While some of us (me) spend most of February just wishing it was March, some people don’t have the luxury of living vicariously through NBC’s Olympic prime-time coverage. Some people have big Spring goals. Some people have 11 other team members depending on them. Some people are eyeing a Ragnar Podium and you best be sure that they are eying that top spot.
Now, I’ve completed a Reebok Ragnar Road Relay before. (We somehow ended up placing first in the the mixed, sub-masters category! Who knew that was even a thing?) I know that things get weird over the course of ~200 miles: We affectionately called our van the “shit-pit,” somehow someones’s pillow came into very snuggly contact with someone else’s very sweaty towel, I ate more Pringles than would be advisable and after all was said and done, our van’s breaks went out. Thankfully, no one was hurt but it did give us a story for the ages.
Knowing what I know about team relays and with the first race seemingly right around the corner, I thought it might be time for a chat with the teams of the Oiselle Podium Project to see how they were preparing for the unexpected. How does one make sure they don’t have to poop in the middle of their leg exactly? What’s the best way to drop the hammer on that 10 mile run that starts at 3:00 AM? Turns out, these teams are prepared! (And sleep is for suckers!)
How is your team preparing for sleeping (or not sleeping!) in a van, parking lot or tent?
Bird Machine GRRLS: Sleep?! Hahaha! Fast teams don't sleep.
Bird Machine CHI: Sleep deprivation training - having a 15 month old who still wakes up multiple times a night. I haven't slept in the better part of 2 years!
Bird Machine NWP: I’ve been wearing my Yeti to random mall parking lots and stretching out on the ground next to my car. It’s important to do this at random times to help maximize the training of manipulating your circadian rhythm.
Bird Machine CO: One word: GLAMPING!
Bird machine Tahoe knows how to recover!
After having your nighttime nap, what’s your strategy for waking up and running?
Bird Machine UT: LOTS of Coffee, adrenaline, fancy cold brews on ice, french press and mini camp stove ready to fire up. In other-words, CAFFEINE UP!
Bird Machine GRRLS: Again, what is this sleep to which you refer?
Bird Machine Tahoe: Making sure we get some early morning runs in...first thing in the morning before your body is really awake... helps to prepare for the shock.
Forget running after coffee, how about running with coffee?!
What does one eat in the middle of the night when you’ve got to try to sleep, run fast or make sure you don’t poop during your next leg?
Bird Machine NWP: After the first leg I'll eat a sandwich but for after the second leg (and no one ever believes me) McDonalds Chicken Nuggets, though I have settled for Safeway fried chicken nuggets. Your stomach is soooo acidic at that point that you need some good ol' fried something to soak it up.
Bird Machine CC: I think pooping your pants while running is a totally legit and valid fear. I'm down to buy diapers for us to wear while running. Think, call-her bun huggers? For the most part I think we're going to stick to easy-on-the-tummy foods, Picky Oats, Picky Bars, bread, bagels etc. We'll be vigilant about bathroom stops.
BirdMachineCO: Our first year, our van looked like a Whole Foods smorgasbord and our attitude was “eat to one’s delight, we’ve earned it!” Well, we also paid for our indulgence with some gassy, bloated and crampy runners. Eating bland and easy-to-digest foods will help, and not experimenting with new foods during the race.
Bird Machine Tahoe: Coffee, Bananas, Toast, Almond Butter and Oatmeal. Run. Nap (HA!). Repeat.
Any tips for surviving the late-night porta-potty visit? Those things are DARK at night!
BirdMachineCO: Bring a headlamp, but resist the temptation to shine it at the hole, be really careful where you point your head, it ain’t pretty.
Bird Machine NWP: For some reason I always forgo the headlamp when I night-poop. It's not smart. You literally have no control over what you're sitting in, and if you hover, you might leave something for someone else to sit in, and fondling with your hands to find tp...it's just not a good place to be fondling in the dark. ALWAYS wear your headlamp. Also, I don't breathe in through my nose!
Bird Machine CC: EEK! Maybe it's best not to see what's happening in the porta potty party. We'll have SO much hand sanitizer and headlamps just incase.
Bird Machine UT: Headlamps, teammates outside the door and our own toilet paper. The woods: nature's cleanest bathroom
We see you crew members! How do you plan on keeping the cranky cranking?
Bird Machine CHI: Our crew members will be armed with 'dangling carrots' such as Starbucks coffee, cool cans of La Croix, and ice cream sandwiches to motivate runners to haul ass. They will also have air horns and megaphones to help.
BirdMachineCO: Cranky is not in our vocabulary. We LOVE a weekend getaway that involves trail miles and girl time, with a side of competitive edge.
Has your team selected a theme song/party anthem?
Bird Machine CC: We are #blessed to have THE @runningwithmusic on our team. So we'll leave that to Trax. (We’ll share Trax’s playlist once she’s created it so we can all benefit from her mastery! Share the Bird Beats!)
Follow along with the teams’ training and racing on Instagram!