Skip to main content

ASU director rocks the Ironman


December 10, 2010

Kate Rosier, director of the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law Indian Legal Program, recently finished the Ford Ironman Arizona, which consists of the triple threat of a 2.4 mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a full marathon, all in one day.

“It was brutal,” Rosier said. “Brutal.”

Rosier trained for a year, including four months of intense work just before the race, and lost 22 pounds in the process.

The race began at 7 a.m., with the 2.4 mile swim in Tempe Town Lake. After viewing video of previous events, Rosier strategically placed herself in the thinning ranks farthest from shore to avoid as much of the crowd as possible.

Still, with 2,500 swimmers in the water, she was bumped, pounded and pummeled by other competitors.

“It was intense, and the water was freezing, 61 degrees,” Rosier said.

She finished the loop from the Mill Avenue Bridge, past the Rural Road Bridge and back to Tempe Beach Park in two hours and nine minutes.

After jumping in a changing tent and trying to dry off, she tackled the second leg, which was the 112-mile bike ride. The course consisted of three loops from Mill Avenue out to the Salt River reservation on the Beeline Highway to Shea Boulevard in Fountain Hills and back.

“It rained on us, hailed on us and the winds were up to 30 miles an hour,” Rosier said.

The ride was much more difficult than Rosier had trained for, because the headwinds were so strong.

“It was hard to keep up your stamina, and I knew I was starting to push the deadline,” she said.

But Rosier was wearing her Sun Devil bike shirt, and the cheering from the crowd of “Go Devils” kept her pedaling. She finished after seven hours and 55 minutes. Total time at that point: 10 hours and four minutes.

Next up, the marathon – 26.2 miles of running, three loops of a figure eight around Tempe Town Lake, extending onto Curry Road.

“I ran the first three miles, and said, ‘I’m done. This is over,’ ” Rosier said. “I had 23 miles to go, but my body was too tired. I was starting to come down with a cold and I just didn’t think I would make it.

“One of my training buddies came up to me and said, ‘Kate, you’re never going to finish if you keep walking,’ and I said, ‘I don’t care, I’m just going to walk.’ She said, ‘Nope, we’re going to walk to the next light post, then run to the next, then walk, then run.’ And that’s what we did all the way to the end.”

It took six hours and 27 minutes, and Rosier crossed the finish line at 11:44, just 16 minutes before the Ironman organizers stop the race.

“If you don’t finish before midnight, you don’t get a finishing time, so you can’t say you finished the Ironman,” Rosier said.

Rosier was thrilled when they handed her the finisher’s T-shirt, hat and medal.

“I felt like a rock star, a total rock star,” she said. “I’m 40, overweight and I have two kids. I’m not supposed to be able to do that.

Her daughter, Tieyah, 7, and son, Cody, 5, were there when she finished the swim, but were in bed by the time she finished the run.

“The next morning, Tieyah came in at 6 a.m. and asked, ‘Did you do it?’ and I said, ‘Yes.’ She yelled ‘Hooray.’

“During the race, I said, ‘I’m never going to do this again, but once I finished, I thought, ‘I’ve got to do it again.’ I thought, ‘What if I were 10 pounds thinner and had more time to train, now that I know what to expect? I’ve got to try again.”

She’s looking at the Oceanside half- marathon in March as part of her training, and is helping a group of women train for the mini-Ironman in March. She hopes to do the Ford Ironman Arizona again in 2012.

Judy Nichols, judith.nichols@asu.edu
Office of Communications, College of Law
480-727-7895