Faith Ireland isn't someone to mess with. When she isn't administering justice from the bench of the Washington State Supreme Court, Ireland is bench pressing 120 pounds, squat lifting 215 pounds and dead lifting 242 pounds. Earlier this year, she took top honors for her age group at the National Powerlifting Championship in Chicago.
As a result, Ireland--possibly with her eight fellow Supreme Court colleagues in tow to cheer her on--will travel to compete in the World's Masters Competition in Argentina.
What started as physical therapy for a back injury incurred in a car accident 15 years ago has become something of a "positive addiction." Ireland, 59, started competing three years ago. She entered the national championship in 2001, but was disqualified when she failed to make a clean squat lift. Since then, Ireland has not only met with success but made it her mission to promote fitness among her peers.
"Strength training is a fountain of youth," she says. "It helps you act younger, move younger and live younger. Fitness is contagious, and I want to spread the fever."
Ireland, who commutes two hours from Seattle to Olympia for work and still manages to squeeze in training sessions, credits powerlifting with giving her the stamina to withstand a stressful judicial schedule. "You have to be energetic and wide awake," she says of her job.
As Ireland prepares for the state competition this month, and the Worlds in October, her goal is to bench press her weight--132 pounds-- in competition. She's also hoping to use her position as a state supreme court justice to help powerlifting become an Olympic sport.