Second, I was looking for something flat. Flat should equal fast, right?
Third, it had to be close. I was working as a substitute teacher, and while I can take time off without being punished, I really enjoyed my job and we kind of need the money for our upcoming move to Boston. So nothing TOO terribly far. The closer the better.
I searched the internet and found Paducah's Iron Mom Half-Marathon. It fit all of the criteria, as well as falling after the CMM (which Joel was running) and the yard sale that we were having the first weekend in May. Even though I am in my mid-30s, my parents still don't like me driving by myself, so my Mom volunteered herself to drive me there and stay the night with me. The bonus was I would have someone to drive me home after running for over two and half hours.
I registered for the race, made the hotel reservation, and had my mom join me for the trip after our day at school. (Fitting, right, since the race was held the day before Mother's Day?) But it was not a race that I would like to remember. At.all. At the start of the race, it was already 72-degrees with what felt like a gazillion percent humidity. Seriously, at one point, probably around mile marker 9, I wanted to cry. I was alone, no one to cheer me on, and felt defeated by this race. Why, oh why, should I continue with this race? Oh....right. I PAID to do this. So I drank some water, sucked it up, and a runner reminded me at the ten mile marker, "Only a 5K left!!" Running is such a mental game, I kept reminding myself that surely I can run 3.1 miles. I do longer runs during the week than a little ol' 5K.
My first half marathon was also my worst up to this point. At 2:44:01, I set that as the "I don't want to see a time larger than that" barrier. Bummer, because I broke it on this race. The 2:44 rolled past on my watch, and I thought "Ok, make it within this minute, and it will be ok". But then 2:45 popped up. At that point, I strive to beat the time within 15 second increments. But I FINALLY made it over that finish line at 2:45:28. I was not happy at all, but my mom was there at the finish line cheering me on like all mom's tend to do. She stayed with me while I downed chocolate milk, bananas and a hot dog. She didn't laugh as I soaked my feet in a ice filled cooler on the way home. And she reminded me that I finished about half way in the pack of racers. Definitely what I needed to hear.
No pictures from any point in this race. At that time, it was certainly not something I wanted to remember. But I marked "Kentucky" off the list of states to run. Two states done, forty eight more to do.
|Cute medal for finishing|