Monday, November 2, 2015

Hitting the Road for a Destination Race

This weekend I'm getting outta Dodge and heading to Azuza, CA (outside of Pasadena) for the Revel Canyon City Marathon on Saturday. I'm super excited to get away with friends, even if we have to run a marathon to do so :) I did the half marathon last year and it was great fun. This year we decided to do the full and I'm really looking forward to it.

Before I continue, this week I'm linking up with the Tuesdays on the Run blog link up. The Tuesdays on the Run blog link up is with My No-Guilt LifeMCM Mama Runs and Marcia's Healthy Slice. When you're done reading here, be sure to check them out!

Even though I'm treating this race like a training run, it still requires planning and packing like any other destination race. So not only is there the stress of the race itself (getting to the expo, race start, um...running), there's the whole traveling aspect to make it even more stressful. Thankfully, this race is within driving distance so we can just throw things together in the car. But traveling to a race that requires an airplane ride makes things even trickier.

I always start out by checking the weather for the race and then I make a list of everything I typically need for a long run, with the weather and race course (e.g., trails) in mind:

  • race clothes (layers and/or jacket if it will be cold or rainy)
  • socks
  • shoes (Altras, of course)
  • hat
  • throw-away gloves and pre-race clothes if it will be cold or rainy
  • dry clothes for the drop bag if it will be cold or rainy (otherwise, I don't usually do a drop bag)
  • hydration pack
  • Skratch
  • nutrition (I've been using different stuff such as my own sweet potato, pretzel bites, Honey Stinger chews and Skratch fruit drops. I haven't yet decided what I'm doing for this race)
  • sunblock
  • RunGoo
  • Garmin
  • stuff specific for a trail race if necessary (gaitors, buff, etc.)
  • post-race items such as compression socks and flip flops
  • massage tool (travel size The Stick or foam roller)
  • empty plastic bags for nasty running clothes 


I typically bring extra of the hydration and nutrition stuff just in case. If I'm driving to my destination, I'll bring bottled water with me to make up my Skratch when I get there. If I'm flying, I'll just pack the Skratch and deal with the water when I get there. But I get all that stuff together in my suitcase first so I know I have it. If I'm flying, I try to take as much of my race gear in my carry-on as possible because I'm anal and I want to make sure everything makes it with me to my race in case my suitcase doesn't. It makes for a heavy carry-on but a less stressed-out me.

After I have all my race gear together, I pack my regular clothes and shoes, toiletries and anything else I'll need for travel. Then I make sure I have any waivers or other materials for packet pick up and throw them into my carry-on with my boarding pass. I also pack plenty of snacks because, well, I like to eat.

And that's all. I try to keep it simple. I remind myself that I'm usually traveling to a city that will most likely have something if I forget it (trust me, I've traveled to a race before and forgot my shorts). If I make a big deal about things, I'll get obsessive and crazy. I'm obsessive and crazy enough already. In fact, I've been on this "did I lock the door and/or shut the garage" kick lately that will be the death of me. I can't tell you how many times I've left for work or whatever only to return 15 minutes later to make sure I've locked the doors and shut the garage door. I need an intervention.

Anyway, those are the main necessities I bring with me for a destination race. Did I forget anything? What do you have on your race-cation travel list?

28 comments:

  1. You are so wise! Can't wait for our girl's weekend!

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  2. I did REVEL Rockies last year and absolutely loved it! My favorite half to date. I'm planning on doing a REVEL next year but have chosen which location. So, I'm very interested to read about Canyon City! I once forgot to pack my hair accessories - pony tail holder, barrettes, etc. but didn't realize it until it was time to go to the race. My race pics are horrible. It was a warm and humid race and my hair tripled it's normal size. LOL. It's great getting to know you through the hop!

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    1. Oooh, we're thinking about doing Revel Rockies next year too! I think I would flip out if I forgot my ponytail holder but I guess if I had a hat, I would be ok. I actually didn't wear my hat for my run yesterday and was miserable, so I would take the hat over the ponytail holder. Now I'm going to triple check that I have a ponytail holder when I pack this week!

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  3. That race looks amazing- great packing list. Have a fantastic time!

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    1. Thanks so much! Stay tuned for the race report :)

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  4. I have done a lot of destination races in the past and I can say you and I approach them very similar as to packing! It's always wise to do as you say and pack all race gear first, check that its all in before packing the rest. :)
    Have fun this weekend, I haven't done that one but I know it's lots of crazy downhill and being from Utah, I know downhill races hurt far worse than any others but I bet the canyon you run down there is gorgeous:) I actually do a lot of training down the canyon they do the Revel Cottonwood race they host in Utah. Have fun!

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    1. Yes it's beautiful there!! I'm slightly concerned with the downhill myself. It will be an experience, that's for sure!

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  5. Have fun and can't wait to hear how your race goes! I looked it up and it looks gorgeous.

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    1. Thanks! It is beautiful and I think the weather may be pretty darn perfect too! Getting excited now!

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  6. Oh my goodness - this is me {the garage door, the overstuffed carry on, all of it!!} I can't wait to hear how the race goes - it sounds like you're totally prepared!!

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    1. Thanks Rachel! My garage door OCD has settled down some, so hopefully it means I'm less stressed about life. Wishful thinking!! I'll post a race recap on Sunday, I hope!

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  7. I love race-cations but I hate packing for them. I end up packing way too much because I try to make sure I have every scenario covered. I don't think you have anything missing from your list! Have fun!

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    1. I typically pack too much too. This happens the most when I'm not flying so I need to be careful! Gotta leave room for my friends in the car :)

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  8. Good luck and have so much fun! My Garmin is always one of the first things I pack as well. That is so smart to pack all your race gear first to ensure nothing gets left behind. I usually just make a list (I am a list maker) but I think I am going to totally start implementing packing my race gear first!

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    1. Thanks!! Getting all my race stuff packed first really helps calm my nerves about everything.

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  9. I love checklists like this haha I've never done this, so I wouldn't know what you're missing, you look pretty well prepared!

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    1. Thanks! That's the beauty of lists- they work for anything. Hopefully we won't forget anything this time!

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  10. Oooh a race-cation!! Fun! I've only ever been on one race-cation and it was to Long Beach, California. I had a blast! My goal was not to PR but to just have a fun time and that we did. It was the first half marathon that I ran with my husband and we indulged in wine and good eats post-race :)

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    1. Sounds like your race-cation was a good one! I love them. They're kind of the best excuse to go away with friends :)

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  11. Good luck this weekend!!!

    I always seem to have more running/race stuff in my bag than 'regular' clothes-lol!!

    So cool you are running with friends...that must be sooo much fun!!!

    Tamieka@fitballingrunningmom

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    1. It is super fun to travel to and race with friends. It makes the whole experience so much more meaningful. And yes, I always have more running stuff with me than regular stuff! It's true at home too!

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  12. I have never flown to a destination race, but certainly have driven far (Grandma's Marathon in Duluth, MN was a good 7 hours from my door step). But, if I were to fly, I would pack my carry-on just like you. I am always a paranoid traveler and worry about my luggage not making it there LOL What can you tell me about Scratch? I have been using Tailwind, which sounds like a similar product.

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    1. Skratch is an awesome sports drink. It's made from fruit and has all three electrolytes necessary for endurance training: sodium, potassium and magnesium. It is very similar to Tailwind but it's less calories per serving and far less sodium and potassium. It also has magnesium, at the same concentration as Skratch (well Skratch is slightly lower). I've trained with Tailwind before and definitely like it but I get really swollen from it. I switch between the two a lot depending on how far I'm going (longer bouts = Tailwind). You should try it!!

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    2. I checked the website briefly...have you tried the fruit bits (I think that's what they were called)? I wonder if they are similar to sport beans, but more "natural?" The one thing I don't like about Tailwind is it's too much water for me....my bladder does not like that LOL, but the gels/chews/blocks make my tummy very angry, too. UGH> This is all a new problem for me. I have used gels forever, but in the past year or so, my tummy just can't handle them anymore, so I'm kind of starting over with fuel options. Thanks for your input!!!!

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    3. My stomach is also really sensitive. Ever since I had kids, the way I process sugars has changed so much. I had gestational diabetes with my twins, which made things even worse. Anyway, I have tried the fruit drops from Skratch and I do like them. I've only had the berry ones (I'm not a fan of orange flavored things besides actual oranges). They are like gummy bears only not as sweet. They are lightly salty. I think they're worth a try.

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  13. I have never traveled for a race because I am not a runner, but I once did a blog on how to pack for a fitness trip, and a video on what to pack for the 3-day (a 60 mile breast cancer walk), and our lists are somewhat similar! ;)

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    1. I bet they are. Yeah, a 3-Day event is a much different beast altogether, especially if you change camps each night. I'll have to take a look at your post!

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