Packing for Pocatello

I came wide awake this morning at 5 a.m., thinking about my race day clothes. I am NOT an early morning person, so it says something that I actually got out of bed and laid out my clothes for Pocatello right then. I went back to sit on the bed for a minute and realized that, dammit, I was up.

So this morning, I packed my suitcase for Idaho. My plan is to wear shorts and either a short-sleeved shirt with gloves, or add a layer with my thin, long-sleeved HCTR shirt depending on starting temperature. I threw in both my big hand held bottle and my 70-ounce Camelbak. I will also need to carry a pack with the EpiPen and every bit of race-related food that I think I might need to eat, seeing as I can’t simply rely on eating whatever an aid station has. All that typical fare, pb&j sandwhiches, crackers, pretzels, oranges, gold fish — I can’t eat any of it. Potatoes, yes; bananas, yes; chocolate, if I wanted to…which I never do. No sports drinks if it has orange flavoring. So I’m carrying a bunch of stuff.

I go back and forth on hand-held bottle or Camelbak. The benefit to hand-held is that I’m just wearing one thing strapped to my body, the waist pack with the EpiPen. I can wear a bigger pack if I want to more easily accomodate all that food (and maybe even stuff my camera in there). The down side to the hand-held is its only 20 ounces and I have to carry it in my hand. I have one aid station in my 17 miles, pretty much smack dab in the middle. The back-of-the-packers last year took a total of 5:00 to go the whole 17, and to be realistic, I have to plan that I’m in the 4-5:00 hour range. Which means the first half is likely to take me 2 to 2:30 hours. That big hand-held lasts me for approximately 2 hours on a moderate day.  If the day is too warm or my run (heaven help me) takes longer or I just happen to drink more, then I have a good chance of running out of water either side of the aid station.

The benefit to the Camelbak is that I can fill it only half way and still have plenty of water. It leaves my hands free as well, which might be nice for both the big long uphill and then the nice fun downhill that follows. The bad is that it has small pockets and cannot accomodate the EpiPen, so I STILL have to strap on a waist pack. Because the Camelbak comes down so low, I have to go with the narrower pack…which means more creative stuffing of food in various places. I hate wearing the Camelbak and the waist pack at the same time.

(I know I need to do two things for the next trail event:  get two of the Amphipod hand-helds with the hole in the middle and buy a Nathan vest. Those things would give me much better options…I’ve been meaning to do both and have just not gotten around to either. Sigh. Procrastinator! In any case, this thought doesn’t help me with my current delimma.)

I am bringing all my options with me. I have to decide and commit, as there is no drop bag during my leg of the race. One minute, I feel super confident and think, “Hand-held, baby! The weather will be great and you’re going to FLY!” The next minute, it’s all, “Better safe than sorry. You’ve practiced with the Camelbak — just go with it.”

My case is essentially packed. All I have left to do is decide what I’m wearing on the plane, fix the food I’m going to carry with me as I travel (not leaving anything to chance — I have got to have good food options the day before the race!), and throw my jammies in.

This week is light in the workout department. Tomorrow, I’ll run the Danskin course with the TriZones group. I may have a pleasure swim that evening out at Quarry Lake with some friends. Thursday will be my usual Lady Bird Lake run with Dr. Stephanie, though I told her it was going to need to be short. Friday morning, I’m on the plane!

My head is not in the every day things this week. Yesterday during the Tri Zones workout (we were practicing bike-to-run transitions), I actually took off without my helmet on one repeat. I laughed and jokingly told everybody I was DQed…and then really DQed myself. If my head wasn’t in it enough to notice that kind of stuff, I didn’t need to be out on my bike anymore. So I ran with the last folks finishing and called it a day.

My body feels pretty good and my head is doing all the taper things that I normally do. All that’s left to do is obsessively print out information on the race and reread past race reports. That means I’m ready for race day!

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Published by Leah Nyfeler

I'm a writer, editor, runner, and adventurer who is always looking for the next new story, exciting adventure, and good meal/book/movie. My focus is on helping people find their best, healthiest self through sharing what I know and how I've come to learn it. In addition to my blog "Enjoying the Journey: Observations on the Fit Life" at, my articles have appeared in a variety of print and online magazines. You can hear me as part of the 2015 Austin cast of Listen To Your Mother.

0 thoughts on “Packing for Pocatello

  1. Leah,

    One suggestion (especially if you are not going to fill your Camelbak bladder full) is to put stuff in the main Camelbak pocket next to the bladder – your Epi-Pen should fit just fine in there. I have used the tactic before to store extra sandwiches and stuff as well – just another option to consider on your list of options!!

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