m hurdles,” Stevenson said. “I used to think the people that ran the 1-mile were absolutely crazy. And it’s so funny to me to think I’ve went from that to running a 26.2 mile marathon. And now I am going to do a 26.2 mile marathon and a 112-mile bike.” 

Athletes will enter the water at 6:30 a.m.