COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho -

Mary Ford has trained for two Ironmans before, but never actually made it onto the course. She's hoping the third time's the charm this Sunday.

Her first attempt in 2009 was cut short during training because of a foot injury. With just three weeks to go until Coeur d'Alene Ironman 2013, she felt confident this would be her race. She put in a combined total of 38 weeks in training as she was approaching her second Ironman attempt.

"I went to bed woke up in some pain it wasn't too bad, at that time my daughter called and said okay mom my water just broke, meet me at Sacred Heart in about an hour," said Ford.

Thinking it was just sympathy pains for her daughter, Ford dismissed the thought something serious could be wrong. Before she knew it she was in the hospital, but not by her daughters side as she gave birth.

"They ended up having to take out my ascending colon and part of my small bowel," said Ford.

Ford spent nine days in the hospital, missing Ironman for the second time.

"I was devastated and I just couldn't believe it was happening because I was in the best shape of my life, I felt great," said Ford.

With support from her children and husband she knew she had to give it another shot.

"I just figured, third times a charm and that's going to be it," said Ford.

Ford feels even more confident going into the race than last year, and her bib number has something to do with her motivation to make it to the finish line.

"My bib number my husband told me is 1019. I was just feeling really blessed with that. My mom passed away on 1019 and she was probably my biggest fan so I'm just dedicating this race to her," said Ford.

"I'm going to cross that finish line and hear those words, 'Mary Ford, you are an Ironman!'"