My first Ragnar Relay is only a few days from now and–is something wrong with me? I’m not stressed. I just started packing after researching packing tips like a boss.
In my case, the good folks at Nuun Hydration–who are sponsoring our team and are one of Ragnar’s sponsors–are providing our team with necessary gear like safety vests and tail lights, and some other essentials like food and bevvies (want to guess how many Nuun flavors our van will have on board?).
What will I pack?
- Head lamp: Along with the safety vests and tail lights, Ragnar also mandates that each runner wear a head lamp. Mine‘s a little old and the light doesn’t shine as bright anymore (are you listening, Santa?), but I’m still bringing it.
- Knuckle Lights: These are brand new to me. I bought them because the light from my head lamp isn’t so hot, and also because I want the path ahead of me lit as well as possible. I’m a tripper, in other words.
- 4 running outfits stored separately in gallon-sized Ziploc bags: 2 sets of shorts and tanks, and 2 sets of shorts and a t-shirt (it’s going to be hot, at least during the day). Even though I’m running only 3 legs, I’m bringing an extra outfit because I’m not entirely certain what the temps will be like for my morning run. I’m putting my outfits in bags to stay organized when they’re clean. After I wear them, they’ll get zipped right back in to their designated bags so they don’t stink up the van.
- 2 pairs of running shoes: In case I suffer a shoe malfunction or get grossed out by sweaty shoes.
- Compression sleeves and socks: I’ve never run a long-form relay before, but I know how my legs feel after I race a half marathon or run a marathon (tight), so wearing compression socks and sleeves will help relieve that feeling. I want to recover as well as I can in that cramped van.
- The Stick: Speaking of recovery, if nobody else in my van plans to bring one, I’ll bring my roller stick to work out the knots and other troubles in my IT bands. I’ll bringing the Stick instead of my foam roller because it’s more portable.
- Warm cozies: A hoodie and some sweats to stay warm when the temps drop at night. My favorites? This hoodie and these classic sweats from Roots, the Canadian company that I swear makes the best sweats in the entire world. Not sexy by any means, but so comfy.
- Flip-flops: I’m obsessed my Sole flip-flops because they have great arch support and have the magical ability to erase whatever foot discomfort I may be experiencing.
- Showerpill wipes: Because I don’t like group showers (PTSD from junior high school PE class and mandatory showers) and don’t want my van-mates to hate me. This will ease the smelly transition from well-worn socks and running shoes to my flip-flops. I particularly like these wipes because they don’t make me smell like a baby.
- Other things to keep me from stinking: Such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, and deodorant. I made the slightly scary switch from antiperspirant to natural deodorant this summer and have noticed I actually smell better with the natural stuff. I’m a heavy sweater, so I double up. First I apply a natural hand sanitizer (I like Everyone Coconut & Lemon Natural Hand Sanitizer Spray) to my pits and allow it to try, then I put on a thin application of Schmidt’s Bergamot & Lime Deodorant. It really works.
- Body Glide: Because I chafe! I also use it around my toes to prevent blisters on really long runs.
- Sunscreen: Because I don’t want to develop skin cancer.
- A visor: So that I can keep the sun out of my eyes without overheating.
- Travel pillow: So I can try to catch a few Zs.
- Nuun bottle: I’m bringing one of my ubiquitous Nuun bottles to cut down on plastic waste and so that I stay hydrated. Hydration is going to be a significant concern at Ragnar Napa, because the daily highs are expected to be in the low-80s.
- Chocolate Outrage Gu: My favorite flavor of Gu. At the risk of sounding completely bonkers, I actually like the taste and texture.
- Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches: I sometimes get a sensitive stomach, particularly in the morning, and many of the energy bars out there have ingredients to which I’m allergic (such as almonds). PB&J sandwiches are my old school, 1970s version of the energy bar. They always sound appealing and offer peppy carbs without upsetting my tummy. I plan on bringing some to share.
- My Garmin: To stay on track. We had to provide our 10K pace and our team’s start time was determined based on each team member’s pace. If we run either too slow or too fast in comparison to our Ragnar-estimated finish time, we can be penalized. I need to keep on pace.
- My iPhone: As a blogger, I want to have my phone with me so that I can take pics along the way to document our team’s experience. As a safety-conscious person, I want my phone while I run so that I can call for help if need be (especially on the unsupported leg I’ll be running).
- Car charger, portable charger, and charging cord: Because I don’t want my phone to die.
I’ve found some really great blog posts and lists online about Ragnar must-haves thave have helped guide my decisions on what to purchase and take to San Francisco next week. Check them out:
- Blogger friend Sue at This Mama Runs for Cupcakes wrote a really user-friendly post about what to pack for Ragnar (in her case, Ragnar DC, but the advice is pretty universal).
- Carolina, one of my Team Nuun Ragnar Napa teammates, shared a link to this helpful article from Women’s Running about what to pack for a long relay like a Ragnar event.
- This primer from whereandwander.com has useful info about how to prep for your first Ragnar Relay.
What are some of your must-haves for long relays? What’s your favorite way to recover between relay legs? What’s your favorite flavor of Gu? Favorite flavor of Nuun?