The second obstacle is the logistics to travel to and from the race. Whatever race I compete in I have to be ensured of returning home prior to Melissa leaving at 5:30 AM for her PhD schooling at The University of Notre Dame. Finally there has to be a REASON for me to want to run the marathon. I either need to have a goal attached to this particular marathon, or the race has to be part of a larger goal. The ORRRC Marathon only recently, within the past two weeks, presented itself as a possible event to compete in.
When looking at the possibilities of qualifying for the NAIA National Marathon an athlete I help coach, Jacob GunderKline, decided he would like to compete in the ORRRC Half Marathon as it was located only a short 10 minute drive from his house. Jacob is a 2-time NAIA All-American race walker and a strong runner with a 1:15:23 half marathon personal best, so it seemed very likely that he could break the 1:15:00 barrier to qualify for the NAIA Marathon. Another athlete, Mitchell Brickson, also an All-American race walker, planned to walk the half marathon as part of his training. Luckily my mother-in-law lives on the way from Goshen, Indiana to Xenia, Ohio and she was willing to watch Miles for the day while I drove the athletes to the race. Since I was to be at the event anyway I figured I might as well run the marathon as it fit into my goal of completing 25 marathons this year.
The ORRRC Marathon featured the half and full marathon running together for the first 7 miles. While strolling along at 5:45-5:50 per mile pace I found myself next to the 3rd place half marathon runner. I politely introduced myself by stating, "Hi. I am Justin Gillette." He then began to laugh. I was unaware that my name was funny. He eventually explained that I was the topic of discussion within his training group this past Tuesday. Turns out he trains with one of my wife's better friends, proving it is indeed a small world, and that their training group has boring conversations while working out.
Once the half marathon split I accelerated to my more typical marathon pace of 5:36-5:42 per mile.
The next ten miles clicked off pretty well, but all too soon that would subside. My stomach was having a hard time handling the Fruit Punch flavored sports drink that was provided on the race course. From mile 18 to the finish I struggle to run much faster then 5:50 per mile, as most of the miles were closer to 6:00 minutes per mile, which is typically an easy pace for me to run, but not today. It was relieving to find out that with 5 miles to go I had over a 3 minute lead.
The last 5 miles seemed to pass quickly.
I was passing half marathoners who were also headed into the finish. The excitement of hearing how Jacob and Mitchell did propelled me to the finish line. Not long after winning the marathon in a modest time of 2:34:03, I remembered Melissa was probably done running and had texted me her finish time from the 8km race. Unfortunately not only did I have a time I was not proud of, but so did Jacob. He was battling a fever but tried his best to run well. This only solidifies the point that in order to enjoy the good days of running you also must appreciate the bad days.
One of my personal highlights about this marathon was the coolers full of Pepsi that runners had assess to after the race. This completely made up for the Fruit Punch flavored drink that bothered me during the race. A little over 8 hours after finishing the marathon I found myself at home with no soreness, no tiredness, and the desire to run some more. Apparently this happens when you just ran your 38th fastest marathon, which did not wear my body out much. So another 6 mile run later and my day was complete. Time to prepare for my next marathon this coming weekend.