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Nashville’s Tawnya Thomas, a veteran of 20 half-marathons, admitted she would lose sleep because of nerves going into today’s Mill Race Marathon in Columbus.
She wasn’t worried so much about her time or whether she would finish.
“Hopefully, I won’t have trouble getting a parking spot,” the 52-year-old Columbus Regional Hospital nurse said as she picked up her race packet Friday at The Commons.
Concerns about parking and logistics were common themes of runners who talked about getting the proper amount of rest Friday night as their top priority. Dreams of being stranded six blocks from the start line can make for a restless slumber.
“Getting to the race on time is something I worry about,” said Jennifer Shope of Cookeville, Tenn.
Even those runners who live in Columbus, such as 23-year-old Sarah Orisich, said an inaugural event likely will bring unexpected problems.
“It’s a little nerve wracking,” said Orisich, a former Columbus North soccer player. “There could be a lot of traffic.”
Whether it was parking worries, general nervousness about the race or concerns about training, runners signing up Friday had their minds spinning at race pace. The universal goal was to bring the whirl of excitement down to a manageable level.
“There is a fun feeling going on right now, and when you are here, you feel that vibe,” Orisich said.
But on Friday night, her thoughts were on other matters, such as “getting enough sleep.”
Christina Newell, 39, of Columbus won’t fight her nervousness going into her third half-marathon. To take her mind off her own race, she planned to watch three of her children — Matthew, 9; Brianna, 8; and Sierra, 7 — participate in Friday’s Kids Fun Run. Her 12-year-old daughter, Taylor, was set to run in today’s 5K.
Like Newell, 43-year-old Stephanie Bishop of Columbus was going to watch her 8-year-old child, Zoe Bishop, compete in the Fun Run.
Newell planned to “do everything as I normally would,” so she wouldn’t increase her nervousness as she headed into her first half-marathon.
Bloomington’s Brad Klosinski, a 46-year-old Cummins’ employee who was on the Mill Race Marathon race committee, planned to walk downtown Friday night to enjoy pre-race festivities.
“I won’t be nervous,” Klosinski said. “I don’t think I am going to be competing for money.”
Besides sleep, the next biggest concern for runners was food.
“I am going to get my carbs and go to be early,” Seymour’s Brian Terrell said.
While Terrell, 40, wasn’t exactly sure about his meal, probably spaghetti, some of the runners had planned an exact menu.
“I’m eating chicken chilli stew, sweet potatoes and rice,” said Chicago’s Lora Conrad, who will be running the marathon. “I have practiced eating that before I run.”
The 28-year-old Conrad is a 2003 Columbus North grad who will be running her second marathon. Food was a problem during her first marathon, the Monumental in Indianapolis when she was 23.
Shope, a 39-year-old running her ninth marathon, checked online to make sure Puccini’s served gluten-free pasta.
Plainfield’s Derrick Williams, 23, was going to eat couscous Friday night because, well, that’s what his girlfriend, Orisich, was making.
Thomas will stick to her tuna casserole because it has worked well for her for years.
Most of the runners interviewed said they would only do some mild stretching Friday night. The training, and almost all the other planning, had been finished.
Even the fashion had been prepared.
“I am wearing my orange-and-black Boston Marathon shorts,” Shope said. “And a black top. I don’t care if it’s hot. I’ve got everything laid out.
“I am a creature of habit.”
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