With CIM quickly approaching it's not hard to believe that if you are racing you have spent at least 2/3rds of the past week thinking of race day. The endless scenarios play through your head, the questions of "Am I prepared? Was it enough?" still looming. Just remember, you can only control the controllable. So, to help ease all those pre-marathon hypotheticals going through your mind, take a deep breath, and read about the course straight from a CIM expert - Steph Bruce.
You may not be able to know exactly how you will feel come race day, but you will be able to know the course, because I am 99.9% sure they won't be changing that last minute... Correction, 99.999999% sure.
KEY POINTS ON THE COURSE
I heard there was a literal wall around mile 20, so I had in my mind, get to that mark and laugh because you should be feeling good. I did laugh when I ran through it and just thought I'm breaking through this wall. Other than that the course rolls quite a bit the first 20 miles and there are no big markers that I remember looking for. I tried to focus on my fluid stations to help pass the miles and time. I of course always look for my husband Ben and my coach Ben.
LEAVING THE START
The start rests on top of a hill on Auburn Folsom Road and you can just see this wide open space in front on you, with the sun rising off to the east. It was a very peaceful start in my memory. The first mile is fairly downhill so it's very easy to get sucked out at a fast pace, but it's important to remember you have 25 miles still to run, so be patient.
MID RACE CHALLENGES
There aren't many specific challenging miles but I would say the course is deceptively hard with all the rolling hills.
MOMENTS OF OPPORTUNITY
If you can be somewhat in control through 20 miles, the course flattens out. The last 3 miles specifically, presents a chance to rip as the crowds really grow through downtown and you can smell the finish line.
HEADING INTO THE FINAL STRETCH
With about 1200m to go you're still on a flat wide road L Street, and you're anticipating a left hand turn with about 400m to go. Your legs are so heavy, but you're so close. Once you turn, the Capitol comes into view, and the crowds are yelling, the announcers are blaring on the microphone and you're almost home.
The main pointers I would give are have fun, enjoy yourself, go through a little more pain than you're comfortable with late in the race and you'll be satisfied with your effort.
Good luck CIMers!