Hey, readers! Welcome to Part 2 of our special series on surviving Portland to Coast. (In Part 1, we talked about Tips for Surviving Portland to Coast in Style: What to Pack.) In this post, we’re going to talk about the stuff you gotta bring for your team, when YOU’RE the Team Captain! We’re so lucky to be welcoming back our expert witness, Speed Walker Auntie! She has several years’ experience as Team Captain and chief cat-herder to our rowdy and unruly team, so she knows exactly what it takes to make it through this thing with a happy team.
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Speed Walker Auntie, back with part 2 of the series, how to be a kick ass team captain when prepping your team van!
Hopefully you’ve sent out an email to all your team mates about what to have packed for themselves, but now it’s time to get your home-away-from-home for the next 30+ hours ready.
Once again, I’m a huge check list fan, so here we go!
- Necklace key chain lanyard – goes on the driver, stays on the driver! Best $3 you’ll spend, especially when you aren’t freaking out over lost keys! No accidentally throwing them in the dumpster, no locking them in the van.
- Cooler with ice and a few water bottles in cooling, to start. We end up stopping and buying some more ice when we have a gas fill up. Just keep adding more water bottles as the day goes on.
- Bottled water – you’ll burn through more than you think you might. We go with bottled water, as the course is very recycle friendly. This year I plan to have four 24-pack cases stacked in the van. You could always go with gallon jugs, or 5 gallon coolers too.
- Case of electrolytes – Although you reminded your team mates to bring a few bottles for themselves, it’s good to have some extra, especially if it ends up being a really hot day.
- HOT TIP: Race bibs – Seriously, I hold on to them and don’t pass them out early. Bring a sharpie marker so people can write their ER contact on the back once you are all in the van, but this way there are no 3:00 a.m. panicked voices from the back of the van saying “oh, s#$%, I left my bib at home!”
- Plastic drawers for storing stuff. We’ve purchased these 3 drawer sets, label them for each walker, and they work great! Can’t find your crap? Check your drawer!
- Tarp for laying down in sleeping field/ building a screen around the back of the van so you can change your clothes standing up. If you are going the screen route, a few clamps are handy for clipping it to the door frames.
- A couple rolls of TP, because it’s all fun and games, until the runner trots happen, and you truly are shit out of luck in that empty port-o-potty!
- Roll of paper towels. Great for cleaning as needed, good for blowing your dusty boogers out (if you are an extra-nice captain, a box of kleenex is a bonus).
- Bottle of sunscreen, because sunburns will slow down your pace!
- The Stick or a small foam roller, for working out those tight legs. If you can’t get your hands on one of these, or have zero space left, toss in a tennis ball or a golf ball for rolling out sore muscles in the bottoms of your feet.
- Package of baby wipes (instant shower!) and a container of lysol wipes. (Sometimes you need to disinfect that weird goo you found smeared on the door. It might be chocolate flavored gel, but it might not be either…)
- The race handbook with maps and locations of fundraisers on course, because you might need to know here you can snag that midnight biscuits and gravy!
- Van number signs, and blue painter’s tape (works great for taping things to windows, without being a total mess to clean up on Sunday morning). The tape also works great for labeling the drawers, if you don’t want to get too fancy.
- Spreadsheet with estimated times to be at exchanges, so you don’t leave your other van hanging! Often, you can just reach out on the facebook page for your relay event, and someone will have a spreadsheet already made that they’re happy to share!
- Phone with the event’s timing app on it, as this seems to be the wave of the future! No more stop watches and clip boards, unless you really enjoy tracking that way.
- Two RoadNoise vests. One is good, two is better. Not having to share one vest makes for a smooth handoff at the exchanges.
- Two reflective vests. Safety first!
- Two LED blinkers, as required by the event.
- HOT TIP: I like to take one of those cinch bags (you probably have one laying around from a race) and load all the required items that have to be checked in to get your team officially approved before the start line. The reflective vests, the blinkers, head lamps, signed waiver form. I throw that up on the dash while we load, so it doesn’t get mis-placed, and it’s ready to go when we get to the start. Boom! Safe! Done!
- Noxgear light up vest – these are pretty awesome for spotting your team mate as they are walking! It’s a lot brighter than a fair amount of the smaller clip on LED lights. I love ours so much I bought a second one for exchanging made easy.
- First aid kit (need to add a good pair of nail clippers! Never know when you might need to do toe-nail surgery on the course. Also, a small pack of sewing needles, because sometimes blister happen, and they are a little better than trying to use one of your race bid safety pins).
- LED lights for the tops of the cars to help be able to spot each other.
- Blinking head bands, glow sticks- it’s like a rave, in your van!
- Bandanas, as some legs are pretty dusty and it helps to cover your mouth and nose.
- Bar towels. I know, sounds odd, but after I participated in a half marathon where they handed out ice cold wet towels, I vowed to pack them as they are like a manna from heaven when you are 4 miles in and it’s 90 degrees out. Plus they are cheaper than those cooling towels, and if one gets dropped accidentally, it’s not depressing. Throw those in your cooler, and team mates will thank you later!
- Gallon Ziploc bags. Hopefully your teammates followed your email instructions for packing, so they are prepared to bag their sweaty stuff, but extras are good! You can make ice bags for injuries, bag up that package of pretzels before they spill every where, hand one to your token car sick person, etc.
- Extra trash bags. I usually pack 3-4. We start out with a true trash bag, and another for recycling. If it gets gross, you’ve got a spare ready. Plus always good for your hotel room, as those trash cans are super tiny!
- Fire extinguisher / gallon water bottles to prevent any fire hazard issues if the course is dry.
- Jumper cables if you have them. You might just end up being a hero to that team that left the lights on while resting.
- Flat-Fix in a can. Fingers crossed you won’t need it, but it’s good to have if you do! Speaking of that, double-check your spare tire and make sure your jack is in the van.
- Team mascot item- I’ve seen large signs on a stick, flags on a pole, or even a helium balloon that stands out (large turtle, glass of beer, the options are endless!) that someone from your team holds up at the exchanges. It really helps to find where you crew went, and also guide a weary racer who’s not thinking clearly yet.
- Van decorations- Have fun! Get some vinyl clings, make some paper signs and tape them on (more blue painter’s tape!), extra window paint pens. We also get business card sized magnets with our logo made, to tag other vans with.
- Volunteer love- thank every volunteer you see out there! Share cold bottles of water with them, bake some extra cookies and pass them out, hand out candy. Do something nice for the people who help make these events what they are!
Finally, FOOD, but that’s coming up in the next post: Part 3!
Editor’s note: WOW, you guys. After all that, I kind of feel like we need to pack extra hugs and high fives for our team captains. Here’s to the ones who make sure it all happens! We love you!
-Amanda / HeyRunnerMama