In the past four years of my life, virtually everything has changed. House. Job. Relationships. Goals. I have had few constants. But this race has remained. It's where I attempted a PR and we got engaged and made so many memories along the way.
This is the fourth year I've done the Circular Logic Marathon, a race of 26 one-mile loops in West Lafayette. Each year has been met with small changes and improvements to the course and logisitics. I'm loving how passionate the organizers are at creating the best hometown race possible that boasts an affordable entry fee and full support from volunteers. This is, however, the first year we've had great weather. Shorts weather! Last year (when we got engaged) I thought we'd get blown away, the year before it was 18 degrees and the first year, it snowed. Lucky us.
We've also gotten this race down to a science. We stay at a hotel that's very close to the park and allows for check out as late as 4 p.m. It's not fancy and it sure is a little weird, but that post-race shower makes it all worth it. We got up around 6:30 and had breakfast at the hotel before heading over to the start line.
Something we'll do differently next year is opt for an early start. We were at the park at 8:05, so we could have easily started an hour earlier. We didn't realize anyone could opt for the early start. The problem with the 9 a.m. start is that everyone who is trying to BQ starts then. With one third of the race field trying to qualify, that meant when we finished at a very modest time, it was as ghost town.
We dropped our labeled bottles off at the aid station and set up a box of odds and ends we might want throughout the day: Advil, gels, headphones, phones, keys and tums. Then we headed to the start with Mo and got to moving. For the first six miles, Brent's bib had the wrong name, so we had fun with that to pass the miles. We ran almost the entire first half and were starting to feel pretty worn out.
I took a Gu around 11 and then we started a regimented walk-run schedule soon after that. Mo kept time for when we walked and ran and around the park we went without much incident. By the 15-mile mark, we were far less chatty as it started to get hard. My left knee was bothering me, along with my normal aches and pains. Around 17, Mo and I both took some advil. When it kicked in by 19, we annoyed the crap out of Brent because we started to feel better just as he was feeling worse. Right around that time, we were surprised to see the Philips cheering us on. They were on their way back from Spring Break and stopped to see the end of our race. Their kids played on the newly constructed playground while we finished up.
Mark ran with us for the last 5K as the course emptied out. I felt pretty good at the end of this race, albeit tired and sore, and was happy to be at the deserted finish line. This year, the race organizers opted to eliminate finish-line food in favor of bringing in a food truck. However, one race participant was celebrating his birthday and handed us cake at the finish line. I also saw there were cupcakes someone brought, so there was plenty to go around.
We skipped the food truck and collected our stuff before a quick shower at the hotel, then met the Philips for our traditional post-race Chilis meal. We were spent, and I fell asleep in the car on the way home. Today, I don't have any chafing, but my left foot is killing me. It hurst on the sole towards the outside. Hopefully it's nothing serious, because Ironman training awaits!
Cost: $65 with a medal and shirt (It was under $30 without)
Pros: It's cheap, easy to get to and well-supported. The medal and shirt are great, and you're rewarded for each subsequent marathon with a charm on your medal.
Cons: The weather is really unpredictable. It's a boring course. A lot of fast people are trying to BQ, which makes me sad because I'm not fast anymore.
Will I do this again? Every year I can move forward.