Tomorrow me and 11 of my awesome and rowdy running friends will set off from the Applegate valley and run 210 miles to Gold Beach, OR in the Wild Rogue Relay. Besides covering gorgeous scenery my favorite thing about running relays is being part of a team. As a former collegiate volleyball player, I have found that running satisfies my competitive tendencies and desire to reach new physical goals, but I miss competing with my friends. Relays are the rare and wonderful opportunity to celebrate and cross the finish line as a “we” instead of the usual tired and sweaty “me”.
Shoving 6 sweaty runners into 2 twelve passenger vans for 36 hours is much more fun than it sounds, if you pack properly to ensure your comfort, and the comfort of your team. Consider the weather that you will be running in when choosing clothing, and bring different types of layers in case of weather changes.
-Pack running attire for each leg into a zip lock or grocery bag. After you wear each outfit, zip it back into it’s individual bag and keep it secured in your travel bag so that you do not have to open and close a stinky dirty clothes bag each time you change clothes, thus sparing the air of the van each time.
-Pack baby wipes and use them in between each leg, and change your clothes right away. For the love of god, change clothes between each leg!
-Have food prepared into baggies or containers for easy access while traveling, making a sandwhich on the go is not always easy, so having pre-made sandwhiches or salads made up will make it easier for you to get your food in when you need it.
-When packing clothing, consider safety. There is alot of getting in and out of the van at night when it is dark, and most races require all members exiting a van to have a reflective safety vest on, whether or not they are running the upcoming leg. In hand off areas of high traffic where vans are coming and going, it is advisable to be brightly lit. Our team always gets glow sticks or glow bracelets for night legs in addition to the vests, headlamps, and tail lamps.
And now my friends…. THE LIST:
For 3 legs, consider what time of day you will be running, and the temperature of your location.
-3 pair of running shorts
-1 pair running pants
-1 tank, 2 T shirts, and 1 long sleeve running top: ALL DRY FIT
-1 set of sweatpants and sweatshirts for comfort at night (and in hope of a nap)
-light weight running jacket
The most comfortable running shorts I own are Prana Poppy shorts show on the far right. They are lightweight, breathable, and flattering. Check these out at:
My lightweight and trust Saucony running jacket is a lifesaver in case of rain or extreme wind, and the vest is just plain a lifesaver.
-Garmin watch with heartrate monitor
-cell phone and charger
-Nathan running pack for carrying cellphone at night
-Petzel headlamp and Nathan tail light
Comforts and Essentials:
-3 large ziplock or plastic grocery bags
-pillow and small blanket
-towel (in case you get to shower, and for using to drape to change your clothes discretely)
-hairbrush, extra elastics and bobbypins
-vitamins and medications
-shampoo/conditioner/soap: Most likely you will not get the chance to shower, but in the off chance that you do, you will be glad you had these
This is personal to taste of course. With my celiac disease I always get the green light from my team to have my own medium sized ice chest in the van. Some teams opt to have all 6 members sharing food and an ice chest, often times due to different food needs it is helpful that everyone buy and bring their own food and share ice chest space, though in fear of cross contamination of my food I have to be the outlier with my chest.
What I’m bringing to eat:
-3 gallons of water and a waterbottle
-1 container of Greek honey yogurt
-6 premade gluten free turkey sandwiches
-1 bunch of bananas
-1 lg coconut water
-1 container strawberries
-1 strong hope that we pass a coffee stand in the morning of day 2. I’m not an addict, I swear. Just a little 12 oz cup to sip on. You understand.
-Window markers to write your team name on the windows of your van and maybe a few quirky catch phrases
-glow sticks, bracelets, or necklaces
-cow bells to ring loudly to send your runner off and pick your runner up
-A team shirt or costume that all of you will wear when you cross the finish line together at the end
-some teams exchange stickers and magnets
Finally, at the risk of sounding like a second grade teacher, pack a good attitude and sense of adventure. Nothing kills a good time on a relay like a grouchy person acting like a sour grape. Understand that after about 24 hours everyone is tired, and the best thing to do is keep your manners and grace about you and have a good time.
Enjoy, and make your relay great!