Down to twelve hours before the Marathon and I'm just putting the final touches on everything at this point. As the weather today was pretty crappy, I elected to skip the 4 miler that the schedule had planned for me as it wasn't worth getting the shoes wet. I had a good run yesterday, and everything is feeling pretty loose so the extra rest will likely do me more good one way or the other. Fortunately, the reports for tomorrow are looking a lot better - the probability of rain has fallen and the temperatures are pretty close to ideal. It will be a bit windy, but that wind will be at my back for the final portion of the route so it may help more than it hurts.
Fortunately, I was able to drive most of the course on Friday when I went to pick up my race kit, and it looks pretty good. Many areas have decent shade from well developed tree canopies, and the hills aren't too bad (although they may look a lot different during the race). While the last bit is a bit exposed to the winds, the fact that it will likely be a tailwind should reduce the impact of that. Either way, the scenery along the way are quite nice and hopefully that will help to make the event all the more memorable. With that said, driving that distance makes it apparent exactly how far 42.2km is as it took me almost 1:15 to cover it by car...
I also took the time to grab a new pocket for my fuel belt, as the zipper on the one that came with it broke so it would have made it difficult to carry Gels with me. I looked at a few other options (such as Raceready shorts), but I didn't want to try something new at this point so I stuck with what has worked for me in the past. The new zipper is the same as the old, so it will likely fail as well - but for the time being this will get me through the race and I can look at alternate options at a less sensitive time.
On the topic of nutrition, I've elected to use gels rather than rely soully on Gatorade as it will make it easier to ensure that I get in all of the calories that I need. I will still carry 32oz. (~1L) of Gatorade and use it to supply me with about 200kcal of energy during the race, but I'll also take in four GU Energy Gels (Vanilla Bean flavour) with water from the aide stations at ~45 min increments. In total, that will work out to an intake of 600kcal of carbohydrates (4x100kcal from Gels and 200kcal from Gatorade), 660mg of Sodium (4x55mg from Gels and 440mg from Gatorade) and 220mg of Potassium (4x25mg from Gels, 120mg from Gatorade). Naturally, I'll also likely take in additional Gatorade from the aide stations along the way which should give me a little more than that.
As I've never run this distance before, I have no idea how much energy I will require for the race but I've talked with a number of people and settled on this number given the information I've found. This is the type of thing that one learns with experience, so it will likely be easier in future marathons but for the time being I have to rely on the experience of others around me ;)
I still have to put my bib on my race shirt and attach my timing chip to my shoes, but other than that I think I've got everything under control at this point. I'll likely re-read some of the segments in Pfitzinger's book to refresh my memory, and will try to get as much sleep as possible tonight (as futile an effort as that may be). The plan is to be at the start line by 6:30 at the latest, which doesn't leave me as much time as I usually like but I figure that the extra sleep is likely more important at this juncture.