I also spent a lot of time figuring out my "get to the race" strategy for Sunday. I have to go to the gate closest to my corral entrance so my goal is to get to Gate 4 or 5 with enough time to meet up with the Nike+ pace group and get settled for the start...
A lot of blog posts and articles from former Chicago finishers state that the first half of the race goes by pretty fast. Although "fast" is relative, apparently it has a lot to do with the fact that crowds tend to die down after miles 13-14 until around mile 21 when the route goes through Chinatown. I'm going to see how true that is on Sunday, but it's good to know how to mentally prepare for the different sections of the race.
My goal is to become friends with people in my pace group. Hopefully I'll meet someone that is super talkative and can distract me for the entire race; or someone who has done a bunch of marathons before and can give me mile-by-mile encouragement; or someone who is also running their first full marathon so we can encourage each other.
The Runner Tracking app is available (for all supporters and spectators that want to keep track of their runners), or you can sign up for runner tracking on the race website (HERE)...
You can also get live unofficial results HERE.
Do you use the tracking apps to track yourself during your races?
How do you mentally prepare for your marathon?
Do you like to get to races really early or just in time to slip in before the corral closes?