Ragnar Chicago is only two weeks away. TWO WEEKS!!!! I thought I re-run an edited post about packing for Ragnar to celebrate.
The first year I ran Ragnar Chicago I packed like an idiot. I was gone from Thursday evening until Saturday evening, I had enough clothes for a week. I also had three pairs of running shoes, granted it was raining so I will allow it, but the amount of clothes I brought? RIDICULOUS.
Also? Do not bring a suitcase to Ragnar. There’s no place to shove a suitcase in your van. A duffel bag works much better.
My tips for packing the right way include bringing three running outfits, one running layer, and an outfit to wear when not running. You will end up wearing that outfit between every leg, don’t fool yourself and think you need a different outfit after every leg. Keep in mind that you will be getting Ragnar race shirts at the starting line, most likely you will have a team shirt, and then you will buy a finishers shirt at the starting line (<— DO IT. History shows they run out at the finish line, buy it right away in the morning. $25. Ragnar Chicago finisher t-shirt. NOTE: In 2012 they had the finishers shirts, in 2013 they did not. I’m hoping they are back for 2014.). That right there is THREE more shirts. You don’t need to pack any shirts.
Go light on the food. The first year we bought so much food on Thursday night, most of it perishable, and whoever owns the cooler ends up with it at the finish line. In 2011, I owned the cooler. Can you guess my husband’s excitement over picking me up from Chicago with a cooler full of food?
Answer: None. He was not excited about the food. It went right into the compost bin, my flowerbeds thank you Ragnar team of 2011.
Seriously, we aren’t leaving civilization at all. Except for legs 3-6, good luck finding a coffee shop. There is one by exchange 3, however you have to really look for it if the van parking was where it was in 2012. Runner #4 will run right past it though and be all: GUYS! I FOUND THE COFFEE!!!!!
There’s an amazing pizza place around the corner and down the street at exchange 6. YUM!!! I’m drooling already! And then you can’t even toss a rock and NOT hit a food place at exchange 18. Go directly to Kopp’s. Trust me on this.
My next tip is to toss your trash as often as possible. For the sake of the Ragnar SWAT team, PLEASE dump your liquids prior to putting it in the trash can. Your liquids end up in the back of their cargo vans … where all of their luggage is located too. Ewwwww.
What you definitely need is:
- Safety gear: vests, blinky lights, headlamps
- A flashlight, you know for when it’s the middle of the night and you can’t find something
- Chargers for your gadgets
- Trash bags
- Toilet paper: because by the time you get to Saturday morning there might be a low-supply
- Towels: I’d suggest one to sit on in the van after your leg, another to dry off with
- Cash: at the major exchanges they usually have food, exchange 30 is known for their pancake breakfast
- Bodyglide and sunscreen
- Ziplock bags: I suggest to bring three bags with your running outfits already packed into each one, after your leg put the sweaty clothes back into the bag and zip it up. No one wants a smelly van.
- Sleeping bag or a blanket and a pillow: you will get sleepy, it’s a certain
- Hat and gloves for at night, if you are like me, you’ll get cold
- A sense of humor: trust me, a sense of humor is necessary
What you might like to have:
- Compression sleeves
- Shoes to wear when you aren’t running, I like flip-flops
- A toothbrush: when you get to the finish line and realize you haven’t brushed your teeth in 35 hours you will be wishing you had it
- Bug spray
This year I am runner #9. We are on team #31, I Just Felt Like Running. FORREST GUMP FOR THE WIN!!!!! You can follow us on Twitter @FeltLKRunning.
One very last tip is about decorating your van. So uh, yeah, make sure that it’s not going to rain on Thursday night because your van will not look the same as it did when you went to bed. Also, don’t park near the sprinklers … because, well, it works the same as the rain does.