4 am came rather quickly, but luckily I am used to getting up early so it wasn't a complete shock to my system. I went through my normal routine, getting dressed, eating my oatmeal and triple checking that I wasn't forgetting anything (Garmin, timing chip, water bottle, etc.)
The night before the nice lady at the hotel desk told me that the buses would pick us up right in front of the hotel. The first buses left at 5 AM and I was told that once we got to the start in Folsom we could stay on the bus for as long as we liked. I decided that I probably should get on one of the first buses to avoid any potential pre-race disasters. I walked down to the lobby at about 4:45 AM to see that the lobby was full of runners. The buses didn't pick us up right in front of the hotel, but a block away at the convention center. No biggie. The most random thing I witnessed walking to the bus was the marathon runners (clearly wearing the marathon bib, not the relay bib) outside smoking!!!!! WTH?! To make it even better one of the ladies was wearing a "Team in Training" singlet. Hmmm. No comment.
Getting on the bus was easy and we were soon on our way to the start in Folsom. I sat next to a lady from Portland and chit chatted with her on the bus ride. It took about 30 minutes to arrive to the start. The bus driver told us that we could get on and off the bus as long as we liked until the race started at 7 AM. I was unsure what the port-a-potty situation would be like so I opted to get off fairly quickly and use one and then get back on the bus. I was anticipating having to wait in line for 10-15 minutes. I only had to wait like 30 seconds, awesome. I got back on my bus for about another 30 minutes just stay warm. Luckily the crazy winds from the day before were gone, but it was only about 35 degrees outside. At 6:40 I decided to get back off the bus for the last time, use the port-a-potty (again) and do some light strides and stretching. Even with the race being minutes away from the start, I still only had to wait 2-3 minutes to use a port-a-potty. It gave me plenty of time to complete my pre-race routine and not feel stressed out. The people in charge of CIM really know how to put on a great and well organized race. Everything at the start appeared to be flawless. Actually everything from the expo, buses, port-a-pottys, and bag check seemed to be well executed.
At about 6:55 I got in the starting corral close to the 3:15 pace group. The starting announcer made a comment that if you had a low bib # you definitely were not allowed to wear headphones. I looked at my
#4463 and figured that I definitely was safe to use an MP3 player, even though I never do use one. :-)
At this point I took off my super sweet "throwaway" clothes and tossed them off to the side of the road. I debated whether or not to run with my sock mittens for a bit before taking them off, but I decided to toss them before the start as well.
The race announcer went through a couple of quick, last minute announcements, the national anthem was played and then we were off!
Race recap #3 that actually takes about the race (with pictures) is in the process....