1. At the beginning of the race, you are not as fast as you think you are. The first 3-4 miles of the race is less about running and more about dodging slowpokes. Here I was, passing person after person, thinking I was the fastest man alive. In reality, I was simply passing folks that were setting a very slow pace - but most of them were in my way. It's a little bit like Frogger - you have to pick your openings and then dart through them. It was this way for what seemed like a very long time.
2. People handing out water will hold it out for you, but it is perfectly acceptable to slow way down and just take it from them. I had visions of grandeur of grabbing the water in mid-stride and then pouring all over my face. Perhaps those that actually are winning the race do this, but honestly, the group I was in was perfectly content with walking over to the table and politely taking the water.
3. At around mile 8, the people that you are running with start to sound like a bunch of exhausted horses walking up a steep hill. You hear a lot of grunting, moaning and puffing and some of them start to walk.
4. There are quite a few bands/musicians that play along the route. This was actually kinda cool - especially the 80 year old grandma barbershop quartet on 21st south.
5. There is much excitement/anticipation/adrenaline at the beginning and ending of the race. The rest of the time, you are kinda just running.
6. Never run right behind a jerkwad that looks like he may spit at any time. He missed me, barely... this time.
7. It is very humbling to run along side a 12 year old boy for most of the race. It is also humbling to pass a 75 year old grandpa at mile 10 and think, "It took me ten miles to pass him?! Really? Ten miles?"
8. Drink lots of water and save some of that energy and adrenaline for the last mile of the race. The last 3 blocks, I was totally cramping up and overcome with exhaustion. I jogged to the finish, but everyone else was sprinting and passing me by.
9. People that are in cars waiting and are "inconvenienced" this one time a year can be complete moronic terds.
10. When making an iPod playlist for the race, make sure you save some of the best motivational songs for the end of the race. Don't waste all your best songs on the beginning.
11. Of all the people cheering you on, not all of them combined feels better than seeing your own family at the finish line.
Oh, and if you win, don't expect a giant check. In fact, you probably shouldn't expect a check at all.