As it approaches the end of the year, I’ve decided to offer my suggestion for the 2009 BAMF award. The BAMF acronym is Bad Ass Mother F#@$&* and denotes someone who’s very tough and accomplishes something significant in the face of great obstacles.
My recommendation goes for Maria Ladd, a local triathlete I’ve met through my Masters swim team. Maria is a high school English teacher. By all appearances she’s your standard high school teacher. She’s quiet and somewhat soft spoken. But, her personal fortitude seems to speak for itself.
Maria just recently completed Ironman Arizona and in so doing, improved her personal best time by 50 minutes. She raced a full schedule this season that included Boulder 5430 long-course—she ran 5 minutes faster than me--and the Elephant Man triathlon and others races I’m not aware of. Her big goal was to qualify for Kona at IronMan Arizona, which is really challenging because the race occurs the third week of November. Having a full-year of racing that ends toward the end of November is really hard because of mental and physical fatigue and inclement weather. Winter struck hard a month before the race, yet she soldiered through and kept her training program. Two weeks before IronMan Arizona, she was running on a public trail with a group and was attacked by an unharnessed dog. The dog left its mark in the middle of her thigh. For many this may have been the nail in the coffin for the season…not for her. She seemed unphased and trained through. On race day, Maria let her legs do the talking and shaved significant time off her prior personal best time. By last year’s IronMan standards, she would have won her age category and got the golden ticket to Kona. Last year she finished in third place and there are only two Kona slots allocated to her age category. This year, with a dramatically faster time, she ended up seventh. The top three positions were completed in times akin to the 35-39 Male age group category.
Not one to wallow in self-pity, Maria was back swimming at Masters three days after Ironman Arizona. The following weekend, she ran the local Thanksgiving 5k Turkey Trot and was the 2nd place overall female finisher. Now that’s BAMF!