Race weekend! Vacation! BOTH IN ONE! Best thing ever right? I swear, if I could get paid to travel every weekend to run a half marathon I would make it my side hustle and do it every weekend. (Yo anyone want to sponsor that? Girl Travels the World Running 13 Miles Every Weekend In A New City. Is Unimpressive in Speed But Always Looks Cute.)

Traveling for a race is a special kind of crazy. Whenever I travel I make a packing list, because (as you know if you’ve been with me on this blog for a while now) I have a thing for lists. Yet I always manage to forget something anyway that I have to then buy at a local convenience store. (See: my earbuds for the Richmond Half; a car charger for my phone for the 2 hour drive from DFW Airport to the middle of the East Texas country; usually always my razor every single time.) But were it not for my packing list, I would undoubtedly forget about 10 times as many things.

image4Which covers step 1 of How to prepare for a racecation! Read on for more profound, insightful, super-experienced, super organized tips. (Disclaimer: I might often be self-deprecating in my humor.)

  1. Make super organized packing list broken down by what you’ll need each day you’re traveling.
  2. Realize you have no itinerary planned other than “run 13.1 miles” and “go to the Expo at some point.”
  3. Rack your brain for what you already know you want out of this destination – for me it is 1) Cajun and creole food, 2) Mardi gras, 3) Beignets, 4) there are places called the French Quarter and Bourbon Street, 5) “Pit Bulls and Parolees” and 6) Po boys. Okay, so we are mainly looking at food right now and a highly unlikely trip to tour the Villalobos Rescue Center that my travel buddy may not be as interested in as I am. (Make a note to run this by her just to, you know, see.)
  4. Start looking up “things to do in [your destination]” and getting recommendations from friends and get overwhelmed.
  5. Decide to overpack for every possible occasion – night out on Bourbon Street looking fly, super cazsh for a trolley ride down Charles Street, suddenly you have 8 outfits planned for 4 days.
  6. Open suitcase.
  7. Put running shoes in.image1
  8. Breathe a sigh of relief, because now at least you can run the half marathon.
  9. Try to arrange your clothes by outfit.
  10. Realize you are probably going to buy a bunch of crap shopping in NOLA and at the Expo and you better leave room in your suitcase.
  11. Remember that Southwest lets two bags fly free so mabes you just buy an extra tote bag and check your carry-on backpack for the trip home.
  12. Freak out and remember this isn’t just a tourist trip, you’re RUNNING 13.1 MILES, AND EVEN THOUGH YOU’VE DONE A FULL, 13 MILES IS STILL NO JOKE.
  13. Snap into seasoned half-marathoner mode and pack all your gear – your watch, your watch’s charger, your handheld water bottle, your phone armband, your compression socks, your GU, your NUUN, your Advil, your throwaway layers.image5
  14. Check your email to find a college grad you met recently asking your opinion on whether grad school is worth it and general career advice.
  15. Have quarter-life crisis while crying over your student loan balance.
  16. Tell her something like “nobody knows the exact formula for getting their dream job, we’re all just hustling and improvising” but make it sound better.
  17. Be impressed with yourself.
  18. Realize that crisis took you two hours and it is now 1am and you still haven’t packed.
  19. Throw all your cosmetics into your backpack and resign yourself to the fact that you’ll be flying in a pencil skirt as you leave straight from work for the airport.
  20. Realize your eyes are drooping and you are definitely going to forget something but it is time to go to sleep.
  21. Put your suitcase and backpack into your car at 2am so you won’t walk out without it tomorrow in your sleep-deprived haze.
  22. Check into your flight at work, lock up your boarding pass in the inner pocket of your purse you always forget you put stuff in, make mental note that you always freak out you’ve lost something until you realize you always put it in that pocket.

There may be more effective ways to do this. I highly suggest reading the tips of sane people like this post at You Signed Up for What?! and this one at We Run Disney. They will be way more helpful. I, on the other hand, am off to get more caffeine.


Do you like to travel for races? Are you addicted to lists? Do you like to leave packing until the last minute? Do you sometimes come up with random nuggets of wisdom at 1am over email?