Originally written for The Crew OCR.
With race season just around the corner, a lot of my friends who are racing for the first time are starting to ask questions like: "What do I bring? What time should I arrive? What do I do when I get there?" So, I decided to do a rundown of my typical race day to share with all of you. I will go over what to pack in your race bag and what to expect on race day. Now I know every OCR athlete is different, and many have their own version and input, but this will hopefully give those first-time racers some ease of mind about what to expect. Feel free to leave comments, questions, and suggestions below.
These items are pretty standard:
-Cash for parking ($10) and bag check ($5) - note: races may vary
-Photo ID and credit card
-Signed waiver and info sheet
-Sunscreen and bug spray (get the active/sport kind)
-Scissors (to cut band flaps)
-Advil/ibuprophen and any other medical needs (extra contacts, inhalers, etc.)
-A FULL change of clothes (shirt, shorts, undergarments, socks, and shoes)
-A small towel
-A trash bag or two (for muddy and wet items)
-Water (for before/after race)
These items are optional, but also fairly standard:
-Body glide and body markers
-Phone battery charging stick
-Fuel for during the race
-Camelback/racebelt filled with water
-First aid supplies
-Small bottle of soap/shampoo
After I pack up my race bag, I then lay out all of my race clothes and think about any extra layers I may need due to the weather. I also pack up my pre-race food. I'm a stickler for a good night's sleep before a race, so I try to get to bed as early as possible. The time I wake up is based on my start time. I take my start time, minus 1.5 hours (time at venue), minus the drive time, minus 1 hour (time getting ready to leave) and that is what time I wake up. Now, keep in mind, this has a little bit of wiggle room padded in. The later in the day my start time is, the more wiggle room I give myself, as you are likely to run into more traffic and longer lines at registration, bag check, and bathrooms.
After you cross the finish line, you will grab your medal and some free post-race grub, like protein shakes and bananas. Some races will have a professional photo booth set up for you. Make sure to find your free t-shirt before you forget about it. You will probably run into a few friends before you finally reach the bag pickup area and get your stuff. Then head to the showers and hose down the best you can before heading to the changing tents. Strip down and dry off. Put all your wet gross stuff in your trash bag and then put it all back into your bag. None of your items should be ruined - take them home and rinse them again before washing them. Your shoes can be rinsed again and then sun dried. Once dressed, you can head back to the venue to check your results, grab your free beer, get more food, and find your friends!