Awhile back I was convinced by Mo to sign up for the Circular Logic Marathon. Since I'm trying to knock out states and it is a relatively close and cheap race I figured why not. We would drive down together and split hotel costs with Kelly and some of her running club.
I took the blue line out to the Harlem stop to meet Mo and Friday afternoon. This made it easier for her to pick me up and jump on the expressway. We still hit quite a bit of traffic and wound up arriving in West Lafayette a little later than intended. The 2 of us went across the street and grabbed dinner where the waiter told us they served "Michelle-lob" beer. Back at the hotel we stayed up and watched Michigan State get an improbably win and make it into the Final Four. It was also in the evening that I realized that I had forgot my watch.
On race day we got to the site about 45 minutes before the race was to begin. This race is unique in that it features 1 mile loops through a park. You also get space on a table to set your own water bottles. We set up our stuff at our labeled spot on the table and head over to pick up our timing chips. They are the kind you strap onto your ankle and are re-usable. The race was smaller with around 125 runners plus a dozen relay teams along with friends, family, and support. It was much more communal compared to most races.
After a rendition of the Star Spangled Banner we were sent on our way. Without my watch I had to trust my gut as far as pacing went. It felt like I was off to a fast start, but not overly fast. The first lap featured a short out and back to get our additional 0.2. You cross a timing pad each lap and your time is displayed on a screen. I missed my time on the first lap since names weren't in the system yet, but knew I was around 9:30 or so, but didn't know what pace that translated to since math is hard when you're cold and running a marathon. The 2nd time through my name did show up on the screen as well as a 7:26. Crap. I was going too fast.
At this point I decided to let things ride and see where it takes me. It wasn't a goal race so if I crashed and burned so be it. I soon spotted Noe who had stayed at the hotel with us. His goal for the day was to run a 3:15. I knew this was likely too fast for my current abilities, but had a morbid curiosity so I decided to run with him. And I did! I kept pace and chatted with him for a while. We'd pass Mo or Kelly and I'd be like "I've never run this fast before!". Eventually around 11.5 miles Noe pulled away and I couldn't keep up with him anymore. My energy was waning a bit so I focused on slowing down some and just hanging on. This lasted until about mile 19 when I really started to feel my legs dragging.
I would continue to fight and run slower, but respectable splits until mile 23. By this point my stomach wasn't happy at all and I was starting to get dizzy. I started walking sections of each lap. Kelly and Brent wouldn't let me give up though. They made me jog with them since they were going at a slower pace. I told them I could walk it on home at still finish around a 3:40. They weren't having any of that and made sure I kept moving. With the end in site I saw that I could still beat 3:35 if I got my butt and gear and I did. I crossed in 3:34:52.
After crossing the finish line and getting my medal I got some chocolate milk and then went to cheer the others on. After seeing them all finish a lap I headed over to the car to get some dry clothes on to warm up and then headed back to cheer everyone on. Mo showed some real grit by finishing the race in spite of having the flu all week. She even ran the last lap as one of her fastest. Afterwards it was off to Chili's for post race celebrations and large beers.