By Phil Dailey
Lina Ramos wasn’t much of a swimmer three years ago, but you wouldn’t know if you saw her in the water today.
Earlier this month, Ramos not only finished another grueling Ironman triathlon, but this time, she was on the podium, placing third in her division at the event in Zurich, Switzerland.
Not bad considering 2.4 miles of the race was a swim.
It was only her third Ironman and even she was a bit surprised at her performance.
“It was amazing, it was really intense,” Ramos said.
For anyone who is unfamiliar with an Ironman race, it consists of a swim (2.4 miles), a bike ride (112 miles) and a run (26.2 miles).
Grueling may be an understatement, especially when it comes to the race in Zurich where the bike ride included ascents to nearly 10,000 feet above sea level.
For Ramos, though, competing in an Ironman, or an Ironman 70.3 (the shorter version), is not only a race, but a way to live a healthy, fulfilling lifestyle.
“I want athletics to be a lifestyle for our children,” Ramos said. “I wanted them to grow up naturally fit because of their lifestyle. Children emulate what they see and training and food nutrition for performance in our family is a lifestyle.”
Ramos, along with her husband Kaare Holm, are raising two boys and one daughter here in La Jolla. Their oldest, Steffen, a soon-to-be senior at The Bishop’s School, is the founder of the school’s triathlon club.
Though Ramos may have been a bit surprised that she was able to finish in the top 3 of her division, it’s not as if she just started to compete in endurance-type events.
“Everyone who does an Ironman comes from something (athletically),” she said. “I came in as a runner. After doing a few marathons the one thing I realized is you can’t do the same thing over and over again so I decided to cross train.”
From there she started spinning and then the obvious progression for her was to try a triathlon.
But not really knowing how to swim, that was a hurdle she would have to get over. Before knowing how to swim, Ramos signed up for a triathlon anyway, knowing if she wanted to do it, she would have to force herself to learn to swim.
“My first race, I didn’t even know I would it make it through the swim,” she said.
But she did, and though swimming is not her forte, it’s hasn’t handicapped her from the rest of the pack.
“The question or not of whether or not I could be good depended on how hard was I going to work,” Ramos said.
Not only did she place third in Zurich, she also placed third in an Ironman 70.3 earlier this year, an event that was held in Lawrence, Kan. With that top 3 finish, Ramos qualified for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships which will be held in Las Vegas on Sept. 9.
Ramos’s ultimate goal, however, is to make it to the Ironman World Championships, which take place in Kona, Hawaii.
To qualify for the Ironman in Kona, you must win one of the 28 Ironman’s that take place each year all around the world.
“For that to happen, the moon, the sun and the stars would have to align,” Ramos said.