CINCINNATI - Before the sun rises, Christine Wampach laces up her sneakers and hits the treadmill before a day full of presentations and meetings for her job at Fortune 100 company Metlife.
This year, Wampach will run alongside a Bob Roncker's Running Spot team during the Flying Pig Half Marathon, which aims to finish in 1 hour, 38 minutes. But for this dedicated runner, it's often tough to train while working up to 70 hours a week.
Wampach, who lives in Hyde Park, works for Metlife's new start-up National Recruiting Team as a Regional and Corporate Recruiter — a job that requires her to travel around the county for weeks at a time.
Wampach adjusts to the long hours and time demands by training on a treadmill and running in hotel parking lots.
"I also meet colleagues from MetLife and we have now begun to have outpacing competitions on the treadmill and random hotels because we are all up getting prepped mentally for the work day and presentations," Wampach said in an email. "I have even met new colleagues and invite them to run outside around all the corporate hotel parking lots to get in a run and connect with a runner and colleague."
Wampach — who has run the Flying Pig Half Marathon four times — says running is a stress relief that motivates her professionally, too.
"My job is extremely competitive with other headhunters out there, I always use running as a metaphor and a means to compete quietly with others — first taking it out on the hamster wheel, then in presentations and now in getting to the next step," she said.
Next page: A half marathon winner takes on training and two jobs.
Colerain resident Chris Herren took first place in the Flying Pig Half Marathon in 2012 and plans to run the marathon this year — all while juggling two jobs.
Herren works as a salesperson at the Tri-State Running Group and also serves as the assistant track coach and head cross country coach at Notre Dame Academy. He said two jobs revolving around running help fuel his training.
"It definitely does help to be around it, but if you have the desire to do it, whatever you do, you're still going to be able to do it," said Herren who added that he squeezes in his runs in the morning, night or during breaks.
Herren says the biggest obstacle he faces during his training is balancing running with work and travel. His family lives in Illinois and trips to visit them can derail running efforts.
"If it comes down to family or anything, running comes second. I make time for that first," Herren said. "I love it and enjoy it. I get to it when I can, but if I don't [run] I'm not going to worry about it."
This is Herren's third time running in the Flying Pig after running the marathon in 2011 and his 2012 half marathon first place finish. This year, he is going in with no expectations and hoping to have fun.
"You do the best you can and enjoy running. That's the only way you'll keep going," he said. "Make it fun. That's the only way to be."
Next page: GE employee and new dad trains for marathon
Fresh off finishing the Boston Marathon, Brian Gittinger is ready to take on the challenge of running the Flying Pig Marathon all while balancing a high-demand job at General Electric and taking care of his newborn daughter.
Gittinger works in information technology as a security analyst at GE — a position he has held for six years. His job requires him to work on computers for a majority of the day.
"Sitting in front of a computer gets kind of stale and stagnant and it's good to get up and get into that routine of running before or after work," he said. "My main motivation started out as competitive, but now it's kind of a lifestyle."
Gittinger and his wife welcomed their first child in November, which has added another obstacle to his training program. The Hype Park resident says planning helps him make time for a job that requires 50 or more hours of work in addition to his role in taking care of a nearly 6-month-old child.
This marathon — Gittinger's 10th — comes after his completion of the Boston Marathon in April. He said he wasn't originally planning to run the Flying Pig, but the terror attack in Boston motivated him to get out and race again.
The employees at GE help keep Gittinger focus whether it's on work or other activities, he said.
"There's a lot of very driven and competitive and passionate people I work with and so many people have outside interests and passions," he said. "I think I strive to be the best, whether that's in work or in what I do outside of work."
Next page: A nursing student balances studying with running
A nursing student, Darcie Dressman faces long hours of studying and attending classes. Adding on a job at local hospital limits free time even more. But all of the demands haven't kept Dressman from doing what she loves: running.
Dressman, who is tackling the Flying Pig Half Marathon for the third year, is a student in Good Samaritan College of Nursing all while serving as an emergency room technician at Bethesda North Hospital. For Dressman, running is the stress relief she craves after long, busy days.
"I have to run. It's my mental relief," she said. "Even if I don't run, I'll walk."
For the time-strapped runner pulling double duty, it's about maintaining a healthy lifestyle and setting a good example for patients. The Edgewood resident seeks to squeeze running into a jam-packed day between classes and shifts at the hospital.
"The biggest challenge is getting the long runs in on your own and getting up early enough to do them," she said.
While Dressman says time constraints may have diminished her available training time, she is driven to go out and do her best.
"My hope is to complete it and just get out there and do my best," she said.