Woodworth local completes half Ironman

Published: Oct. 8, 2021 at 11:46 PM CDT
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WOODWORTH, La. (KALB) - Lauren Callahan completed the St. Judes Ironman 70.3 in Memphis on October 2, 2021.

Callahan is a counselor by trade, but trains rigorously to compete in physical endurance challenges. Callahan, who had never competed in triathlon events before, registered for the half Ironman just four months prior to the race. The Ironman 70.3 is a triathlon that consists of a 1.2-mile swim, a 56-mile bike ride and a 13.1-mile run.

Only a month after registering for the event, Callahan had a bout with a COVID-19 infection that could have set her training back.

“My training completely changed up, and for a while, I looked at that as a big glitch in my training. I couldn’t really train to my full capacity because I was recovering from COVID. I saw it as a weakness,” said Callahan. “But really, I ended up spending that time training the best way I knew how, I wasn’t willing to give it up. I did a lot of mental training and spiritual training, as well as meditating.”

Also while Callahan was recovering, she studied and became a certified Level 1 USA Triathlon coach.

After recovering from COVID and continuing to train for the upcoming event, the time came for Callahan to head to Memphis to compete. After getting to Memphis, the nerves set in.

“The day before the event, I had a total melt-down. I looked at the course and I freaked out and thought I can’t do this,” said Callahan. “But, Saturday morning, a few hours before the event, that’s when that mental training and meditation really kicked in and I just knew I was going to finish, there was no question anymore. I just knew.”

Callahan completed the race, which is a monumental achievement for any endurance athlete.

“Honestly feel like next to childbirth, it’s one of the most epic experiences I’ve been through. Certainly, for me, it was a huge physical challenge but it felt epic. It felt awesome,” said Callahan.

She was also sure to credit her success to her family and friends saying, “everyone was super supportive, super encouraging, and every single time I passed a mile tracker, it was a good reminder that I had people back here cheering me on, I felt their support.”

Callahan said she will be recovering from the race for now, but will continue endurance training and plans to complete an ultra-marathon and a full Ironman triathlon.

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