You’ve likely seen those ads for the Ragnar 24-hour relay races and other overnight team relays. One run takes you through the lovely rolling hills of Napa Valley, another one takes you across the coastline of San Diego. While several others include grueling trails up mountain peaks! That’s the type of relay my friends and I decided to sign up for – the Ragnar Tahoe Trail Run. Why? Well, we love to do crazy things and we love a good challenge and we love to be together!
This particular run involved three courses and each person had to run each course at least once. They all started and ended in the same spot, at the base of our camp, but some relays go along one long route where the runners take a big van to each exchange point. At our relay, there were occasional moments to nap, but mostly we were either cheering on our team, eating or running. We saw the sun set and the sun rise and we saw a part of the world no one in their right mind gets to. But we felt oddly exhilarated the entire time! We ran up and down ski resort peaks during this particular race and saw lakes that I never even knew existed. It was torturous, yet glorious!
So what the heck do you pack?
1. ALL KINDS OF CLOTHES
I highly suggest you bring several running outfits, at least for each leg you are expected to run. Although one of our teammates twisted her ankle (trail runs can do that to ya!) so I ended up running four times. So maybe you’re better off to bring enough running clothes to last a week! You’ll really appreciate the dry sports bras and and clean pants. You’ll also want to include several pairs of socks – running socks, and knee-high woolen ones. If you’re running on trails, everything gets dirty, so change your socks as often as you change your underwear (a lot!) The woolen socks will come in handy if it’s cold at night. Also, bring sweats so you can give your skin a break from the spandex when you’re not running. Sweatshirts and sweat pants will feel nice at night too.
You will feel uncomfortable everywhere, the whole time! So a little bit of comfort will go a long way. Use this any chance you get. But remember, leave your nice fancy pillow case at home. You will likely want to throw your pillow case away (or at least straight into the washing machine) after rubbing dirt and sweat all over it.
3. FLIP FLOPS
There’s nothing worse than running your heart out and trudging through trails only to have to keep your shoes on afterwards, even as much as we all love our Brooks. In between running, throw on your flip flops and let your feet breathe before you lace up again.
4. WIPES, WIPES, and MORE WIPES
You’ll never have too many. I prefer unscented because I used wipes for literally every body part. You’ll use these to wipe the mud and sweat off, to clean any injuries, to wash your face and during port-o-potty breaks. Need I say more? Just bring them!
Snacks, meals, you name it, you’ll eat it.
6. GIANT JUGS OF WATER
You’ll likely use gallons of water, not just to drink, but also to wash yourself with.
7. MUSICAL DEVICE
If you like to listen to music while you run or while you lounge, then having a device that will last is key. And something that does not require wifi because as much as we had hoped, there is no signal in the woods.
8. A BEER (21 and up only!)
You’ll want to keep your favorite craft beer in a cooler of ice during the relay. Don’t pop it open until the very end. Trust me, you will truly enjoy this when you cross the finish line. I don’t think a beer has ever tasted better. You earned it!