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Petty pedaling to fit in Ironman goal

Petty pedaling to fit in Ironman goal
Petty pedaling to fit in Ironman goal
Lauren Petty of Lanesville is set to embark on the challenges of competing in Ironman Louisville in October. Balancing family life and a full-time job, Petty works in training hours at various times of the day. Submitted photos

Adrenaline has long been part of Lauren Petty’s life.
Rock climbing? Done it.
Snowboarding? Yes.
Tae kwon do? That too.
Running? Since she was young.
In the wake of the birth of two boys, Gage and Ryder, their mom stumbled upon life’s next adventure at an all-too-familiar place for Americans: the television.
‘After having my second son, I was sitting in front of the television, clich’, I know, but I started to think seriously about exercising,’ Petty said. ‘I was stuffing my face with a lovely scoop of cookie dough, too. The kids weren’t home, and I was flipping through the channels and stopped at the highlights from the 2013 Ironman.’
At that moment, Petty started thinking.
‘This is pretty intense, but I can do this,’ she recalled saying to herself.
This was no couch-to-5k idea. It was an idea of undertaking a goal of completing 140.6 miles of grueling mental and physical challenges.
‘I slowly put the cookie dough down and made some decisions right there,’ Petty said. ‘I’ve always been a runner and really athletic, so I talked to my husband and explained what I wanted to do.’
Her husband Sean’s response?
‘I was nuts,’ she said.
That decision was two years ago and now her sons, ages 5 (Gage) and 2 (Ryder), are up for cheering wildly and supporting their mom.
Family is one of Petty’s big motivators.
With a full-time job and raising a family, there have been challenges, particularly in scheduling time to fit in workouts. Giving up time to work out is often an excuse for many.
‘A lot of moms and dads out there don’t understand that it’s not only a sacrifice, but you are bettering yourself,’ Petty, 25, said. ‘You have to take that first step to exercise. That’s the hardest part. You think you’ll lose family time, but you really aren’t. Two years ago, I couldn’t keep up with my kids. Now, my kids can’t keep up with me. It’s great to be active.’
Around her Lanesville home and Kid’s First Pediatrics in Corydon, her place of employment, Petty has probably been passed by plenty of Harrison County residents. She’s usually on her bike or with her feet to the pavement.
During an hour-long lunch break at Kid’s First, Petty maxes out her time by lacing up her shoes for a run. She’ll loop the parking lots or head around town to fit in approximately five miles. Due to Kid’s First partnership with Harrison County Hospital, utilizing the fitness center at the medical center to ride a stationary bike is another workout option.
One of Petty’s favorites is being with nature and the road on days she pedals to work.
‘The ride coming down Corydon Ridge is pretty, especially in the morning,’ she said. ‘It’s gorgeous. You can see everything waking up with a nice sunrise.’
The 19-mile journey to work is just a taste of the 112-mile grind required on a bike to become an Ironman. Prior to jumping on the saddle, athletes must tackle 2.4 miles swimming in the Ohio River. Capping the event is running a full 26.2 mile marathon.
‘Making that commitment and sacrifice is hard,’ Petty said. ‘There are some days I want to go home and collapse. I can’t because I’m driven by my family and kids.’
Since 2007, Louisville has hosted Ironman Louisville, offering an urban setting for the athletes. Typically held in the peak of summer heat, the 2015 Ironman was moved to a more fall-like date of Oct. 11.
The work is being put in through an Ironman beginner’s training guide.
Five days a week, Petty is training, combining two of the three disciplines ‘ swim, bike and run ‘ to the workout. Intensity of the workouts will increase as the date creeps closer, along with adding another training day.
Swim training takes place at YMCA of Southern Indiana’s New Albany location. How does Petty get there? Running. A home stationary bike is part of training as well.
‘It’s whatever I can get in with the kids and work. It’s hard being a mom these days,’ the peppy Petty said.
The support system is evident with her active children.
‘When I start off my late evening runs, my kids are my little pit crew,’ Petty said. ‘Gage gets so excited. He gets Mommy’s water ready and tells me, ‘Go have a good run, Mommy,’ and I take off. When I come back, he asks if I had a great workout and keeps bringing me water.’
The youngest son, Ryder, is a little more in-your-face than his sibling. ‘Are you all right, Mommy?,’ is his typical approach when Petty returns home.
Sean, her husband who also works full time, has been a little apprehensive about the decision to give the Ironman a go. Previously, Petty worked for University Hospital in Louisville and cared for patients suffering after the Ironman.
‘Patients were totally dehydrated,’ Petty said. ‘He doesn’t want that to happen to me.’
To compete in the Ironman, Petty joined the Team Ironman Foundation to help gain entry. Each athlete is given a minimum goal of raising $3,000 for the charity that takes profits and donates back to the community. (Donations can be made online at
‘Part goes to schools, local food drives, community park projects and different awesome things,’ Petty said. ‘Nothing goes back to me. It’s my ticket in.’
The decision two years ago has not only paid off for Petty, but also for those around her. Motivated to run during lunch has caught the eye of co-workers.
‘Some of the girls have changed their lifestyles,’ Petty said. ‘They’ve cut out sodas and switched to water. Some started walking. They are thinking about different ways to become physically healthier. You don’t have to go out and run five miles per day to be healthy. It feels good to motivate others.’
Community support is there as well. Working with children, Petty often is passed on the road by parents and their kids. They’ll often wave out the window.
‘They don’t know me personally, but that little bit of support is so cool,’ she said. ‘It keeps me going.’
Training alone offers some challenges but also allows for alone time. Recently, Petty was so zoned out, focused on thoughts and training, that she missed seeing her husband pass by in his vehicle.
‘You get lost in the moment, and I love it,’ she said.
Come that October day, the Louisville course will feature a biking route east through Oldham County, Ky., then a running route toward historic Churchill Downs and the University of Louisville campus.
Petty knows where the finish is: Fourth Street Live. She was there last year as a spectator. It’s also her goal for the 2015 edition.
‘It’s the finish, walking across that little pedestal and hearing them say, ‘You are an Ironman.’ That is the pinnacle in my opinion. That’s the moment I’ve been sacrificing for. I want to hear that, then all the weight, pressure and stress will instantly be gone,’ she said. ‘It’s going to help when family and smiling faces will be there cheering me on. It’ll be great when they are at the finish line waiting for me.’