Hey, readers! I’m very excited to introduce my awesome friend, Speed Walker Auntie, for Part 1 of this special series on Portland to Coast! Speed Walker Auntie has several years’ experience as Team Captain and chief cat-herder to our rowdy and unruly team, so she knows what’s up. Also, please note: There are a few affiliate links added to the story. If you click through and find something you like, the blog will earn a little commission. Enjoy!
Hey, Runner Mama readers! It’s Speed Walker Auntie, friend of HRM, and team captain of an amazing group of speed walkers tackling Portland to Coast 2017!
I promised HRM I’d finally get around to doing a guest blog post, and what better way to kick it off, than with a “What to Pack” list if you are participating in team Relay race.
I figured I’d break this blog post up in to 3 sections. First, what to pack as a racer. Second will be what to have in your van, if your team captain is on the ball. And finally, let’s talk van FOOD!
I know my first year with Portland to Coast, our team over packed, but with a few races under our belts now, we’ve got it down to a science. . . almost. I say almost, as in past years we’ve always done a 12-person team, with two drivers, two vehicles, and 129 miles. This year we went with a “Let’s really push ourselves” team, so we are rolling with just 8 walkers, two drivers, one van and even less sleep!
As team captain, I like to send an email out to the team about 10 days before race day, with a suggested list of what to bring. Gives time for people to go find all their gear, go buy missing items and repack about four times until they have it just right!
Remember, space is limited, and there will be 6-7 people in your van, with all their stuff too.
SMART TIP: The Seaside Bag
If you can, try to arrange to send one bag separately to the finish line. This is for the “coast” part of Portland to Coast. We are lucky that one of our volunteers is able to take everybody’s extra bag to the finish line hotel ahead of time, so items we won’t need during the race can go in this one. Shower items, clothing for Saturday and Sunday, a bathing suit (if your hotel has a pool/hot tub), booze\wine\frosty beverages you might want at the finish, etc.
Not able to have someone haul your after-the-race items? Pack that extra stuff as out of the way as possible. Try sticking it up in the roof box or under your seat! Not only is space at a premium, you don’t want it in the way when you’re digging around for essentials and time is urgent.
Now, what to pack for in the van! This stuff should fit in a small gym bag or backpack.
- Flip flops to wear between legs (walking legs, not your legs, that would be really weird….)
- 2-3 gallon Ziploc bags, to hold your outfits for each leg, and then hold your sweaty stanky stuff after you are done! In each baggie, you can pack the following:
- Bottoms: Whether it’s capris, shorts, race skirts or whatever, you’ll want to change out after each leg is complete, and you don’t want sweat rash!
- Shirts: Go with 1-2 short sleeve and one long sleeve for your legs of the race, and an extra for while sitting in the van. Change out after each leg, let’s not funk up the rental van too much! Break out that long sleeve for your nighttime leg.
- Undies: Fresh pairs of undies for after each leg. Once again, we want no chafing!
- Sweat pants/ cover ups for after your night leg. Keep warm, no hypothermia!
- 1-2 pairs running shoes (and a bag to put them in so you don’t funk up the van
- At least 3 pairs of socks (and compression socks if you use them)
- Sun screen and chapstick that has SPF in it!
Sunglasses. Those freebee shades you picked up work great, because if they get lost or broken in the van, it’s less painful.
- Hat/visor or even a good old-fashioned sweat band.
*Editor’s note: I LOVE these hats! They’re lightweight, keep the sun off your face, the sweat out of your eyes, and you can chuck ‘em in the washer. -HRM
- Body Glide, and/or a travel sized container of Gold Bond. Dudes on the team, watch your nips. Plan accordingly with band-aid or glide.
- Toothbrush and travel sized tooth paste, and gum isn’t a bad idea either. No one wants your 3:00 a.m. Cheeto-and-coffee breath.
- Deodorant (I’m a Lady Mitchum Gel fan, and have converted a few others to it, after their deodorant let them down during a relay).
- Sleeping bag or a blanket.
- Sleeping pad or air mattress if you don’t want to rough it (we’ve had some sleep in the van, others slept on the ground outside, and a few roasted in the Dick’s tents at the big exchange).
- Small Pillow, airplane pillow, inflatable pillow, something soft to rest your head on, for the 2:00a.m. nap that might happen.
- Jacket (Most people use a hoodie sweat shirt or a light weight wind breaker. You won’t need to pack a parka!)
- Head lamp and\or a small flash light (put fresh batteries in!)
- Your tunes! (If you are a HTC/PTC racer, the only time you will need your headphones is in the van, as they are not allowed on the course and will get you DQ’ed. Our team has invested in a RoadNoise speaker vest to wear if team mates want tunes on the course)
- A water bottle, hydration belt or a backpack hydration system. (Course is not supported! Your van can check on you and see if you need more water, on most legs, but let’s not have heat stroke or end up dehydrated.)
- Electrolytes that you like, like nuun, Gatorade, Powerade. Bring a few bottles, but odds are you won’t need a whole 12 pack to yourself….
- At least three packs of Shot Bloks, Gu, Hammer Gel, whatever you use for calories on the course.
- Food bag: pack two sandwiches (PBJ works great) to have after your legs. Also pack a post-leg “treat” to look forward to (like a snack pack of Oreos and a Snickers bar). This is in addition to actually having meals (There are stores, restaurants, and community fundraiser food sales along the Portland to Coast course, too.) We want no hangry people!
- Money! There are food fundraisers along the course, your van might stop for a meal or two at a restaurant during the race, you might need to chip in for gas money, or maybe you’ll want to buy food or merch at the finish line. Support the communities that deal with this event, and leave them happy!
- Medications you might need during the race, like pain pills, inhalers, or allergy meds.
- Electronics: Typically I have my Garmin for tracking pace, and my cell phone (which becomes a camera only, once we hit that big patch of no cell service on the course)
- Extra batteries/power pack for your electronics if needed (usually there are plenty of phone chargers!)
- Things to make it fun in the van! Cow Bells, clappers, giant foam Team Slow Poke finger, check! Window Paint pens for tracking road kills, check! Cards against Humanity, Exploding Kittens, Left Right Center, check!
- If you have any spare LED blinky items, bring them for the night legs. Makes it easier to spot our team people when they have a lot more blinky stuff on, along with any reflective things you might wear when walking in the dark. And it’s fun.
Being seen on the course: serious business.
LED wigs! See your people coming.
Next in our series, we’ll check out Part 2: a well stocked van!
RELATED POST: Umm, who are these characters in my van, anyway?
What do you like to pack when you hit the road for PTC/HTC/Ragnar, or any other team relay race? Have you ever forgotten something essential? Let us know in the comments