The alarm went off at 5:15 and I got up easily, still not feeling anxious but also not feeling excited either. After dealing with the foot problems that have not completely gone away and some not so stellar training runs I wasn't feeling very positive about my chances at a PR and I was just ready to get it over with. I got dressed and got everything together and went downstairs to meet my Dad for breakfast.
The hotel provided a fairly common continental breakfast and I decided on a mini bagel with some jelly (sadly there was no peanut butter) and a blueberry muffin. I made sure I drank plenty of water and mentally prepared myself for the cold I was about to step out into.
After breakfast we left the hotel to head to the start line. We managed to find parking within a block of the start line and I begrudgingly took off my sweatshirt. I had a quick motivational chat with my husband (he is so encouraging) and climbed out into the cold. I immediately started pumping my arms and jogging in place to try and get the blood flowing so I wouldn't freeze before the race started. It actually was not that bad out as long as we stayed near the buildings and out of the wind.
We headed over to the start line and staked out a warm spot to hang until closer to race time. I decided I should try to empty my bladder before the race and headed over to the port-a-potties. I made it halfway across the street when I saw the line and decided I would never get through it before the race started and I didn't have to really go so I went back and started my warmup. My Dad was nice enough to lend me his jacket because my arms were freezing and I enjoyed the warmth until they announced it was time to head to the start line.
There was supposed to be close to 3,000 runners and they told us to line up according to our bib numbers (hello I was 1007 and now I'm 2955!) because they were assigned according to estimated finishing time. Of course no one really stuck to this and I managed to squeeze my way into the middle of the pack but a bit far behind the 2 hour pace group.
As we were packed in like cattle, I was reminded why I dislike running in races with more than 500 people. It was complete chaos (at least to me) and I only heard the last line of the National Anthem and none of what the announcer was saying. I didn't even hear the gunshot and only knew we had started when I began to see people heading up the hill in front of us.
One nice thing about being packed in like sardines is you are no longer cold but it makes for a very frustrating start to the race. As we slowly started walking to the start line, I hoped that I would be able to start running once I crossed the line and my time started. I was really starting to fear that this slow start would blow my entire race plan. Stayed tuned for part 2 of my recap to find out how the race went along with a few pictures of the course.