Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Iron Mom

If you know anything about me, you know I am a runner. I started about twenty years ago as a way to stay in shape and keep myself healthy. Heart disease runs in my family (from my mom’s side), so I want to stay in shape as best I can. I didn’t start running organized races until 2008 when I started running a few 5Ks. After my son Jonathan ran his first marathon in 2008, I began to consider trying to run longer races. I ran my first half marathon in 2009 and graduated to my first full marathon in 2011.

In 2011, a new half marathon started in Paducah called the Iron Mom. If I remember right, it was set up as a way to honor moms (it is generally run around Mothers Day) but then developed as a way to honor women in general. It raises money for a different charity each year. Jonathan has run this almost every year it has been in existence. I took my first shot at it in 2014. I remember it was really, really humid that year and I cramped up once I finished. I didn’t even run it the next year. I finally worked on my hydration skills and in 2016 ran it again and did much better.

I decided I would again try in 2017. I started my training after I ran the Indy Marathon in November. I was doing well and then caught “the crud” that many people I knew seemed to have over the winter and spring. It was the hardest cold I ever had to shake. I saw my doctor twice to make sure it didn’t develop into something more serious. I finally got rid of it with about a month to go to the Iron Mom. I didn’t even register til after that because I wasn’t sure if I could do it. But, I finally did and decided I could shoot for a 2:20.

Josh (our younger son) and his girlfriend Shelby would also be here Mother’s Day weekend. He decided at the last minute that he’d run the Iron Mom as well. So on Friday, I went and picked up all of our packets at the Convention Center. I went to bed early to be well rested. Josh and Shelby got in from Wisconsin late that night and I didn’t even notice.

I got up the next morning at 4:45, ate breakfast, and drank water. I went ahead on my own because I always get nervous before any races I run and want to get there really early. I parked in the Carson Center parking lot and walked over to Jefferson Street where the race would start. I found Jonathan and gave him his bib. I talked with several people (including my cousin Rusty) as I waited. I even ran into Dr. McCombs who had dropped his daughter off but wasn’t running – he had to work. Josh finally arrived and we got in the crowd to begin the race.

There was a pacer for 2:20 so I got together with that group. The race started and we were off. I felt really good. The weather was perfect for running – low 50s with low humidity. I did notice that our pacer was going out way too fast. She was running at about a 9:45 pace per mile, it should be about 10:40 for 2:20. So, I decided to hold back. I could keep her in sight but run my pace. The first few miles of the race are “flat and fast”. After that, you go through several of Paducah residential areas. The problem with this is there are multiple hills for that stretch. Finally, you reach Park Avenue and once you cross that, things flatten out again when hit Stuart Nelson Park. Then, you hit the Greenway Trail. For some reason, I always slow down there in the past. I don’t know if it’s fact that it’s dirt or what. So, I made a distinct effort to keep my pace. Then, you get to Noble Park and once you get through that, you have three miles left that are pretty much flat. I was still able to keep my pace and even passed a few people as I went along. I got to the last part where you go behind the floodwall and then through it to the finish. Josh was of course already there and cheering me on.

It was one of the best races I had ever run. I kept my pace the whole way and finished at 2:18! I felt fine afterwards. I found out Jonathan had finished THIRD overall (his best ever). Josh ran a 1:50 without even training for the half (2nd in his age group). And, there was my granddaughter Lucy waiting at the end! I grabbed some food to refuel and then we stayed around to watch Jonathan accept his third place trophy. Then, we headed en masse for our house. Forthman Foods was grilling so Donna and I stopped by there and got some grilled sandwiches (steak and pork chops). We spent the whole day just hanging out at our house. It was a wonderful time! The boys gave Donna a new rocking chair for Mother’s Day and she immediately took Lucy out to rock her. Finally, we walked up to see Donna’s mom and dad.

I can’t rest on my laurels for too long though. Jonathan and I are again running the marathon in Indianapolis in November. After a few days off, I start training for that….