Some people vacation to sightsee; we vacation with a race in mind. This is part one of a series about Destination Racing and some tips on how to make it a smooth trip! Part One is about lodging and preparing for the race.
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To be fair, the last two destination races we have taken have been an excuse to go to Disneyland (anyone? Anyone?). My husband, Cam, and I were on our anniversary trip to Disneyland in 2014 the same weekend of the Disneyland Half, and getting to see everyone’s medals and shirts and just how happy they all looked made me very pumped, because mom and I had our first half planned to be the Tinkerbell Half in 2015… We did two different Tinkerbells, loving the trip and the time with family in the parks. Too bad there aren’t any Disneyland races anytime in the future…. (but I digress).
Basically, Destination Racing is the best. Blending a vacation and race weekend is a great way to celebrate all the hard work you have put in during a training season, and it gives you something extra to look forward to after (before?) the race.
When traveling, especially when your flight is less than 24 hours before your race, make sure to keep yourself hydrated and rest as much as you can! Take an immunity booster like Nuun Immunity and stay on top of your vitamins. It also really helps to eat light on this day.
I like to plan the arrival the day before the race, earlier in the day so that there is time to get to the expo and check everything out, and then grab groceries and head “home” for the night.
“Groceries?” You ask.
Yes, groceries. We have decided that staying at an AirBnb is the way to go when traveling, especially when you are traveling with three generations. Rent a whole house, get several bathrooms (hopefully), a kitchen, a place to all hang out, maybe a pool, hot tub or rec room, or a yard for the kids to play in… basically it is the best! And, it is usually much more affordable than booking multiple hotel rooms.
Anyways, groceries. Make your list before you leave, that way you don’t have to take too much time navigating an unknown Kroger and hit the store once you have dropped your stuff off at your lodgings. Don’t forget to bring reusable bags, if possible, because some places don’t give free plastic bags anymore! (We learned this the hard way when we went to California last spring! $.10 a bag times 20 bags isn’t the worst but it still makes you think twice about how many disposable bags you use!)
After you get all you need, head home, put away the groceries and relax! While you may be tempted to head out for drinks the night before your race, it is probably best to stay in if you can! There will be time for drinks and celebration – tomorrow, after you get your medal!
Lay out your race outfit and accessories (DON’T FORGET YOUR BIB, ID AND PARKING FEE if necessary!) and have a nice dinner. It isn’t necessary to carb load the night before a race – most experts now agree it is better to slowly carb load over the week instead of trying to cram carbohydrates into your body 12 hours before a race start, with the potential to give you stomach problems!
Plug all of your electronics in; phone, Garmin, headphones, whatever else you need. Not much is worse than electronics that you rely on to be dead at the start line, or halfway through the race.
Get your pre-race breakfast as ready to go as you need it to be. Program your coffee maker, lay your banana on the counter, whatever you need. Just make life as simple as possible for the morning.
Another huge thing before you go to bed – make sure you know where you are going and research any road closures that may be in place for the race! We ended up hopping out of the car in the middle of the road at one race because there weren’t clear instructions, and we actually ended up in the best place to do that, but we also could have been very unlucky and been in the wrong place!!!
Try and adjust your sleep so that you can get at least six hours – better is more! You may be dealing with a different time zone, so plan ahead as well. The key for the 48 hours before the race is to rest as much as possible and fuel smartly.
The first year we did a race cation, we actually did our vacation at Disneyland FIRST, and then raced on very tired legs. While we had a blast, I don’t recommend doing that, because 1) we didn’t get to enjoy the race as much or do as well because we were worn out and 2) didn’t have anything to look forward to after the race except a long day of travel home. To each their own, though!
Where have you gone on a race vacation?