October 7, 2011

Race travel and freaking out

This weekend is the Mother Road Half Marathon in Joplin, and it will be my first out-of-town race. I'm getting nervous about remembering everything I need to pack and getting ready/having my pre-run breakfast in a hotel instead of at home. I'm also nervous because I'm STILL sick, and I might not even be able to run at all. I went back to the doctor today for a stronger antibiotic, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I will wake up feeling like a million bucks Sunday morning for the race. We'll see.

This race is point-to-point instead of a loop, so we'll have to take a shuttle to the starting line in Baxter Springs, Kansas and then run to the finish line in Joplin, Missouri. So of course I'm stressed out about shuttle schedules. And what is this I keep hearing about gear trucks? Should I pack a bag that will be waiting for me at the finish line with dry clothes and stuff? What do you put in your bag? What kind of bag do you take? A backpack? Small duffel? Gallon-sized Ziploc? I am totally serious about these questions.

Trea and I have our long run routines down pat, and I'm more than concerned about changing things up this weekend. The morning of our long runs, Trea always makes a trip to McDonald's for egg McMuffins, or I make homemade ones for us, and then we don't leave the house for another 45 minutes or so to let everything settle. We normally eat around 5:45 and are running by 6:45 or 7:00. But at this race, the last shuttle arrives at the starting line at 7:00, but the race doesn't start until 8:00! So we'll still need to get up early and eat early, but I'm worried my McMuffin will be "wearing off" by the time we're ready to start. Maybe I need to get two... {Trea is allergic to both peanut butter and bananas -- runners' favorite fuel -- so our pre-run options are limited. PowerBars and ClifBars are out for him too.} We're running with friends, so ideally, we'll be able to drive one car to the start and leave it and take another car to retrieve it later. This would relieve tons of stress...as long as the race folks will let us do that.

Even though it stinks to be sick on ANOTHER race weekend, I'm still looking forward to this experience because I think it will be a good dress rehearsal for the St. Jude Memphis Marathon in December. Much better to figure out our out-of-town/hotel routine now than in downtown Memphis at our first full marathon! I just found out only 262 runners are registered for the Mother Road Half, so this is going to be a tiny race. This is terrifying because my chances for finishing dead last just increased dramatically, but having a small turnout might be easier on us as we learn how to handle racing far from home.

I'm treating this weekend like a training run, so I'm not shooting for a certain time or anything. Since I've been sick for a week now, I'll just be happy if I'm able to run at all. I actually have 15 miles on my training schedule this weekend, so if I'm feeling better, I'm planning to run a mile or so before the race to warm up, and then whatever is left at the end as a slow shake-out run.

So, expert out-of-town racers...how do YOU get ready to race when you're away from home? 

How do you handle racing during training, when the race is shorter than your training distance? 


  1. Good luck! My only recommendation would be to pack some Tylenol PM just in case you can't fall asleep. For some reason, I tend to have issues sleeping in a hotel on the night before a big race and never get any sleep. You might pack some throw away clothes to wear to the start if it is chilly in the am...you can also use giant trash bags to help you stay warm. Have fun and I hope you are feeling better by Sunday!

  2. I just did an out of town race,10k so it is shorter than my half marathon goal race. Notice I didn't say half mrathon training, because I don't really follow any training plan, I just run 2-3 times a week. So, I say pack tank, short sleeve and long sleeve if you are not familiar with the weather there, also do a pre-race check list!! Have fun!!!
    I actually ran at 80% effort, because I don't know how to run a 10k.... But still it's alot harder than my regular pace, so I was sore for 2 days after. Good luck!!!

  3. It can be stressful! Yes, pack a gear bag if it makes you feel better. Just a small bag with a long sleeve dry shirt and some flip flops. Maybe some Clif bars or something in case your are hungry post race.
    Sugar, since you are still sick, run, don't race this and don't worry about the extra mileage. You need the rest more than you need those extra miles! Promise!
    I'm sorry you are still sick! Hopefully the new meds will kick in and you won't be miserable.



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