Race day prep: When to show up to start line

Today’s Ttortoise_and_hare_logoortoise and the Hare topic: Race day prep — when to show up at the starting line.

When I ran my first marathon, I lived in South Charlotte. The race was in Uptown. So, I got a hotel room for the night before the race. Why? Because I did not want the extra stress of having to drive 45 minutes to get Uptown.

I wanted to be as close to the start line as possible. I wanted to lay out all my clothes the night before. I wanted to have everything organized.

Turns out, even being down the street wasn’t enough to calm my nerves. We waited till just before the race to walk down to the start line, and I was in line waiting for a last-minute bathroom stop nervously hoping the start gun wouldn’t go off while I was in line.

Made that mistake again for my third marathon — I got caught up hanging with my friends who were running the race and our families, lost track of time, and found myself sprinting for the bathroom moments before the start gun. It caused me to start with a slightly slower pace group than I wanted, which I do think cost me a few extra minutes overall.

In contrast, I got to my second marathon with plenty of time to spare. The long port-a-potty lines were no big deal. I even had time for a few pre-race pics with family and with Corinne, who was also running.

Part of the reason for waiting until the last minute for both of the Charlotte races was not wanting to be out in the cold for too long. But if I don’t have plenty of time to get where I need to be, I feel anxious and off my game.

So, whenever possible, I arrive at the start line super early. Even for a 5k – it just calms my nerves and allows me to get into a focused mind. Traffic isn’t an issue, bathroom lines aren’t an issue, needing one or ten more sips of water aren’t an issue. I feel calm and prepared to face the start line.

In contrast, Quinn likes to show up right before the start gun goes off. I’ll let her tell you why in her post!

Special thanks to Mariel for the photography and styling for this post.  My clothes are from Think Allways, a local brand. Bonus!

Also, want to run Charlotte Marathon with us? Quinn is running the half, and I’ll probably torture myself with the full again (marathon #4!). If you want to run it, sign up here and use the code quinnrey.

I hope you’ve enjoyed our running series we’ve done. This is the last post we had planned officially to do, but we are getting requests from readers about running topics you’d like for us to cover! So maybe we will do more this summer. If you have enjoyed reading our similar and different viewpoints on all things running in Charlotte, let us know if there’s something on your mind that you’d like to see us talk about. Meantime, we’ll see you out there on the sidewalks!