Pacing. I ran sometimes when I felt like walking. I tried to push the pace when I could, though I did have to be careful with the heat. I’m still generally a conservative runner, but I held back a lot less than I normally do. I ran portions of the powerlines, even! (Obviously the sections between the hills, not the hills themselves.)
Nutrition. This was partially luck, but I didn’t have any stomach issues nor did I bonk. I probably could have used one more gel before the final section, but I didn’t know that it was going to be so challenging. The closeness of the aid stations made it really easy to hydrate and eat. I could eat a couple cookies every hour or so, and I was able to have plenty of pop. I didn’t have any issues with dehydration, either, although I’ll spare everyone the details there.
Attitude. I barely slept, but I made it to the start. I ran my own race, and didn’t get too caught up in people who passed me, or who I passed. (Other than Flypaper Guy and Book on Tape Guy, for reasons already discussed. Flypaper Guy was really nice!) I didn’t let the powerlines overwhelm me. I didn’t let myself get too frustrated with the seemingly endless climb in the middle.
Sleep. Always. I don’t know how to fix this. I cut caffeine, I did a shakeout race, I went to bed fairly early, I didn’t think too much about the race during the week. It seems the easiest way to fix it is to have already done a similar race before. I thought that would work, since I’ve already run a marathon (as well as 3 ultras), but I guess because of last year’s DNF, I got anxious. I can also improve upon my sleep in the days leading up to the race – that has nothing to do with anxiety and everything to do with me staying up too late.
Training volume. This wasn’t a goal race, and I had other stuff going on in my life, but I had pretty low average mileage. I’m not too upset about it, but it could have gone better. (This race went really well for me! It’s hard to come up with negatives. Not that I have to, but I’m always looking for ways to improve.)
Logistics. Usually I am really good at this, but my laissez-faire attitude about this race left me scrambling in the morning, and I left too late to get the bus from the finish back to the start. Now that I know it’s not too hard to park at the start, next time I do this, I will park at the start and get someone to pick me up at the finish.
Gear. I didn’t need the hydration pack – I ate maybe one gel and reapplied sunscreen and lip balm, but otherwise didn’t dip into it – but I couldn’t get by with a handheld in this race due to the powerlines. Not that I need to spend more money on gear, but a vest with no bladder might be a good solution.