Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Our Run with the Iron Cowboy

On Saturday James Lawrence (The Iron Cowboy) finished his 50th Ironman distance marathon in 50 days. He did one in each state. People told him it was impossible. They told him he would die doing it.  But he didn't listen to them. He knew that he could push himself physically and mentally and he WOULD finish his 50/50/50 challenge.



Why did he do it? James is on a mission to raise awareness to a huge problem in the U.S: childhood obesity. This generations could be the first generation that the children are not expected to out live their parents. Let's say that again: This generation, (our kids) are not expected to live longer than their parents. That means that a lot of parents are expected to have to bury their kids.

Did you know that one soda a day can raise your chance of being obese by 60%? Clearly soda isn't the only problem here. People just don't eat the way we used to. I'm the first to admit that I don't eat great. And, like James, I don't aim for perfection in eating. There has to be some wiggle room somewhere. I still let my kids eat candy and drink juice, just not every day. Not all the time.

There's more to health than the food we eat. It's the amount of sitting we do.  You have to sit all day at work, running errands in the car, you get home and sit on the couch to relax at the end of a tired work day. Kids get home from sitting all day at school and want to sit and play video games all afternoon.  This is what bugs me the most.

Again, I'm not perfect, and there are days that I definitly have days that I'm lazy, tired and don't feel like doing a whole lot. But I try to get out at least 5 days a week and get myself moving for an hour a day.  This brings me back to The Iron Cowboy's finale.




Trev and I found out late in the 50/50/50 challenge that it was ok to actually run the entire marathon with James. Actually, you could do the whole Ironman with him if you wanted. Anyway, as soon as we found that out, we started working at it. We wanted to run his last marathon with him here in Utah. You may have seen my other posts about getting ready for it HERE and HERE.

We watched him day after day complete another Ironman. I wasn't ever shocked. I was one who knew he was someone who could do it. But was amazed at the amount of people who kept showing up to support him. It made me a little proud that I was helping spread the word through my blog and through facebook. And Trevon and I were excited to run with him and to show our support that way.

About a week before the finale, Trev hurt his ankle. I'd been worried a little about that because Trev isn't normally a long distance runner. I knew I'd be ok if I listened to my body, but I was a little nervous about him getting injured. I learned in high school that if you increase your milage too fast you can hurt yourself bad. I learned it from experience.

Trev stayed off of it for a week as much as possible. We wanted him to be able to run the whole thing too. But, by Friday night, it was still bugging him bad enough to say no to the whole marathon. He decided to get up and do part of the swim with James instead.



This picture is super grainy because the flash didn't go off properly and it had to be lightened up a ton. That and it's a phone camera. He did get another picture that's not so grainy but no one is looking at the camera. 


The swim sounded like it was good but hard. James had some major hard moments during it. The water was cold and it seemed like a couple of people got confused on where to go. But even through those hard moments, the Iron Cowboy kept pushing.  He finished the swim and moved on quickly to the bike. 

Trev and I took the girls to spend the day up at my grandparent's cabin after that, I'll talk about that outing more in a later post though. We got home around 2:30 pm, and Trev took a nap to rest up while I got ready for the run.


We got to the run a little early. I decided not to do the full or even half marathon because I didn't want to make Trev just sit around and wait. I also knew that he wanted to do it too and would feel bad if I left to do it anyway. 

We got our bib numbers, took a picture, and waited around for James to finish his final laps before the 5k started. There were so many people who showed up. 




 When James started his finale 5k, we all followed him out on the run. We did loops around Electric Park at Thanksgiving point.  It was slow going at first. Trev and I were in the very back of the line and there were a ton of people. We quickly weaved our way in and out until we got to the front of the pack.  That's where we stayed, right with James, the rest of the run.  Being that far up in front was really great because we got to talk to his daughter, who is one of the sweetest 12 (I think?) year olds I've ever met. You could tell she just adores her dad and she's so proud of what he's done. We told her that we think what she's done was pretty amazing too. She's run every 5k with her dad this whole journey.  They seem to have a really great relationship.



Trev and I were lucky enough to get a picture while we were running with him.  We tried to be really courteous and polite doing so. There were so many people just running up to him and snapping pictures with out asking, which I'm sure he's probably used to by now, but I felt that, that was a rude way to do things.  We asked if we could get a picture with him, and he was very willing to let us.




The bad thing about being so close to him, in the front, was that there were tons of people trying really hard to get right up there too. Pushing and shoving...come on guys, lets not be violent about it. That's not what this is about. 

When we got done with our final lap, James had his wingmen kindly ask everyone to go back to where the finish line was so that James could finish up with them and his daughter crossing the finish line alone. That is something Trev and I both thought was right. So we all headed back to watch him finish. 



Trev got it on video:


James, the wingmen, his daughters and his wife, Sunny, all took a minute to thank everyone for their support and to explain why they were doing this one more time.  They were able to raise $68,000 for the Jamie Oliver foundation.  His daughter sang their own version of the cups song. Then there was a big raffle.


During the raffle, we had to do this.




Trev locked the keys in the car so we had Lehi Police come open our door. They were so nice to do that. There are other utah police departments that will not open your door for you unless it's an emergency. So thank you, Lehi Police. You guys are awesome. And to other police officers in Utah County, you could learn a thing or two from these guys. 


By the time we got back the raffle was done, which wasn't a huge deal because we had already donated money and didn't have extra to put into the raffle anyway. But we got to talk to some of the other people around us.  There were so many really great people who ran, biked, or swam with James that day. 

We got to take one more picture with him. He really is one of the nicest people I've ever met. I don't know him personally, but I can tell you that he took the time to take picture after picture and sign autographs. But he also thanked every person who talked to him or asked him for a picture, personally.  He was genuine about it.



We got to talk to his wife as well. She's really sweet. We told her that she deserved a congratulations too because she had to sacrifice a lot for this cause. She said that it was going to be really great to have her husband back, that she hadn't really gotten to talk to him in 50 days.  But you could tell that she knew that the sacrifice would be worth it. 

This family was so humble and genuine. They were welcoming to everyone and they were grateful for the support they had.  


The Iron Cowboy might be done with this ride, but he's not stopping the journey here.  He plans to speak in schools and corporations about obesity and how to raise healthier kids.

This is a cause that I completely support.  I try to teach my kids through example about a healthy lifestyle. I try to get them outside to play every day instead of letting them veg out in front of the TV. We don't have video games in our house, we limit TV and we teach our kids how to have fun and use their imagination.  And hopefully, I can help this cause, even if it's only getting through to my own kids. Hopefully it will spread and people will make those changes.



What causes are you passionate about?


What changes have you tried to make to better your life?


2 comments:

  1. This is awesome! I love these types of races although I don't think I could make it through one. I'm trying to get back into running halfs after I got a stress fracture in my femur. Injuries stink! This is such a great cause and a wonderful experience. I hope I can do it some day.

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    1. Stress fractures suck! I'm sorry. I fractured my shin in high school so I know how that feels. I hope that heals up quick for you. Thanks for reading!

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