I’ve run lots of races in my life and one thing I can say for certain is that you never know what to expect.
It’s great to learn from past experience, but each race is a new puzzle for the runner to solve.
I signed up for the Iron Mom Half Marathon in Paducah, Kentucky, shortly after running my last full marathon in Washington State. I knew I’d need a goal once I got back home. Some source of inspiration to keep me training in the heat.
I recovered very quickly from the North Olympic Discovery Marathon and all was going well. Until I threw my back out while picking up my eight month old son (who is 25 pounds). I started taking it easy hoping the pain would disappear. That didn’t work.
At the recommendation of friends I found a great chiropractor who got me all fixed up. I was still sore but I could run.
Another Great Small Town Marathon
We got up early to leave for the race at 4:30am. It was quite the feat to mobilize and get three small children up and ready at that time. We arrived in time to pick up my race packet, use the bathroom a couple times, and get to the starting line. It was a small half marathon with around 750 runners. Just my size!
I felt pretty tight the first 4 miles. Plus, the weather was hot and humid. At mile 5 it started to cloud up and rain lightly. The course wound through historic parts of town and a beautiful park. There were some trail sections to break up the monotony of the pavement.
I had a great cheering section that kept popping up around the course. Trevor and the boys definitely brightened my run and it gave me a burst of energy each time I saw them.
I tried to stick with the 2 hour pace group during the race, but by mile 10 I could feel myself slipping behind. The pacer was at least 2 blocks in front of me and I wondered if I’d be able to pull off a sub-2 hour race. For the last three miles I had to continually give myself small pep talks. I decided that I would not let the 2 hour pacer out of sight.
My strategy was that of a fisherman—reel him in. Even my arm swing became part of the reeling motion. I was slowly able to close the gap. I pushed hard during the last mile and finished in 1:59:09. Just a few seconds to spare. It wouldn’t have been a tragedy to finish in over 2 hours, but I knew I was capable of better.
Riley’s First Race
After getting my medal and some post-race food we bustled off to the Fun run 1 mile race for kids. My 6 year old son was doing his first race. After some difficulty finding the starting line, we managed to get going. I decided that running 1 mile with Riley would be a great way to cool down.
Despite taking multiple walking breaks during his “training” runs, Riley managed to run the whole way. I kept encouraging him to run “slow and steady” and when he saw the finish line he ran full steam ahead. He is very proud of his medal and has been wearing it for the last 2 days.
Running Benefits the Whole Family
I have derived many benefits from running over the years. However, one of the greatest joys has been to set a healthy example for my kids. I would never force them to become runners. But I do want to model healthy eating and exercise as important parts of life–like bathing and brushing your teeth.
I’d love to hear how you seek to model a healthy lifestyle. It’s never too late to set a good example!
Paducah has a charming downtown that overlooks the Ohio River. William Clark (remember Lewis and Clark?) bought this area for $5.00 in 1827. He named it after Chief Paduke.
This was the first year for the Iron Mom Half Marathon. I hope they continue this race!
Riley (age 6) and Angie with their Iron Mom medals. Notice Riley’s front teeth are absent for this photo shoot.