This was my third race. One interesting aspect of this race - for me - was that this was the first time I was not concerned about my ability to finish the race in time. My first half marathon was the Walt Disney World Half Marathon in January. runDisney - who organize the race - made a big point of needing to finish within 3 1/2 hours. As it was my first race I was really not sure how long it would take me. My second was the Sleepy Hollow Half Marathon in March. This race also had a 3 1/2 hour limit, and while I already had one race under my belt, this race was also on a much more challenging course. In both cases I needn't have worried. I won't go into details here (read the blogs if you'd like more info), but suffice it to say that while I was not exactly posing a threat to the elite leaders, I was also never at risk of not finishing in time. Anyway, the Unite race was on a relatively easy course which would be open for 4 hours so I had no concerns about being able to finish. This, combined with it being a beautiful (albeit a bit chilly) day and the fact that this was a large race with over 3,000 runners led to me really looking forward to it.
My day started at 4 AM. I had gotten all my stuff together the night before so I was able to get ready and get on the road at about 4:40. The drive to Somerset was a little under 2 hours, and there was no traffic (unsurprisingly) so I arrived at about 6:30. I wanted to have a hearty breakfast before the race so I stopped at a Dunkin' Donuts and had a sausage egg croissant. Big mistake. First, the thing was disgusting. Second, I belong to Weight Watchers and when I added it to my log later that day I discovered it was 19 points! That's about half my daily allotment. I'll never do that again.
I then drove to the venue. Now, this was a very well organized race, but the final trip to the venue brought out my one complaint. There was absolutely no indication where the start was nor where you should park. There were a bunch of signs with "CGI Racing" and an arrow which I took to be signs pointing to the starting area so I followed them. I soon realized they were actually signs marking the course route. I finally got to a parking space that looked reasonable and turned out to be pretty close to the starting area.
It was a beautiful clear day but quite chilly at about 40°. I had pre-arranged to pick up my packet the morning of the race (for an extra $15), so I picked up my packet including my bib and what I have to say is a very nice black, short-sleeve race tech shirt. I decided to put the new shirt under the long sleeved shirt I was wearing for an extra layer.