Race Prep & Packing – The Baby Edition

Prep Work

The PEI marathon was Sean’s first marathon and also our first race ever.  I say “our” because prepping for race day isn’t an individual sport.  It’s a team activity that takes planning, coordination and organization to make sure everything goes off without a hitch.  Part of the 18 weeks of training is figuring out all the minute details of race prep so that the morning of is a no-brainer.  From things like which pair of underwear you’re wearing to the seemingly unimportant task of cutting open your package of energy gummies so you can easily access them during the race – all these details need to be planned and accounted for in the days leading up to the big event.  So I say PEI was “our” first race because even though I wasn’t running, I was involved in the routine.

Race Day Gear Laid Out and Ready to Go

Part of preparing is making sure you have all your gear ready to go.  Water belt, water bottles, drinks, snacks, gels, headphones, socks, shoes, shorts, shirts, underwear, sports bras, headbands, hair elastics, body glide…the list goes on.  And this is for spring/summer running.  The list doubles for winter running.  Now imagine trying to do all of this away from home.

When packing for the PEI marathon there was an entire full-sized suitcase dedicated to running gear.  And remember, Sean was the only one running.  Travelling for this race was our first test of strategic packing.  Having honed our morning running routine it was essential to replicate it the morning of the race at the hotel.  Sean brought his own breakfast, electrolyte drink mix, snacks, his foam roller and even epsom salts for a bath.  Don’t leave anything to chance.  Where normally we could go for a weekend away with a bag a piece, we essentially doubled our baggage.

Add a Baby to the Mix

Oh wait.  More like quadrupled it.  I forgot about Baby Girl.  She was 3 weeks old at the time. Who would have thought something that didn’t do much other than sleep, poop and eat would need so much stuff?!  This baby was headed for her first hotel stay at 3 weeks old to watch Daddy run his first marathon ever.  So into the car also goes; pack n’ play, ALL the diapers, wipes, baby wrap, clothes, nursing pillow, blankets and the stroller.  We drive an SUV and to say that it was full is kind of an understatement.  On top of all of Sean’s extra gear, we needed to pack all the baby things as well – if anyone had have looked in the car they would have thought we were running away…forever.  Good thing we weren’t taking passengers with us.

Do Babies Sleep?!

Any runners out there know that getting proper rest before a race (or any run for that matter) is essential for optimal performance.  Now if you have kids you may or may not remember the wonderful sleep patterns of 3 week old babies.  Maybe you’ve blocked it from your brain because it’s was so mentally exhausting that you body forced you to forget it.  Fortunately for us, Cecilia was a decent sleeper.  But I was so riddled with fear that the night before Sean’s race was going to be one of those “exception” nights and she wouldn’t allow us a moment’s rest.  I even offered to get a separate hotel room so Sean could sleep without being woken by a screaming hungry infant.

As a concerned running wife, these are the things that concerned me.  Would he get enough rest?  Would we (“we” being Cecilia and I) interfere with his morning prep?  Could this potentially throw his race?  So much stress!

Luckily, we survived.  Sean got up as planned, followed his morning routine and prepared to run.  I think I was more in a panic when I woke up than him because I had overslept my alarm and now my morning plan was in chaos.  But it wasn’t my day.  We packed ourselves into the car and headed for the start line.  All the pre-planning had worked.  Weeks of building a routine and 3 weeks of modifying it to include Baby Girl had all paid off. Sean ran and we drove all over the city hitting up as many water stations as we could to cheer him on.  We were there at the finish line when he crossed it, crossing the next thing off his bucket list – finish first marathon.