I haven’t done a normal marathon packing post in a while, and since I have four fall/winter marathons coming up, all (?) of which I’ll be traveling to without renting a car, I thought I’d share my experiments with packing “light.” For this trip, I’m flying out to Minneapolis on Saturday morning, running the Twin Cities Marathon on Sunday, and flying back on Monday night.
I plan on visiting the Mall of America (to ride a roller coaster!) on Monday before my flight, so I’ll have all my luggage with me then (they have lockers for rent at the mall). I’m also using the metro system a lot (to get from the airport to downtown (where my hotel is, not far from the marathon start), from downtown to the expo and back, and probably from the marathon finish back to downtown (unless I use one of the race’s buses)) so I decided to go with a small roller bag plus an expandable briefcase-style bag that will slip over the rolling bag’s handle for ease of carry. I considered using my normal roller but I wanted to see how two smaller bags would work, and I also considered using just one large backpack and skipping a roller altogether, but I thought I’d get tired shlepping all my stuff through the airport and on the trains.
Ok, so what’s all in the picture above? Starting from top left and working (sorta) down and across:
- Lipault Wheeled Pilot Case – fits two packing cubes, all my toiletries, socks & underwear, massage tools, two sandwich Ziplocs of gels/gummies and Clif bars, and a Garmin watch in a case. Unfortunately it does not fit my shoes along with all those other items.
- Nike Studio Kit 2.0 (almost invisibly sitting on top of the roller case) – to use as my “purse” but it’s big enough to fit my kindle, tablet, papers/notebook, snacks, etc.
- Herschel Supply Co. Packable Daypack – to bring to the expo so I can carry all the expo goodies back
- Socks and underwear (in Ziploc bags)
- Hoka One One Clifton – I just got these but they’re actually the Clifton 1 from last year – I loved them in the 10-Miler and hopefully they’ll hold up for the full 26.2 (and beyond!)
- Road ID (on the shoes)
- Adidas Adipure Slides – This is the most important new thing I will always pack – slides! I realized after South Dakota that once I was back in the hotel room, I really didn’t want to put my sneakers on after the race, so I actually just stayed in my room the whole afternoon. Slides won’t hurt my toes post-marathon, and they can also be used as slippers so your feet don’t have to touch nasty hotel carpet (but can be used as actual shoes unlike slippers). The Adipure slides are very lightweight.
- CEP calf compression sleeves – just in case it’s really cold the morning of the race (it effectively transforms my capri running tights into full length tights, although it looks terribly dorky)
- Garbage bag
- Assorted head and neck warmers (e.g. Bondi Band, Buff, headband)
- SPI Running belt
- Hat (black and grey) – from Target, I think
- Gloves (pink) – also from Target, I think
- Oakley sunglass case & glasses (on hat) – I’m actually packing my training sunglasses instead of my fancier photocromatic ones because for some reason I want to wear them. I got them years ago, but I think they are the Radarlock version? Or maybe the Radar Path Asian Fit?
- “Regular” sunglasses (on American Flag soft bag – great deal on Amazon – ‘MERICA!) – to wear while not running (I could have downsized here and just brought a single pair, but I splurged and am packing two).
- Gas Cap Hat
- Clothes – Zoot Sports IceFil shirt (in case it’s hot), long-sleeved pink shirt (for expected temps), white rain jacket (stained, to toss), pink rain jacket, CW-X Stabilyx 3/4 tights, “Everything Hurts And I’m Dying” cotton t-shirt and comfy black pants to wear Sunday night/Monday, pj shorts, cheap grey fleece to toss, and grey sweatpants & animal-print fleece for bag check (to wear after race). The weather is supposed to be perfect running weather (partly cloudy and temps in the 40s to a high of 60) so I’m not packing as many “contingency” clothes as I sometimes do.
- Koss Fitclips headphones
- Charger and cables
- Kindle and Samsung Tablet (Galaxy 4)
- Footstar massage ball and a massage tool (I got the tool at some expo and it doesn’t have the brand on it – sorry I can’t remember! You could try this or this.)
- Garmin 620 – with charger in a hard sunglasses case (otherwise I find the buttons get pushed in transit and the watch does weird things and dies). BTW it’s been finding satellites much faster recently in NYC – more satellites up there now?
- Pink flower, blue flower, and hot pink long gloves (back up at the top of the photo) – I don’t have a great costume for this race, so I’m just going with a pink theme. No real reason.
- A. Saks Expandable Tote Bag – only $35 on Amazon right now, this bag will swallow everything you own, so you have to be careful not to overpack (to leave room for Mall of America goodies!).
- Toiletries – including three different anti-chafe products – Ruby’s Lube, the unfortunately branded Monistat Chafing Relief Powder Gel, and some Skin Strong Slather packets so I can bring a little packet with me.
- First aid kit – This has gotten a lot bigger after my EMT training, although I’m leaving the tourniquet at home.
- Accel 2nd Surge Ultra Energy Gel in Double Espresso flavor and some gummies
- Clif Bar Trail Mix flavor and some other granola bars
- Decaf tea, Nuun in grape flavor, Trader Joe gummy candy
- Little “go” bag that has an external battery charger in it (along with an extra set of contacts, hair tie, lip balm, etc.)
- Wet Wipes
- Glasses (Warby Parker)
- Moleskine notebook, Pilot Hi-Tec-C Maica Gel Ink Pen, and printouts of travel info, ticket, and marathon info (ugh, the Warby Parker combined with the Moleskine makes me sound like such a hipster!)
- Thick scarf
- Extra Ziploc bags
- Canvas bag with: lip balm (Aquaphor Lip Repair with SPF 30), individually wrapped wet wipes, mints, peppermint oil, Where’s the Finish rubber bracelets, and another Clif Trail Mix bar for the flight
- NOT PICTURED – my travel clothes, wallet/iphone, and all the bagels I got today, plus peanut butter packets, cheese sticks, and PBJ sandwiches I’ll make for the flight. I know, it’s like I think they won’t have food in Minneapolis. But if you’re a runner you know it’s nice to stick to foods that won’t give you problems in the morning!
Also, yes, I PACK my marathon shoes. A lot of space could be saved by simply wearing them, but after I was vomited on twice on airplanes, I pack my precious, precious shoes.
And now for my expectations! I always try to include my expectations because I think a lot of how someone feels about a race depends on what they were expecting.
- I’m expecting it to be “The Most Beautiful Urban Marathon in America.”
- I think the course is mostly flat to rolling, except for a crazy 3 mile hill between miles 20 to 23!
- Potentially cold (temps in the 40s at the start), but secretly I’m expecting it to be perfect weather.
- Easy walk from my hotel to the start, but I’m expecting a long wait for the bus or train back to the hotel, so I’m checking sweatpants and a sweatshirt so I don’t freeze while waiting.
- I’m aiming for 12-13 minute miles (ideally between 12:00 and 12:30 – or a 5:15 to 5:30 marathon), but I’m not sure how realistic that is considering my training (longest run was a single 16-miler at a much slower pace) and recurring knee pain.
- And finally, I’m a little worried I’m sick – I’ve felt bad all day today, with a headache that won’t go away and a slight loss of appetite (only slight – I’m not dead!). I even took a nap but the headache didn’t go away. So…. yeah. If I’m sick, I’m sick, and that’s gonna suck and change all of my expectations. Hopefully I’m just tired and can go to bed early tonight and feel better for my big travel day tomorrow…
Have you ever visited the Mall of America? What’s your favorite flavor of Clif Bar? Do you have any packing tips or tricks? Share in the comments!