Hopefully most of you are out and about enjoying the lovely spring temps!
I’ve begun to associate the warming weather with one of my favorite races- The Palmetto 200. The P200 is a 200 mile relay race from Columbia, SC to Charleston, SC. Teams of 4- 12 people take turns running 36 different legs in this A to B style race.
Most teams start very early in Columbia on Friday morning March 28 and finish mid afternoon on James Island Saturday, March 29th.
Last year was my first stab at this style of race. It’s very different from a typical long distance road race. Depending on how many legs of the course you run, most people average over 20 miles in the 24 hours period. Last year I ran around 23 total and this year I’ll be running about 22. Your legs are varying lengths… sometimes you’ll run only a couple of miles, others are upwards of 9 or 10. Depending on how many folks are in your team, you can have about 4 hours in between your runs. (We have a team of 10, and it works out to be about 4-5 hour rest.)
I am getting super excited about this years relay! We have a similar team to last year, with a couple of new teammates. (One of which is my brother!). This race is so spirited, it’s a little nutty at times (very little sleep involved…) and your body is given a great challenge– but to me, these are the elements that make the P200 so unique.
There are a few things I learned along the way last year, that I wanted to be able to share with folks doing the race for the first time. Hopefully these tips will make your ride as comfortable as possible!
1. Bring a foam roller. Yes- it takes up space, but you will be so happy to roll your legs/back/etc out in between your runs!
2. Bring a stick for rolling out your calves in the car. I found that the greatest physical challenge is having to sit in a car. Rolling while you sit, keeps those important muscles from getting so sore.
3. Don’t rely on finding restaurants along the way for food. Show up to the race prepared by having a cooler full of items. Be prepared to eat all of your meals out of this cooler/food bag.
Easy snacks are: bananas, apples, granola bars, pretzels, clif bars (energy bars), trail mix, bagels, hummus etc
Easy meals are: pre-made sandwiches (all types – peanut butter, turkey, veggie, black bean), pasta (easy to store in a tupperware container), pre-cooked veggie pizza sliced
4. Be sure to bring plenty of liquids. Yes, many transition stations do take place at gas stations early on…but as the day/night continues most are at churches. Most importantly have plenty of water (there aren’t water stops along your routes), Gatorade, coffee or tea (likely to be drank cold, but at 1 am before your 2 am run … you may need a little “pick-me-up”), and a little ginger ale is smart in case anyone starts to feel a little car sick.
5. Medication box. To include travel meds such as tums, ibuprofen, band aids for blisters, sunscreen, bug spray.
6. I would recommend you bring a change of clothes for each leg you are running during your race. It’s no fun to sit in a car in wet, stinky running clothes. Trust me, no one in your car wants you to do this. I also suggest having plastic bags to tie off your worn clothes to prevent the car from stinking. Also, these make good trash/recycling bags. I start to feel stressed out when the car gets dirty. And it will. Along with this comes the TOWEL. Sometimes if there are short legs, your car will have to drive to the next transition quickly and you wont have time to change into your clean clothes. You will need a towel to sit on in the car, so you don’t get your spot all gross.
7. Sleeping items. A travel pillow… a small blanket… a sleeping bag or tent for those vans who plan to sleep at the transition stations. Last year my car was so tired, when we got to our last transition station at 4:30 am ish, we just slept in the car. When we woke up, I saw that a lot of folks were sleeping on picnic tables, the grass, anywhere.
8. Good music. Music that makes you want to stay awake. Not take a nap.
9. Yes to Cucumber Facial Wipes. Last year, these really provided a “shower-like” experience. I’d rub a couple all over myself and it helps you feel fresh. I suppose you can include this in your toiletry kit. Items to include in that would be DEODORANT, toothbrush/paste, extra hair bands and any other personal items.
10. Extra running items. Never hurts to have an extra pair of shoes, socks, shorts, etc. Never know when an important item will have a blow out.
11. Bring something fun to decorate your car/write your team name on it. The competition between teams is really fun and it was fun last year to see all of the van decorations. “Group Shower” team — I’ll be looking for you and your rubber ducks.
That’s all I can think of at the moment ,but I’m sure there are more! The most important thing about this race is to just have fun and run. Cheer for your teammates, other teams you meet along the way, and try not to count all the roadkill from Columbia to Charleston.
If you have run the race before, please leave any advice you would have for newbies!
Our team is called #chafedunmentionables so be on the look out!
Most of the team after we finished!