The Gusher Marathon in Beaumont, TX is my hometown marathon and this was my fourth time running it. I've grown up in the Golden Triangle (Beaumont, TX/Orange, TX/Port Arthur, TX) and even started my own running group, the Golden Triangle Strutters. Because of this I've become close to the local running community and have made many good friends who were either volunteering, race directing, or running the race. With those factors combined I knew this race was going to be special no matter how I did.
The day before the Gusher I woke up with a migraine that would not quit. I couldn't even make it out to the packet pickup to volunteer and trust me I tried. I was unable to eat or drink anything for most of the day but luckily my migraine waned by the time my GTS Pasta Party came along. It was a great dinner and we had the honor of having Felix Lugo and his wife attend. Felix was the man running his 50th marathon with 27 of those done while carrying the American flag. Even though my migraine was gone I was feeling a little nauseated and was unable eat all of my food. Needless to say I was worried how this would effect my marathon the next day.
The night before the marathon I could hardly sleep due to the feelings of excitement, nervousness, and having to pee a million times after trying to rehydrate myself from the days lack of fluid intake. After I wake up and get myself ready, we head over to the Gusher to set up the GTS tent to promote our running club. I go and do my normal pre race ritual of heading to the port a potties 5 to 10 times and then head to the starting line.
Since this was to be my 10th full marathon I decided to hold a contest with my running group. I had people guess my marathon time and the winner was going to win a year of free yogurt from TCBY. I thought it was pretty cool promo and everybody had me PR'ing my marathon. So of course my goal for the race was to go out and try for a PR which was 4:21:50 or better.
I go to turn on my Garmin's GPS and I get the dreaded "LOW BATTERY" notification. Great now I'll have no idea what my pace will be. I've run some PR's going Garminless so I wasn't too worried about it but I wasn't too happy about it either. After meeting with my friends and doing some videoing with my GoPro we are off!
So much fun! I'm running trying to hold myself back but I give in to the excitement of the race and run and film. I run a good portion of these miles with another Jeremy, Jeremy Hunt. He's also running in vibrams and I've only ever met him on FB so it was pretty cool to meet him out on the run. He also had a Garmin so although we both ran a little faster than planned at least I knew my time. On mile 5 my timing chip got knocked loose off my vibrams so I had to stop and reaffix it.
We make our way through downtown Beaumont and back onto MLK parkway. WHOOSH! The wind is an unwelcomed crasher into my Gusher marathon party. This stretch of MLK is a challenge with no spectators, a nice little uphill from mile 8 into 9 and the strong wind. Tough goings but I make it through and know when I repeat that section for the second loop it'll be even more fun. Mile 11 I'm already feeling my body aching in spots that should be aching during mile 22 of a marathon. This is going to be a long day for me.
I love this portion of the course because its where many of the half marathoners are giving it their all to finish and I can cheer and try to motivate them to kick it in. Aren't I tired too? Yes but supporting my fellow runner provides me with energy like no GU can. Speaking of Gu, I was no longer finding them appetizing and was now gagging when trying to digest them and I'm usually pretty good with GU. I cross the 13.1 mat and I'm off to run my 2nd loop.
Miles 14 - 16
This is where I see Felix Lugo on the course. He's carrying his flag and is on about mile 10. His flag looks beautiful and is picture perfect which means the wind is blowing hard. I'm carrying this GoPro on a stick and having a few issues with its weight but in comparison to Felix, my camera on a stick is nothing to whine about. I'm really feeling beat up when Brittney, a runner friend of mine, catches up and we both agree to run together. We chat a bit but most of our run is with our heads down, music turned on, and a common goal to get to the finish line.
This is where I catch up to my brother, William, and he's in pain. He tells me his knee has gone out and that he was going to walk the rest of race. I tell him to be careful to not do anymore damage, wish him luck, and continue on my journey. Brittney and I begin to implement a run/walk strategy as we are both hurting. On mile 20 we see her friend Jenny for a much needed rest stop. She has water and GU for us to refuel with.
Miles 21 - 23
Back on MLK parkway which means we are going straight into the dreaded wind again. Not only do these miles have the crazy headwinds it also provides us with a hill. Facing the hills and the headwind during the first loop was bad enough with fresh legs but now everything hurts and our bodies are tired. We decide to walk these miles.
Miles 24 - 25
We only have 3.2 more miles left to go and Brittney had told me she wanted to break 5 hours. I calculated the time we needed in my head and if we were going to break 5 we had to run. I tell Brittney to get behind and I would block the wind for her. These were some of the toughest miles I've ever run. My legs were spent, my toe nails felt like they were going to fall off, everything hurt but we had a goal and I was going to try my best to get us there.
Miles 26 - 26.2
We reach 26 miles and we both let out a sigh of relief. I thank Brittney for running with me and she then tells me that she isn't going to kick it in to the finish line and that I could leave her. I tell her it's ok and that we are going to finish together. We round the corner and with my friends in sight at the finish line we pick up the pace a bit to finish this journey we runners call a marathon.
Final time was 5:00:40. We did not end up breaking 5 hours but we did cross the finish line victorious. It was a hard windy day for racing and we finished. I love the GUSHER MARATHON!
First 13.1 miles: 2:10:59
Second 13.1 miles: 2:49:40
Finishing TIme: 5:00:40
CHECK OUT MY GOPRO FOOTAGE OF THE WHOLE RACE! Heres the trailer of my footage. You can find the 3 part series of my Gusher GoPro video on my youtube channel here: