I’m prepared for the morning. I thought a glimpse into the array of stuff I’m dragging along with me might be interesting, especially for those who’ve never raced. So, from roughly left-to-right, top-to-bottom:
- Clothes, including:
- Shorts, a little on the large side. But better than running in the now-quite-clapped-out pair I’ve been running in since I started running. One day I’ll find another pair of running shorts that fits me and has pockets, damn it.
- Race shirt, with number already attached, and the form on the back (next of kin, so forth) all filled out.
- X‑Socks, technical running socks, with nice soft non-rubby patches in all the right places.
- Disposable top-shirt. At the Bath Half, they collect and recycle clothing discarded just before the start line, so you can keep warm until the race starts by wearing an old top.
- Pants. Just ordinary boxer/trunk style things; I’ve heard people object to cotton-based underwear for running, but specialist running undies are (a) expensive, and (b) unlikely to come in my size.
- Light running hat with a big peak to keep off rain and shade my eyes. This will fit in a pocket if I don’t want to wear it all the way round.
- Garmin ForeRunner GPS watch, charged. Much longer battery life and generally more reliable than an iPhone app for GPS tracking.
- Little Sony camera.
- Contact lenses. I generally only wear contacts for exercise. I’ll put them in before I set off in the morning and leave the case at home.
- Sunglasses, because it looks like it’s going to be a pretty nice day tomorrow. If it’s not, I’ll just hang them off the neck of the shirt.
- Money, for (a) emergencies, and (b) grabbing a celebratory post-run milkshake, or whatever.
- The minimum of car and house keys that I’ll need.
- Directions and ticket to the parking (I’m parking at Bath Racecourse and taking a shuttle bus in. It was a good service last year, and I’m very happy to use it again.)
- Race information leaflet. Nice and pocketable this year.
- Lanacane anti-chafing gel. I will be putting this in several places, including on my feet to help prevent blisters. You probably do not want the details of where else I put it. I won’t take the tube with me, just apply it before I get dressed.
- Painkillers, just in case.
- Spare safety pins. Handy if a zip or fastening goes on anything.
- Chap stick
- Two small, round plasters. One per nipple. If you’re wondering why, you may want to check out the “nipple shots” post from 2010’s Bristol Half Marathon, for example. As you can see, this is even a danger for skinny men. As a fat bloke who runs, I take no chances.
- Phone. You can’t wear headphones on the Bath Half (being a two-lap race means there’s always a danger of faster runners coming up unexpectedly behind you, for starters) so this isn’t for music, more for tweeting before and after, and emergencies.
- (Next row) Energy gels. Despite the fact I didn’t like the taste of the ones I’ve tried in the past, I found that more food-like stuff (flapjack-style bars, etc.) weighed my stomach down while not doing any apparent good for my energy levels in previous runs. So, I’m trying them again, but a different brand. I was only going to buy the Mule brand one, but then I noticed that the other one was rhubarb and custard flavour and I couldn’t resist it. I’ll probably only take one tomorrow, depending on how much pocket space I’ve got.
UPDATE: This stuff really did taste like rhubarb and custard. Recommended!
- Kitchen towel. For general use, and as emergency toilet paper. The loos at races often run out of paper quite quickly.
- Shoes, with the timing chip already fastened on.
- Water bottle, because I normally run with a water bottle and it feels strange not to have it on a race, even though there are plenty of drink stations.
- Nuun “triberry” hydration tablets. I’ll drop half of one of these into the water bottle when I fill it, then leave the rest at home.
- Bum bag. Sorry, I mean “Nike Audio Waistpack”. This will hold much of the little loose stuff, the rest will go in the pockets of my shorts.
If I took more stuff with me, I’d have to leave a bag in the secure area at the race village. Travelling “light” saves me queueing for that before and after the race. I could probably take less stuff, but this lot doesn’t weigh me down too badly, and I’d rather have something and not want it than the other way around.
I don’t think there’s anything I’ve missed. If you run, what do you take to a race?