How to plan your next race road trip
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If you caught my post about preparing for a night race, you know I was headed to Madison, WI for a 10k that started at 8pm. Also if you are familiar with my blog, you know I drive to all the races. While this is a shorter road trip, I am going to highlight the essentials that made my trip to Madison great!
I have to state the obvious – make sure your car is ready for the task. Always check the tires, and make sure you’re current with your oil status an fluids, then fill it full of gas and get ready for adventure.
Where are you going? The first thing in planning your road trip is to locate the exact address and the time you need to be there. This way you can count backwards and plan from there. We needed to be to the race expo at the Monona Terrace before 5pm, and then to the race start at 8pm. This left all day Saturday for planning shenanigans, with a 3 hour drive both ways.
Grab your friends. While solo road trips can be just as fun… bringing along a friend can be even more fun! I picked up my road trip buddy, around 8 am, Saturday morning. We were up for anything. This also allows for you to switch drivers, for when you are tired or need to tweet your happenings. *Spoiler alert, driving home after an 8pm race, it was nice to have 2 drivers.
Snacks. You never know when runger will strike, it’s best to be prepared. The snacks at a convenience store are over priced and are few and far between, and does anyone really want to eat something from a rest stop vending machine? Bringing along what you like is also healthier and wont jeopardize your race. We had packed some waters, granola bars and bananas. Ok – fine we stopped and I purchased some gum.
Music / podcasts. Sitting in silence can be refreshing, but when the open road is calling, you need something to keep your mind off the boredom of the pavement. Some suggestions: bring along your favorite mixed tape, a CD, create an new playlist on your device, XM radio, download a podcast, grab an audiobook. While we were occupied with chatting most of the time, we did rock out to some tunes on the XM radio as well as catch up on the Forenic Files. XM plays old episodes of the show on Headline News, nothing more creepier than driving through the night listening to murder mysteries.
Places to stop. It is important to know where you need to end up, but it’s also important to know what is on your route. Will there be a museum? A store? A Brewery? A tattoo parlor? Since we had planned ahead and knew when we needed to be where, we had stopped at the Madison Farmers Market and made a trip to New Glarus Brewery. There are sooo many things to see and do, why not put them on your to do list?
Be spontaneous. Sometimes the most fun is when you haven’t planned it. Allow yourself to try something new, or take the road less traveled… a little cliche? I don’t care, it’s so true…life is very short, enjoy it! We made sure to add some spontaneity to our trip, we saw a sign on the road for some historical site – Pendarvis, so we just pulled off the exit and followed the signs through town. It really wasn’t anything, I mean I wouldn’t even stop to buy a post card…but it was fun and led us to make a stop at Crazy Franks consignment store, which led us to a bag of 25 cent popcorn.
We also enjoyed another spontaneous adventure that afternoon. Our trip to the New Glarus Brewery led us to Belleville, WI. At the brewery they gave us coupons for a free draught at a local establishment. We randomly picked a place, and “bellied up to the bar.” As we were sitting there, we met a guy who travels to Iowa City a lot.
I’ll get to the actual details of the race in my next post, but maybe this will give you some more insight as to why I like to travel, by car to all the races. Don’t let a few miles discourage you to travel to your next race. With a little prep and some spontaneity you can have an excellent road trip.
So what’s next for me? Well I will be trekking back to Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, MN.