The Iron Nun

The definitive rank of women in my life:

My wife

My mother

The Iron Nun (aka Madonna Buder)



I want to introduce you the bronze medal woman in my life: the Iron Nun.

She’s an 86 year old Ironman triathlete. If that doesn’t mean much or you think “that’s cute” let me break it down for you:

That’s a 2.4 miles swim followed by a 112 mile bike ride and then you close it out with a a casual marathon length run of 26.2 miles.

All in a row.

On the same day.

Without a break.

On 8/6 I did my first sprint triathlon (.5 mile swim, 12.4 ride, 3.14 run) in 1:30:36 and I felt like the coolest person alive.

I’m less than half of her age.

The Iron Nun makes me feel like a lazy bum.

Add to the 86 year old triathlete part that she’s a nun who has dedicated herself to the Gospel and well…you’ve got someone living what I like to call the Shema Life.

The Shema is an ancient Jewish prayer that says to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. It is a cornerstone prayer to their faith.

It has been my cornerstone prayer as well as I’ve journeyed these last 18 months through losing 60 pounds, the heartbreak of closing my church plant, trying to maintain a work/home life balance, and training for my first tri, and virtually every other area of my life.

I hope to spend more time here writing (especially now that everyone’s summer vacation is over) about the Shema Life, but let’s at least start with the Iron Nun who totally gets it.

Check out these amazing videos on the Iron Nun:

The first is an ad by Nike, yes, NIKE. Their company motto is “everyone’s an athlete” and Iron Nun makes a strong case for it.I love Nike again since listening to Phil Knight’s memoirs called “Shoe Dog” and the company is absolutely killing it with their Unlimited campaign.



This second video dives a little deeper into who she is and what she’s accomplished. Note the reference to the Shema with the line “harmonize body, soul and mind.”



I hope you find yourself as motivated as I do by her story! I think it’s time to go for a run!


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