OLYMPIA – Like many other people, Jesse Stevick commutes to work.
Except rather than drive a car, he runs, commuting nine miles a day on foot.
It’s how he squeezes in workouts between being a teacher, a husband and a new dad in preparation for Sunday’s Capital City Marathon, a race he has won three straight times.
“Technically, it’s not the best training, but I feel like I’m in pretty good shape,” said Stevick, 27, of Olympia. “I squeeze in a workout when I can. I try not to let it get in the way of the family.”
Running has a dual purpose in the Stevick home. It doubles as a date with his wife, Jenny. In October, they had their first child, Wesley.
“We run together a lot,” Stevick said. “When we push Wesley as we run, that’s some of our best dates. It’s our night out.”
It’s a running family.
Jenny will again run the half marathon on Sunday. She finished seventh last year, when she was early in her pregnancy, and finished third two years ago.
Jenny ran until six weeks before Wesley’s birth and resumed running six weeks after the delivery.
Nearly 400 runners are expected to run in the marathon, and Jesse Stevick is the favorite to win for the fourth year in a row. He set a course record two years ago, finishing in 2 hours, 31 minutes and 50 seconds.
He’s not sure what kind of competition he’ll face Sunday.
“It depends on who shows up,” said Stevick, who won by more than 10 minutes last year with a time 2:35:12. “I’ll see if I can go out harder and get a PR.”
Stevick’s weekly running schedule varies between 60 and 100 miles. A science teacher, he runs 21/2 miles to Olympia High School for a morning class, then runs 41/2 miles to Jefferson Middle School to teach. After school, he runs back to the high school to coach track before running home. He occasionally runs intervals with his team.
Stevick does his long runs early Sunday mornings.
“I get up at 5:30 and run before church,” Stevick said. “I try to have my running have as little impact on family as possible. Sometimes that means a little lack of sleep.”
Stevick, who ran his first marathon in 2001, recently did something else that’s unconventional during training for a marathon. On April 25, he ran a 55K trail run, placing second at the Capitol Peak Ultra Marathon by finishing in 4:45:13.
He took a wrong turn on the 34.18-mile route and added several miles to his race. He figured he ran 36 miles.
“I did an ultra run before running the Capital City two years ago and set a course record,” Stevick said. “I just wanted to see what kind of effect it would have this time. I like pushing myself, testing my body.”
The Capitol Peak run certainly was a test. Stevick had a sore foot for a couple of weeks after the race.
“It feels fine now,” Stevick said.
Since Stevick runs year-round, he didn’t begin training seriously for Sunday’s marathon until eight weeks ago.
He plans on running the Capital City Marathon again next year. He’s partial to this race. As a young boy, he watched from his front yard runners stream by as they raced in it.
But there’s some added pressure to being the returning winner.
“It’s still fun,” he said. “I enjoy it. If I can get a record time and get beat by 20 minutes, I wouldn’t be disappointed.”
Besides, Stevick, who has run 12 marathons, has an incentive to run the Capital City. As a past winner, he gets a free T-shirt, and his $70 registration fee is waived.
“I like free stuff,” he said.
Gail Wood: 360-754-5443