Well, first things first. I passed my thesis defense. The professors (Michelle, Phil, and Dr. Noren) set the tone nicely by processing into the conference room in full academic regalia (well, Phil wasn't wearing the shirt and bow tie), making me the first at NPTS to defend my thesis to an academically-robed faculty. Also, Dr. Noren began the proceedings with a prayer in Latin (I'm not joking!). Yet, even in the midst of these intimidation tactics (not really; it more lightened up the mood a bit), I was able to give coherent enough answers to pass (and sometimes during my answers I was wondering if anything I was saying was coherent or if it was just monosyllabic word salad with words like "theology," "liturgy," and "ethics" tossed somewhere in the mix.)!
Later that night, I drove down to Champaign-Urbana for the Illinois Marathon. Cooper Gillan and Greg Johnston were already down (they had picked up my bib and packet), and I met them at a slightly-seedy motel about 20 miles outside of Champaign. By the time we got to looking for a hotel, we realized we may be some of the last people to have begun this search at such a late date. So, while it wasn't the nicest place, it got the job done. I think I pulled in at around 9:30 after getting slightly lost, and we had the lights out by 10:30 because 5:15 comes early. So, the next morning we got ready, drove into town, found our parking spots, had half a bagel and coffee, and took our spots at the start line. Soon enough the race was on.
So, the first 13-14 miles, I was feeling great. It was a beautiful day, beautiful course, and I was thinking I just might win this thing (exaggeration, but I was thinking I could get a decent time). This equation: nice day + nice course + feeling good + adrenaline + competitive edge = starting much too fast on the first half. I told myself I wouldn't do it, but I did anyway. My 13.1 split was 1:51:41. Since my finish time ended up being 4:06:28, that would make my last half around 2 hours and 15 minutes. Yeah, at about mile 16 I felt myself hitting the wall, and I kept dying the rest of the race. If there are any pictures, the first 15 miles will look like I could conquer the world and the last 11 will look like I'm Atlas carrying the world on my shoulders and trying to simultaneously run. However, some of the highlights included:
-a run through a prairie grass park.
-lots of residential and neighborhood roads.
-4 gu stations handing out those packets of energy.
-the guy around mile 19 handing out cups of Miller Lite.
-the unnecessary but fun stadium finish.
-the last .5 miles ran into 40 mph headwind. Seriously, it was like Man (in my case) vs. Nature at the end.
-obviously the best part was being done and enjoying lunch with Greg and Cooper at a local bar and grill.
-I would post a picture, but we never took one. Why didn't we take any pictures?
So, then we headed back to the hotel that Greg and Cooper were staying at with the idea to shower and nap. I showered, but right when I lied down to take a nap, I got terrible heartburn (apparently I'm an 80 year-old man). Since I was without antacids, I decided to begin my voyage home without the nap (with a pit stop at the gas station for 7-up and Tums). I did end up pulling over a little over half-way there and getting some shut eye in the parking lot of a Howard Johnson. Then, Prairie Home Companion got me home (as it so often does!).
Today (Sunday) brought regular church responsibilities, but I felt pretty decent besides being slightly tight in the legs. At about 11:30, I did feel myself begin to fade, but I got through lunch before collapsing into a luxurious couch nap.
In other news, I enjoyed watching the White House Correspondents' Dinner. Seth Meyers' routine was great, and I thought Obama had great comic timing as well. Here's my favorite Obama delivery of the night where he sticks it to FoxNews:
I also enjoyed watching Donald Trump getting lampooned and being a big baby about it. I think one indicator of a person's character is if they can laugh at themselves and their foibles. He apparently cannot:
Okay, I'm going to watch some tv/netflix. Later!