1. Allow enough time to pick up your shirt/packet, haul it back to your car, and get back to the start line. It can be a trek if it's a big race at a small venue. 2. If the lines are long for the porta-johns, I can usually ignore going #1 before the race. It's usually just pre-race jitters and it's not an issue once I start the race. #2, however, won't be ignored. 2. Don't fight for the front or even the middle of the pack at the starting line. Besides, if you're at the back, you have lots of choices of who you're going to pass next, almost like a game. :) The people up front take themselves too seriously, anyway. 3. Don't get caught up in someone else's pace. I did that once and ran faster than I ever ran before for a few miles and felt great.. until I had to stop, walk, and use my inhaler because my asthmatic lungs weren't trained for it. 3. I imagine that I have fuel reserves and turn on the extra "jets" in my mind when I need a boost of power (usually to pass someone.) 4. They urge you not to use headphones so you can hear people behind you approaching but usually still allow them. Again, won't be an issue if you start at the back and hug a curb. Make a really fun playlist and it will carry you far. 5. It'll be chilly in October - make sure you have an ultra-light jacket to start that will be comfortable if you need to tie it around your waist. Plus, it makes for a nice butt-hider as you bounce along.
I've had a race nemesis for years, since like 2009. She doesn't know it because she is always just in front of me at almost every race I go to. However, I trounced her at a race in January. It felt so good. Keep signing up and soon you will find your own arch-nemesis (all in playful fun) to keep you motivated. Writing this has motivated me to sign up for my next one!