Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Runners World Interview
As many of you know already I grew up in rural Missouri, Arcadia Valley to be exact. The Valley consists of three small towns, the largest one, Ironton, is busting at the seems with 1,400 people, while the other two towns hoover near 670 residents. Since graduating high school and leaving the Valley I have lived in Niles, Michigan, Berne, Indiana, and Goshen, Indiana. While these three communities are unique in their own right, I have never felt the community and connection to any other place besides Arcadia Valley.
The first 9 years I lived in Missouri my family resided in a two bedroom apartment across the road from Chris Carr. Chris was the pride of the community. He stood a towering 6 feet 6 inches and could literally do everything on a basketball court. His basketball career took him to the NBA, a runner-up finish in the slam dunk contest (Kobe Bryant was the victor), and now he is a community leader helping train youth athletics. Chris was too busy his senior year in high school to realize the impact he was having on me, his 9 year old pesky neighbor. I would often cross the street and try to talk with him, only to be brushed off. Particularly I always wanted to see his varsity basketball uniform, but he would never show it to me. I vowed that if I would ever become a star athlete I would have full disclosure and share my experiences with others.
Fast forward twenty years and I have still yet to make it as a big time athlete, but that does not stop me from sharing what athletes at my level experience. One of these experiences includes being interview for the April's issue of Runners World. They contacted me this past fall regarding doing a story on me. I was honored and shocked to be gaining attention from a national media source. Here is a brief summary of those events.
I entered the fall of 2011 in really good shape, due to changing my training with the suggestions of Benny Rodriguez and John Piggott. The weekends and races seemed to click off pretty quickly. I ended up running 10 marathons, which is not that many compared to others, for example Vincent Ma of the Ma Foundation is one of several athletes aiming to run over 100 marathons in 2012, the bar has been set high by people like him.
With runnning a low number of marathons in relatively modest times it came as a shock when I got an email from a Runners World Reporter, "Is this the Justin Gillette who runs a lot of marathons?" From that email we progressed to telephone conversations. She obviously had been doing some research on my running as I was able to learn statistics from her! She actually caught me off guard when she asked, "You have done 9 marathons in the last 11 weeks in a 2:32:15 average time. Why so many races?" "Wow, that seems like a lot." was my reply. I then explained to her how I plotted out my fall races and that in my opinion my racing season actually ended at the end of October after the Atlanta Marathon. Sure I ran a marathon double in November, but that was just for fun.
The reporter and I ended up having several phone conversations. She was particularly interested in my bread and butter speed workout that I created. For a lack of a creative name I call it, "Double Negative Mile Repeats". She stated she had never heard of a person doing a workout like that, nor one crazy enough to do it 2 days after running a 2:25:44 marathon. Once the interviews were all finished Runners World set up a photography session.
The photographer, Zach Hetrick, is a young man originally from Ft Wayne, Indiana. Prior to his arrival I tried to obtain permission to use the indoor track facility at a local college, only to have that idea brushed aside as I was apparently asking too much. Oh well. We had a great photoshoot outside with the mid 20s temperatures. While my chances of becoming a star athlete like, Chris Carr, is infinitesimal, it was an honor to appear in the April 2012 Runners World magazine.