I thought I’d share some tips compiled by myself as well as some of my teammates that will help you to have the best overnight running relay experience ever! First, if you’re not familiar with these type of events, you can go here for a little background info specifically about Ragnar Relay.

Without further ado I present to you my 10 tips for the best overnight relay race experience

PRACTICAL…

1. Pack your running outfits in plastic zip close bags (I use freezer bag versions because they are stronger and have an area to write on) for each individual leg you are running. Then write on each bag which leg that outfit is for. For instance, you might be running the first leg early in the morning when it’s cooler but not so sunny so you might want a warmer top and not need a visor. But perhaps your second leg will be mid-day with hot sun. You wouldn’t want to pull the wrong bag and end up with your morning outfit for leg 2 now would ya?

packing for Ragnar Relay

2. Pack non-perishable meals and plenty of water. You can’t count on having the time or the resources to locate restaurants or grocery stores on the way. And trust me, there’s nothing worse than getting ready to run your 2nd or 3rd leg of the journey at the crack of dawn and be so hungry people start to resemble chicken drumsticks like the cartoons. Hard boiled eggs and turkey sandwiches kept in a cooler or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are some good options. Maybe a few pieces of fruit, some chips, trail mix and candy! You gotta have candy! I usually bring a small backpack/hydration pack so I always have access to my food and water but we usually also have a huge cooler in the back that we stock with water and gatorade the night before the event.

3. Bring double the amount of sun screen, bug spray and baby wipes and TP you think you’ll want. At night the skeeters can really bite you up and during the day you’ll be running with long stretches of sun on your face. Don’t risk getting burned because that’ll make you really uncomfortable. Oh, and Trust me on the baby wipe thing. You might step in mud or even worse, dog poo on top of just wanting to wipe sweat off your brow. And that leads me to #3.

you'll be using these for a long time....don't expect there to be TP, take your own!

you’ll be using these for a long time….don’t expect there to be TP, take your own!

4. Pack a backup pair of sneakers. If it rains, one pair might get really wet or perhaps you didn’t have enough baby wipes AND you stepped in dog poo. (this happened to me my second relay and i tossed the poo’d pair.)

5. Pack a beach towel and a hand towel. This will be great if you need to sit in the van sweaty. Also, it allows for some “modesty” if you opt to change out of ALL your sweaty clothes.

6. Pin your race # to your bottoms or use a running belt with those clips that hold race #s. This one is mainly if you think you might want to change your shirt after each leg but keep the same bottoms. It’s one less thing to think about. You have to have your number on at all times and wouldn’t want to rip off a sweaty shirt after your leg only to realize the number is still attached.

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FUN…

7. Team spirit is everything! Christi, who was our team captain for one of the relays had this to share: It’s all about who is in the van and their attitude towards the whole endeavor. It will only be fun if everyone in the van gets into it and supports each other, especially cheering along the course as you wait for your teammate to come into the check point.

props!

props! are fun when you’re getting into the team spirit.

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relay teammates that enjoy sunrises with Dunkin Donuts coffee together finish happy!

8. Decorate your van inside and out! Christi also suggests powering up a couple of strings of Christmas lights inside the van. It makes the van easily recognizable to the runner and makes the van feel cozy in the wee hours of the morning. (you can plug into the power adapter in the van. Many have them in the back of the vehicle) And using soap crayons to decorate the outside is a must! We’ve even created a little chart to fill in as each runner finishes their leg they can write in their finish time and cross that leg off as DONE!

Dusk was the perfect time to decorate the van with lights.

Dusk was the perfect time to decorate the van with lights.

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soap crayons and markers are SO much fun!

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9. Magic fun bag! OK, so Christi is also a grade school teacher so you see why fun is such a big emphasis from her contributions to this post. But really, if you’re not having fun then it’s not a successful relay. Coordinate with your teammates to make a magic fun bag that has items everyone will need or use — baby wipes, tissues, hand sanitizer, noisemakers, snacks, sidewalk chalk to write messages on the path for the runners, bandaids

10. Film everything so you can make a video and remember what a good time it was years later. Here’s the video Roger made of our team when we did Ragnar New England.

And some bonus tips…

Jorge says: If you are doing the “ultra” category, respect the distance… Big difference— 200 miles is quite different between 12 runners and 6 runners… You can be quite festive with 12… With 6, it’s exercise AND discipline- you are either running, sleeping, driving, navigating, preparing to run or eating

Lisa adds: interact with the other teams, review the plan repeatedly but be flexible as it will probably change. She also says #RunningistheEasyPart

Roger adds: Don’t take yourself so seriously because it’s not really a race, but an event with friends and/or strangers. If something goes wrong, like you lose an MP3 player, don’t freak out but just laugh it off… Wear a horsehead mask or something else stupid to keep everyone (or at least yourself) laughing.

photo courtesy Roger (horsehead) Wright

photo courtesy Roger (horsehead) Wright

Oh yeah, the most important part of the relay is to know how to easily pass off the “baton” which is really a slap bracelet. I have to say I had a hard time with that. =)

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successful transition at exchange 31

Any other tips? Share in the comments! =)

 

First let me apologize that this post has limited pictures. It’s more of a brain dump for me.

It’s just before almost 4 pm and I’ll be on a plane in 4 hours headed to San Francisco I JUST finished packing and I’m headed out the door for doodle drop off in 15 minutes.

doodle

She said I don’t fit in the suitcase. Hrumph!

photo 3

one last selfie with the pup

I spent an hour last night just trying to resurrect my iPad. Apparently it was so uncharged it took being connected to the computer for almost a solid hour before it started charging. Crisis averted and i’ve downloaded the newest issue of Runner’s World for the plane.

So last night I left work after a VERY hectic day. The usual ad agency client requests. I was frazzled a bit during the day because after checking in with the San Francisco Marathon about how to move forward with switching from the full to the half I received a reply that said that I must get to the expo as soon as they open on Friday at noon as the events are sold out and there is truly limited availability. I’m assuming that it’s first come first served and if someone beats me to the punch I’ll be sh-t outta luck. And I know myself….I will refuse to run no race at all so I’d end up trying to attempt the full.

Anyway I walked to the bus stop and apparently stepped in some fresh gum which I didn’t know until I sat down on the bus and crossed my legs. Plus it was 85 degrees out so needless to say this gum was quite messy. I did the best I could to deal with the situation and laughed that my vacation has officially started off on the wrong foot a bit sticky…

Then I went straight to physical therapy and explained my new ailment. I got super high voltage electrotherapy…I spent 20 minutes watching my leg twitch uncontrollably. LOL! (I wanted to video tape this for you guys but i was too embarrassed to) And then my PT did some direct laser treatment on the calf and massaged it for a while. His theory is that this is actually sciatic nerve from back that is going down the back of the leg and causing calf issue. All I know is that i miss having two legs that feel strong. The 6 1/2 hour plane ride should be fun.

Meanwhile Lisa is going through her own injury stuff. She started to have some hip issues about a week ago and has been to her doc 3 times this week. Her issues are around the sacroiliac joint and she’s also prepared to make a game day decision. Yowsah! This is not exactly how we anticipated this trip to be. Let’s do a quick replay of how this trip came to fruition…

Lisa (the friend who changed my life by introducing me to running) has a sister Valerie. Valerie lives in San Francisco. Valerie started running (probably because she was inspired by her sister like I was) and started completing a half marathon a month….until she decided she wanted to run her first marathon….the San Francisco Marathon. Then Lisa said she wanted to go and run with her for support and then I said “wait! me too!”….And then Roger mentioned he’d be going to raise money for Cystic Fybrosis by running the full TWICE (yes 52.4 miles). And our friend Michelle said she was running the half too. Holy running peeps PARTY!!!

OK, so my braindump is complete. I’m off for an adventure. It’s just one adventure in a lifetime of adventures…It’s not a sprint….it’s a marathon I need to keep in mind that I want to be running for the rest of my life and I need not stress about one event or risk injury.

photo 4

 

Next time you hear from me I’ll be on the left coast!!!!

Anyone else have a race this weekend? Anyone traveling? 

While I’m waiting for the calf/ankle stuff to settle a bit and since it’s taper week I skipped my run today. I’ve been substituting some Starbucks to “sip out the small stuff” for now. I admit, a nice hot Caramel Macchiato eases my mind. And a little shopping never made anyone’s tendonitis any worse =)

Sip and shop: it's the easiest form of cross training

Sip and shop: it’s the easiest form of cross training

I keep thinking about my last convo with the physical therapist 2 weeks ago. I said I felt so good I didn’t need further treatment. He advised to come at least once more time since my referral would expire at the end of the month anyway. And so I made the appointment with the expectation that I’d cancel. Well now I’m so desperate I can’t wait to go there tomorrow. I’m going to have to put my tail between my legs and beg for his help and hope he can work some miracles on the calf now in addition to the ankle. Lesson learned.

This morning, since I had some extra time, and it was fairly cool, I took the doodle to the park for a walk. He loves those unexpected morning trips in the car. (I know this because I understand non-verbal dog language of course =)

My pre-caffeinated, bedhead and puffy eyes joined

My pre-coffee look: bedhead and puffy eyes

I’ve only got 2 more nights with the furrkid before I’m off to San Francisco. I miss him already.

And it takes a lot to pack for a running vacation. Lord knows i’ll be unpacking and repacking and swapping in and swapping out stuff until the last minute.

Meanwhile, I’m getting a little nostalgic about my trip to Cali last year.

How are you at packing for running vacations? Do you need to match your race outfits?

It takes an art to pack for a trip. Add in 5 half marathons during that trip and you’ve got quite a challenge on your hands. Well, I think i did it…

a whole lotta running gear!

a whole lotta running gear!

dog toys stay home

dog toys stay home

I packed:

• Sleeping bag
• 2 towels
• 5 ziploc bags with an entire running outfit (alternate long sleeve shirt option per bag as well)
• 4 pairs of running sneakers
• Fuel, Garmin, handheld waterbottle/Body Glide
• 3 hats/3 visors
• Camera, iPad, chargers
• Rainjacket
• street clothes (jeans, sweatshirts, tshirts, undergarments)
• a gazillion toiletries and some liquid detergent
• a cooler bag
All I can say is try and get the air out wherever possible and sitting on your suitcase does really work!

Got any good tips for packing? Please do share!

Now onto my hot mess 6 miler. Seriously I might have been more of a hot mess than Honey Boo Boo. Wait! My blog isn’t even successful and my mom doesn’t even read it. Honey Boo Boo is making money and getting famous with her reality TV show. I guess I’m more of a hot mess! LOL!

watch photo with a doodle photobomb

watch photo with a doodle photobomb

I planned on running 8 miles. It’s my last run until half marathon #1 in North Dakota on Monday. Well, I ended up only doing 6 and walked a lot of it. It was in the upper 80s and really humid. I’d like to blame it all on the temperature but in reality I never really felt like I was in a groove. It was quite frustrating and I actually cried. Although in hindsight I think the tears flushed out the sweat that was stinging my eyes so bad.I honestly think I spent more time rubbing the sting outta my eyes than anything else. And what crack was I smoking that I opted to wear a black hat?!!!

black hat bad idea

black hat bad idea

I thought i was going to spontaneously combust. I felt like spaghetti in a pot of boiling water. My hands swelled too.

piggies!

piggies!

But I guess no matter how much of a hot mess you are you can always redeem yourself by matching your water bottle to your shirt…

matchy matchy

matchy matchy

Question? What do you do to prevent sweat and sunscreen from stinging your eyes? My visors and hats just don’t seem to work.

Also, I might not have much internet access over the next week so hang tight and I’ll recap the Center of the Nation series when I return.