The Big Day will be here in less than 24 hours now. I'm all confirmed, have my race bib and packet, and the only thing to do now is just wait for the starting gun to go off.
According to the confirmation below (and my bib), they have me set to line up in Corral #4, which is the 10:00 + minute per mile group. I plan on at least starting the first several miles a bit quicker than that, and hopefully holding that pace as well, so I'll probably line up in Corral #3 tomorrow unless there is a "Corral Nazi". I can run around those in front of me in the early miles (and I probably will have to anyway almost no matter where I line up), and more than a couple of runners will probably be passing me who lined up further back as well...but there will be quite a few half-marathon runners lined up as well, so the fewer I have to dodge early on the better.
I've got a few "levels" for my goals for this event.
As far as goals for the race goes, I feel like I've already achieved my E-level goal, and that is to be able to show up at the starting line free from injury, not over-trained, and mentally ready to tackle the course. My right instep (that I strained / bruised about 10 days ago), is all but gone (the pain that is...although I can feel it a bit). I don't expect that will cause any trouble though.
My D-Level goal is to be able to finish the race of course, regardless of time or how I'm able to get it done. If this is anything like most of my longer long runs (and there haven't really been all that many), this one will just be a matter of not thinking too far ahead, and staying in the moment. Focusing on my breathing and my form, and keeping up with my hydration and nutrition.
My C-Level goal is to be able to finish the race without walking ANY of the distance. There are no doubt many people who will take walk breaks at various points throughout the race and still cross the finish line significantly ahead of me. However, at least for my first marathon I want to actually RUN the entire distance. Not to take anything away from those who intersperse walk breaks, it is just not one of my personal goals. We'll see how that goes.
My B-Level goal is to finish in under 4 hours and 30 minutes, and unless the hills on the course (or some other unforeseen circumstance) gets in the way, that is a distinct possibility (although not "in the bag" for sure). I drove the back half of the course yesterday, and noted the speed humps (there are probably somewhere between 10 and 20 of them on the back half, which "could" be a tripping hazard), and there are some uneven road surfaces in some areas, so I'll just need to be careful there.
My A-Level (I have a dream) goal would be to finish in under 4 hours and 15 minutes. Given that there is very little chance that I'll properly run all the tangents, that I will not be alone so I'll need to dodge other runners and walkers at times, and that there are few more hills on this course (and they are longer) than those in the area in which I typically trained, this is probably not reasonable (not to mention that this is my first time and 10 months ago I couldn't run more than 2 miles at one time without gasping for breath and was 30+ pounds heavier). But every goal doesn't have to be reasonable, so this is my unreasonable one. :-)
For whatever reason, I'm not really nervous or really that excited about it all...not yet anyway. I'm just ready to get started. The day I've waited for and trained for is here...now it is just time to relax and get into a flow on that day. One thing is certain...regardless of which "goal level" I may or may not achieve, it will be an experience. And I'll be sharing that with all of you afterwards.
Happy Running and Racing Everyone !!!