No, I am not talking about your local tavern, pub or bar... I am talking about the hydration tent at any pit stop, grab n' go, lunch or camp!
Yes, you need to drink! I think they covered that pretty well at the Getting Started Meetings or any Training Walk you may have attended. But let’s break this down. You walk, you sweat (yes, women sweat!), you lose fluids, you need to replace them. Plain and simple.
Water and Gatorade are a must for every 3-Day walker and crew member! You should be drinking a bottle of water and a bottle of Gatorade every two to three miles when walking or for every hour of cardiovascular activity. The water keeps your muscles from cramping and the Gatorade helps keep your electrolytes in balance. With this balance, your 3-Day will be a great experience.
I have heard lots of comments about Gatorade… I don’t like the flavor, it tastes funny, too many calories. Let me address these. 1. Flavor – there are several BASIC flavors on the 3-Day. Nothing fancy…red, orange, yellow, blue. Like I said basic! 2. Taste – same thing. Basics here too! 3. Calories – listen, yes, it has calories BUT you are burning TONS of calories on this event. Your body needs sodium, potassium and chloride that are essential for hydration and muscle function.
I have also been experimenting with Gatorade's new G-series. The G-series is a 3 part system - G1 is PRIME, it's a Carb and B Vitamin boost - G2 is the Gatorade we know and love, and G3 is RECOVER. The G1 is like a sugar burst... It gotta me ready to walk, but I used it before I left so it was about 45 minutes before we actually walked. About 1/2 walk through the 4 mile walk, my boost was gone! The G2 - I still love... Gatorade has saved my butt on event several times... look back in my blog to 2006 San Diego! ;) But the best part is G3 - RECOVER! I have used other recovery drinks in the past but to have one that is part of the Gatorade family is great! These drink is consumed after exercise and helps replenish your body with protein and electrolytes. It really helps to replace all the vitamins and minerals you lose especially after a LONG day of training or event walking! I have used these before and swear by them. Now would be a good time to try them and see if they work for you. On Event is not the time to be experimenting with your nutrition and hydration!
So start drinking up! A hydrated body is a happy body. As fabulous as the medical team is, you don’t want to have to meet them on event, unless it’s as you cross the finish line and they are cheering you on! Remember, Drink + Pee = No IV. Walk and talk with you soon. Amy :)
Ok… the feet are happy with those shoes and socks. Now let’s move on to other walk essentials.
Let’s accessorize! Yes, accessorize! What are shoes without a great purse? Yes, a purse for your hips! You will need a fanny pack! They are things you need to have with you… just in case! Fanny packs, like purses, come in lots of different shapes, sizes, colors and prices. (disclaimer time… remember, this is just my advice! Not gospel!) You need something big enough for 2 water bottles, sunscreen, lip protection, blister pack, extra socks, small wallet, cell phone (in the off position), rain poncho and camera. No, I know you are not a pack mule but there are things you need to be prepared for. There are certain essentials that you will need for an event like this. The 3-Day is not just a walk around the park. There will be varied terrain and weather and you need to be prepared.
Back to the fanny… pack! You do NOT need to spend a lot of money on this item. This is my old fanny pack (Anthony is now the proud owner… minus the frog! He’s mine!). You’ll notice… it’s not flashy, but very practical. It has TWO water bottle holders… a must! It helps balance your stride as you walk… I know, sounds silly but very true! Plus a center section for other necessities. Walmart and Target have great options in their sporting goods sections. Try them on! MUST DO!!! It needs to be comfortable since you will be spending lots of time wearing it! Walmart’s is about $11 and Target’s is about $21. I have had them both. The Walmart one wore a little too quickly and Anthony is now using my Target one! Enough said! My advice--- try them both! Other sources to consider are bike shops, Bass Pro Shop or Dick’s Sporting Goods. First, let’s start with the TWO water bottle holders...You need TWO!
One for water, one for Gatorade. (if you don’t like Gatorade, tough! The stuff will save your butt during training and on event! Water it down but DRINK IT!) Speaking of water bottles, most of the bottles that come with fanny packs have very narrow openings and are made of hard plastic. You will want to replace these with soft sided sports bottles. These bottles should have a wide opening so it’s easy to add ice and liquid to. On event, water and Gatorade are in gallon jugs and pouring them into narrow openings is messy. Plus ice does not fit easily!
There is another option, if the fanny purse is not your “thing.” You can use a Camelbak hydration system. It’s like a backpack with a watertight bladder to fill with water. They come in several sizes. Just remember, you will need somewhere to put your other walk essentials plus you will need a water bottle for Gatorade. I have used both fanny packs and camelbaks…they both work well. It’s just a matter of finding what works for you. Now is the time to try them out!
Before we get into the details of the contents, let’s talk Ziplock! You need Ziplock bags! Why? 1. Keeps everything organized. Nothing like tearing your entire fanny pack apart just to find your lip balm. 2. It’s rains! Even on the 3-Day! 3. Smelly socks are just that… SMELLY!!
Ok, center section of that fanny pack! What’s in it? All your stuff! ;) ICE – No, not ice, ICE… In Case of Emergency contact info. You need to have a small wallet with ID, insurance card, debit card, small amount of cash (Twisty Treat ice cream is a great treat 15 miles into the day!). You will also want to have a 3x5 card with your emergency contact info, any allergies and other helpful info. Keep all of this in the same Ziplock bag.
CELL PHONE – ok, cell phone is handy BUT in the off position while you are on the route! If you just have to make that call that just can’t wait until Pit 3, step off the route, stop walking and place the call or TEXT! Cell phones are for emergencies only on event. Plus they make great alarm clocks while in tent city! But seriously, please NO cell phones used on the route. Crew members will remind (yell at) you to turn them off… and we don’t like to yell… but we do because we care and safety is job ONE! Plus walking and texting is dangerous! I have seen plenty of signs just jump out in front of people as they have been texting on the route! Keep your cell phone in the same ziplock as your wallet.
SUNSCREEN – there is no sense getting skin cancer in the fight against breast cancer. You will want a sunscreen that will not run when you sweat. Stinging eyes hurt! Coppertone Sport is great… especially the spray can and it also comes in a stick for your face. It doesn’t run and burn your eyes. Bullfrog is also pretty good. Make sure it’s a high enough SPF to keep those harmful rays away…. 30 or higher! Try a couple to find one that works for you. Also remember to reapply several times throughout the day. PLUS don’t forget your lips! Rehydrating causes lip protection to disappear. Keep your lip protection handy at all times… try one that comes with a clip to hang on your lanyard. I have seen lots of puffy lips from sun poisoning… don’t become Angelina or Anthony! Keep all your sunscreen together in a gallon ziplock.
EXTRA SOCKS – You’re thinking, I will have socks on, why do I need extras? Well, short answer – feet sweat, sweaty feet = blisters! Enough said! By changing your socks during lunch, your feet stay dry and happy. Yeah! Keep your socks in their own ziplock and then put the smelly ones right back in the bag!
RAIN PONCHO – Ok, it’s Florida. It rains! Mother Nature is not guaranteeing a “perfect” 3-Day weather weekend, so invest the 99 cents in a disposable rain poncho… personally, I would get 3… one for each day! They also make great ground covers during lunch.
BLISTER PACK – I know, you’re thinking, “I’m not get to get blisters” or “They have medical at all the pits so I don’t need to pack my own stuff”, well… guess again! You WILL get at least one blister between training and the event! It’s just the way it is! YOU need to be prepared to take care of your feet. (Emphasis on YOU!... even though there are medical personnel on event, you are responsible for you! Learn how to protect your feet and leave the hard cases for the doctors!) Blister packs are very easy to make and you probably have everything you need already in your medicine cabinet.
1. Bandaids – The fabric ones are the best. Make sure they have the good adhesive!
2. Neosporin – The “secret” healer of 3-Day blisters.
3. Moleskin – you may not have this in your medicine cabinet but it’s worth the stroll down the footcare aisle at Walgreens or CVS. Buy the thinner kind.
4. Baby powder – the travel size is perfect. Dry feet = happy feet!
Here are a few other options you may find helpful.
1. Travel size first aid kit – They are 99 cents at Target. The plastic case is worth the price of admission. It can hold everything you need. Plus it comes with some bandaids and antiseptic wipes.
2. Manicure or sewing kit scissors – these are perfect for cutting moleskins as needed.
3. Toe sleeves – Another little wonder that has saved several toes… including mine! Another find in the footcare aisle.
4. Blister bandaids – these are a bit more specialized and are available at pit stops or Walgreens again. Use the Travel First Aid Kit to hold the bandaids, toe sleeves, antiseptic wipes, moleskin and scissors… yes, they will fit. Everything for the Blister Pack will fit nicely in a Quart sized Ziplock bag.
Use the FREEZER type… they are thicker. Now, that you have all the stuff for the Blister Pack, let me share the “3-Day Way to Protect Blisters.”
1. Never POP, lance or drain a blister! NEVER! Why? This is the body’s way of protecting the problem area.
2. Gently clean the top of the blister.
3. Apply Neosporin to the top and cover with a bandaid.
4. If the spot still rubs once you put your shoe back on, add mole skin over the top of the bandaid. If you use moleskin just be aware that you need to leave it on until it’s ready to come off. You may pull skin off… ouch!
5. If you have a large blister or one under your toenail, go to medical. They will lance it and bandage it. Ok… the last “must have” is a fabulous miracle product…
BODY GLIDE – I think this literally saved a few butts on event… mine included. This type of distance walking causes skin to rub. Rubbing is BAD! Body glide comes in a deodorant type stick container so no messy hands or gooey feeling like with Vaseline. It’s great for feet, toes, heels, upper arms, thighs, knees …and even a few other areas! Wink, wink! I would highly recommend getting your own because you will not want to share… especially if you know where other people may be putting it! ;) This is available at Sports Authority or at a bike shop. Just beware of the Body Glide with the RED cap. This is the Ben Gay version. Great for after the walk but may cause some issues on the walk itself. It can heat up really fast!!! If you need Ben Gay, try Bio-Freeze. This comes in a roll on and it great for tired muscles and minor aches and pains. The Medical Staff uses this. It is not available in stores, but is online. Great stuff! There is a new kind of Ben Gay with a massage cap...helps massage those sore muscles without smelly hands!
So, these are the basics that I would recommend. Yes, it will all fit in a fanny pack…. HONEST! As you continue your training, you will find other things that work for you. My miscellaneous things include a yoga strap for stretching at stops, Destin baby ointment for road rash (it helps with the sting and make the burning go away!) and a dri-wick towel to help me keep my hands and face dry plus it keeps my hands busy to help keep “sausage” fingers under control. A golf towel will also work.
I can do a Fanny Pack workshop, if it would help. Just let me know.You can do it! Get out and walk!