Ask an Ironwoman: Jane (Dahle) Bowen
by Alysa Fratto (’14)
With the coming of a new year I, like so many other people, find myself setting lofty goals of fitness and well-being that usually last until someone leaves leftover donuts in the break room. Which is why I am so inspired by nursing alumna Jane (Dahle) Bowen (’14). Not only is she an Emergency Department nurse in Las Vegas, she is also attending graduate school at Georgetown University to become a women’s health nurse practitioner and certified nurse midwife, and she has completed two full-distance and two half Ironman races—in spite of health challenges.
What is Ironman?
“An Ironman is a triathlon that is made up of a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride, and 26.2-mile run.”
What inspired you to compete for the first time?
“My sister’s husband was doing a full Ironman in 2016. I remember thinking to myself how he must possess certain talents that I would never have. I have an aggressive, vision robbing, autoimmune disease that requires countless injections into my eyes, multiple surgeries, and immunosuppression therapy. I also broke my hip and had a total hip replacement when I was 20. Fast-forward to 2017, and my big sister signed up for a half Ironman. I decided to take a chance on myself and I signed up with her. That half Ironman changed the trajectory of my life.”
How do you train for such a physically demanding race?
“My training schedule is made up of a hefty amount of swimming, biking, running, and weight training. I typically train 14–22 hours per week and fit it in whenever I can. On the days I work, I train at 4:30 a.m., work a 13-hour ER shift, and then will sometimes go back to training at 8:00 p.m. On my school days, I will do about 2 hours of training before class then 3 hours after class. The weekends allow me the opportunity to unleash with some long and intense training days when I am not studying.”
How on earth do you stay motivated to accomplish all of these things?
“Everything I am doing is my choice. I am choosing to work, attend school, and be an Ironman because it is empowering to me. It gives me self-confidence and a great sense of purpose. I think when you have had the health problems that I have you learn to be incredibly grateful for the days that you are healthy enough to conquer all of your dreams. I have been faced with many days that I couldn’t walk, couldn’t see, and was incapable of doing things that I wanted to do. For years I believed people and medical providers when they told me I would never be able to run again. I aspired to fiercely pursue all of my dreams and maximize every healthy day I get.”
What advice do you have for someone looking to compete for the first time?
“My advice to those wanting to compete is that you are capable of being an Ironman if you are willing to work hard. Ironman athletes are not super-human people that possess special gifts, they are normal people that have an intense drive and know how to work hard. Ironman will change your life and make you believe in yourself in a way that you didn’t think possible. We are so often inspired by those around us. This race will make you be inspired by yourself.”
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The Westminster Review is Westminster College’s bi-annual alumni magazine that is distributed to alumni and community members. Each issue aims to keep alumni updated on campus current events and highlights the accomplishments of current students, professors, and Westminster alum.