Tell Me Tuesday: How to Travel Well
So SBS and I have been on the road quite a bit, and here’s the thing: I love, love, love meeting mother runners; listening to stories about victories (and occasional injuries); cheering at races; and hearing, “I’ve never felt this short before,” as somebody gets sandwiched between us for a picture. I am definitely not complaining about how fortunate I am to have this be my job.
But here’s the other thing: I suck at traveling. The actual act of extracting myself from my everyday life–packing, making sure the fridge is filled, playdates are made, flute lessons are remembered–then folding myself into a seat made for somebody who 5’4″ and hurtling through time zones with no snacks to be had unless I remembered them myself (not likely) is just extremely unpleasant. I try to make it better by remembering snacks, downloading podcasts (not our own), and trying to relax, but it doesn’t come easy. Sarah always talks about how well she slept on the flight; I can’t remember the last time I slept, unless you count about 10 neck-jerking minutes in a vague haze on the way home from Kansas City in March.
And coming home? Although the packing part is easier–if you brought it, bring it home–the actual re-entry is as bumpy as a typical plane landing in mountainous Denver. There is none of the unpacking time I used to enjoy, oh, 10 years ago, when I could kind of reset and realign with the routine. The kids often greet me as I drive down the street, and are with me, meltdowns and all, until my bedtime, which is often earlier than theirs when I return from a trip. Seriously, 8:15 isn’t too early when I’ve been on the road all day.
This jetting around takes a serious toll on my body and energy. Sarah is so much more resilient than I am; she got up Monday, this morning, after four whirlwind days in Minneapolis and sent out a boatload of shirt orders and then proceeded to have a crazy productive day. I could barely make my kids lunches, let alone conquer any work. I had one story due today, and thankfully, it was 90% done when I went to “work” on it. I had to print out at least four times to read it again and again make sure I didn’t forget a word. (Spelling and grammar check can only get you so far.)
No matter how well I try to “pace myself” over a weekend, I always crash and feel like a zombie by the time I’m checking my bags to get home. Here’s what I feel like I do right:
1. Hydrate. Sarah and I are never without our Camelbak bottles filled with nuun.
2. Eat fairly well. We try to stock up on fruits and other good snacks like nuts for expos. Sure, there’s the occasional pound bag of pretzel M&M’s, but they’re consumed by both of us over the course of a couple of days. (Okay, I consume 80% of them, but it truly is a couple of days.) I try to eat a salad at least once a day and always opt for the veggie option (at a pizza place, at Subway) when possible.
3. Limit my alcohol. I definitely like a beer after being on my feet for the day, but it’s one beer, and I’m done.
4. Take probiotics. This is fairly new–I started about two weeks ago–but it’s working so far. Need to keep the intestines happy and things moving along instead of feeling clogged, so to speak.
Here’s what I can use help on:
1. Sleep. I know I need at least 8 hours, and try to get that. But I like to sleep in fresh air and my own bed, not a air conditioner that hums on and off and a bed that just doesn’t feel quite right.
2. Pacing myself. No matter how hard I try to pace my AMR weekends the way I know I should race, I get so excited that I think I use up all my energy on the first day/mile. Say I have 20 candles of energy to burn and we’re doing stuff for 2.5 days; I should burn about 8, and 8, then 4. Instead, I go about 17, then 2, then 1. Same way I think I can run 8-minute splits for a half-marathon, even though I’ve been training at a 9:30 pace.
3. Being more engaged when I get home. I know my kids and husband have missed me, but all I can think about is taking care of myself.
Although this post is definitely self-centered–waah! help me travel!–what I’m asking for isn’t very different than what any runner who travels for an important race needs. Namely, to minimize the disturbances on their diet, sleep, and mentality so they can bring out the best in themselves. So I’m turning to you, readers, for ideas you use or have heard about for making traveling easier. How do you minimize the turbulence, so to speak, when you travel?