The course is pretty nice. It starts on the university campus, heads up to the Capitol building, and down State Street (a quasi-pedestrian area). Then there's some boring areas (student apartments, residential) before going into the university Arboretum. The Arboretum is really pretty and feels secluded despite being so close to town. After exiting the Arboretum, the course cuts across a residential area to reenter campus, first following the lake shore path along Lake Mendota before turning back into the main campus streets and back to the finish.
It's a nice course. Most of these areas are staples for long runs. The Arboretum can be used with little impact to traffic or residents. The same is true of campus. My only minor complaint was there was a fair bit of concrete. It was mostly asphalt, but State Street and the campus roads at the end were concrete.
I find the sport beans are a good snack just before my run. They are easy to eat with no water, as long as I'm already hydrated and not running. I tried them during a run and didn't like them at all. Way too much chewing when I'm trying to breathe. For that, I use Gu and recently started experimenting with the Clif Bloks. Both are better for me to eat during a run.