On Saturday I set off on my solo journey to the Johnstown Marathon in Johnstown, PA. Since I travel a decent amount I have prefected the snacks, clothing, and race gear I need to take with me. For this trip my luggage included: A pound Gummy Bears, Chewy Chocolate Chip cookies, 44 ounce fountain drink (Pepsi), some peanut butter crackers, oatmeal, race watch, singlet, shorts, 2 pair of racing shoes, among other items, and I had $16 dollars in cash. Now I am not bragging about my wealth, just stating how much I had with me. This seemed all fine and well until the toll road fees started adding up.
I took US 30 across Ohio to limit toll fees, and still ended up paying $8.70 on my trip to the race. Which double that, to account for the trip home, means I would need $17.40 for tolls. Once at the motel I counted all the change in the car only to be 36 cents short of the desired amount to drive the same way home.
After checking into the motel I continued through my prerace routine, time to go run for 50 minutes, even in the rain. During the run I kept my eyes fixated on the ground, hoping for 36 cents, but had the same result as when I was asking Melissa to date me during the first 3 years of our friendship. No luck, Nothing!!
That evening at the free pasta diner a great man told me he was inspired by my running. He claims I have motivated him and helped change his life. Really?? Me...maybe his ice tea was spiked, but his facts seemed accurate. He said he enjoys our blog and not long after this handed me a wad of cash. Now I never feel comfortable in situations like this, but have learned it is important to be a gracious giver and reciever. Hopefully this man learns that I gave some of that money to Stephen Velott who is doing an athletic event to raise money for cancer research, I used some for the returning tolls, and gave the rest to Melissa to purchase a picture frame to hang a wedding photo, it has been nearly 5 years of me telling her we cannot afford a frame.
Race day welcomed us with 38 degree temperatures, rain and snow mix, and the perfect wind for drying first cutting hay, but awful for running a marathon in. I started the race with mismatched gloves and 2 extra shirts. My strategy was to take these shirts off around mile 8, which is on a road I have to drive on to return home, hence I could retrive my shirts. As we approached this location I stated to the "lead" cop, he actually drove behind of beside me the entire race, my intentions of shedding my outer layers. He gladly offered to carry them on his motorcycle during the race. A few miles later I asked him, "Do you think we are going into a head wind?" He replied with, "I can't tell, I can't feel anything." He too was numb.
The cold rain and wind could have ruined my race but like I told the newspaper reporter, "The newspaper is going to print my results, you are not going to print my excuse." There were ample excuses a person could have used, one of which was a lack of energy gels. I typically ingest 3 to 5 GU gels during a marathon, but once my hands went numb I was no longer able to access the gels in the rear pocket of my shorts. I compensated by taking in more gatorade. The extra liquids coupled with cold and rain activated the bladder. My urge to pee intensified at mile 17. On a training run anywhere besides Berne, IN, Melissa's home town, I could have stopped and relieved myself by a tree.
Berne lacks trees due to greedy farmers knocking them down to farm a few more feet. Being in a race with the lead cop next to you on a motorcycle makes it a little harder to just stop and go. The last 9 miles I pushed the pace a little faster, particularly the last 10k.
After breaking the finish line and winning the race in 2:33:16 the race organizers stopped timing me, but my bladder was a explosive bomb ticking down. I shrugged off the newspaper reporter, dodged around a few fans who braved the weather, and was about to stiff arm anyone who got between me and a restroom. Well except for the lead cop, whom approach to say congrats on my race. I told him about my urge to use the restroom from mile 17 to the finish. I asked him what his reaction would have been if I went along side the road, he stated, "I would have had to give you a citation but would have waited until you finished to hand it to you." I assume he means finishing the marathon... He handed me my extra shirts and I sprinted off to the motel room, which was roughly a mile away.
A quick shower, changed into dry clothes and it was back to the finish line to see Super Joe Guilyard finish his marathon. Joe is a machine, a manly man. He is in his 50's but runs marathons like it is his job. He will do 20 this year. Just last weekend he set his marathon PR at the Akron Marathon, but taking an easy day in the Johnstown Marathon was not his goal. He PR'd again...and that is why he is Super Joe, even though PR Joe would be a better nickname. His time was 3:21.