I always find that the best way to handle race nerves is by striking up a conversation pre race with the other runners. I have met some very good friends this way.
I really like it that you are starting a blog, Ryan. I have been reading various running blogs this winter and have found some very interesting and informative ones and some others that I would describe more as entertainment. One of my favorites is Mark Hadley's Maximum Performance as he presents a lot of great information and inspiration without going over my head.