Yesterday I spent a little time getting my stuff together. Now this isn't my first rodeo....it will be my fourth 1/2 marathon. Before the first one, I was a nervous wreck. What do I bring? What do I wear? How early do I need be there? For someone with life-long anxiety issues, there was a lot to worry about. But now I don't stress.....much. While I'm by no stretch of the imagination an expert in anything running related, I've figured out what works for me on race day.
So here's my "bare necessities" for race day:
Garmin: I teach high school math and have a BS in Civil Engineering. In other words, I'm a nerd. A nerd who likes numbers. I can't help myself. I love seeing all that data.
Running belt: Yes, I carry my own stuff. For a few reasons. I'm used to it. I can eat/drink when I want, not just when it's available. Aid stations are complete zoos. I'd rather just keep on trucking through them. Also, I've heard from people I know that have worked races that things aren't always as "hygienic" as I would probably like (mixing with bare hands, filling water jugs from hoses and hydrants...yeah, no thanks!)
Gu: ONLY Vanilla Bean GU. I have issues with my sinuses draining when I run, so I always need to spit. If I consume something that needs to be chewed, that just makes more spit. So that leaves me with gels. I've tried them all. Vanilla Bean GU is the only one that I can tolerate...and that's just barely.
Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen! I'm pale. Not as translucent as my 1/2 British kids, but pretty pasty. I have two skin colors: white or burnt.
Burt's Bees Lip Balm: My lips get really dry when I run, so I slip this in my belt to use during the race. It's the best lip balm ever.
My clothes. Not too picky there. Shorts and a tank top. Something comfortable and moisture-wicking that doesn't rub any body parts in any weird ways. And if it's cute and matchy-matchy, score! I've worn this outfit a few times so I know it doesn't bug me.
Hat. I have to wear a hat. I can't take the sun without it. And this hat is my fave. It's dri-fit and it's a youth size, so it actually fits my head.
Footwear: Most important! I've run in the New Balance 850 series (857, 858, 859s...now back to 850s) for the past few years and I love them. They are a stability shoe, and they work for me.
As for the socks....sigh. My feet get hot, so I'm picky about the thickness of my socks. These socks were recommended to me by someone at Road Runner Sports. They are Balega Low Enduro's. They are damn comfortable. But man are they hot! I don't like my feet to feel sweaty, but I don't like blisters either, so these are what I go with for long runs. They haven't done me wrong yet.
Finally....the most important thing in my Gear Check Bag.
Yes, a roll of T.P. Have you ever been in the porta-potties at a race? Everyone's bowels are in serious overdrive. And it never fails...I will choose the one without toilet paper. Solution: bring your own roll and hit the toilets before you drop your bag at Gear Check. And if you want to make a lot of instantaneous best friends, share your TP with the other people in line. They will love you.
Well, that's it! I'm ready to go! Can't do anything else to prepare...I just have to go out there, have fun and run my race!