Race day can be nerve racking. Couple that with the fitful night’s sleep you probably experienced the night before and the start line may seem as difficult to get to as the finish line! Relax…Pre-race jitters happen to everyone, think of them as a way to keep you grounded and not over confident. Here’s a couple of things to keep in mind:

• Line up in the back of your pace group. Consider going out with a group that is 30 seconds or a minute slower than you normally go. Stay with this group for the first 8 or 10 miles and if you feel the need, then you can drop the group and pick up your pace for a strong finish.
• Stop and walk through ALL the water stations. Grab a cup of water or electrolytes to drink. Pinch the edge of the cup together before you drink it, this will help reduce the spilling. Stop at the water station even if you’re drinking out of your own hydration system. The act of stopping at each water station gives your heart rate a chance to come back down as well as give your leg’s a quick rest before they pick it up again.
• Break the race into chunks
1) The first Chunk – Start line to about 4 ½ miles – this is relatively flat, everyone is feeling good and happy to be racing. Don’t get too caught up in the excitement. Hold yourself back and don’t go out to fast. This is a great place to eavesdrop on some other racers and feed off their stories.
2) Chunk #2 – Here comes the hills! Conversations will taper off as everyone hunkers down and focuses on the hills. This is where mental toughness comes in – Remember Terwilliger, think about the Corbett Stairs, You conquered Tryon Creek and you faithfully did your hill repeats when the schedule called for them. Even effort, not even pace as you go up the hill. Picture yourself at the top and keep moving forward. Soon you’ll see the little white Church with the little white Steeple and it will be time to enjoy the downhill for another mile or two.
3) Chunk #3 – You’ll turn on West Union Blvd around 9 miles and this starts the final phase of the race. The pack will have thinned by now and people will be slowing down. You may find yourself passing people left and right, or others may be passing you. Either way, keep moving forward, just one foot in front of the other. Take breaks if you need them. Some people count during the last few miles. It keeps your mind busy and your legs moving forward.
4) Chunk#4 – The Final Mile – Just when you thought it was really tough you’ll come to the World Famous Portland Fit Water and Cheering Station. Here’s where you need to SMILE pretty and/or Fake it ‘Til you Make it cause Celia will be taking pictures aplenty! Grab yourself some water, electrolytes, high fives and even a sweaty hug if you need one. Let the momentum of your fellow Portland Fitters carry you through that last mile and into the stadium as you cross the finish line.
• Raise your arms victoriously as you cross the finish. Check yourself out on the Jumbotron – You look awesome! Thank the sweet volunteer who puts the medal around your neck. Keep moving through the finish area. Grab some more water, fruit or bagel – it’s important to get some food and liquids into you as soon as you finish. Hang out in the finishers area for a while and cheer on your friends, (total strangers too) as they finish. Head on up, grab your Helvetia burger and enjoy the rest of your day – Just remember to take your medal off when you jump into the shower!