Abbott World Marathon Majors: Highlights Of The Berlin, Chicago and New York City Marathons

Running one of the World Marathon Majors this fall? Read about some highlights on and off the course! I have suggestions on things to do before the marathons and places to eat after! All this and more. 

Read More

FLIGHT FAVORITES: 16 Carry-On Necessities When Traveling for a Race

We just returned home from Japan a couple days ago. For those who don't already know, I ran the Tokyo Marathon on February 28th. I am still a bit jet lagged and I don't have all the energy I need to complete a full length post on our trip to Japan, and my experience running the Tokyo Marathon just yet. I had an amazing time, and I can't wait to tell you all about it! It's going to take me several days to gather my thoughts, photos and compile a trip recap. Until then, I thought I would share what products I took with me on the flight that really made a difference in comfort and ease of travel. 

The flight to Japan was roughly 20 hours with layovers and connections. So a large portion of our travel time was spent in the air or in an airport. We left Saturday (February 20) morning at 9am and arrived in Kyoto Sunday at 10pm (Japan is 14 hours ahead of the USA).  The confined space on an airplane, lack of leg room (if you don't fly first class, and we didn't), the stiff airplane seats and overall atmosphere on a plane can start to wear on you after so many hours. You can only watch so many movies. BTW my husband thinks he set a new "World Record". He watched 6 movies on the way over to Japan. He was pretty proud of himself! The flight over wasn't so bad. I slept for the majority of the flight. But the return flight home was a bit rough for both of us. The following products are my travel essentials for a destination race. Of course this list is catered to a marathon runner who is traveling to and from a race. After all, sitting on a plane for 10+ hours after running a 26.2 miles can be pretty painful and cause some stiffness. But the non-runner can also benefit from this list as well! 

My travel essentials:

1. Eye mask: I like the Brookstone Nap (TM) eyemask. It is soft, and it won't ruin your eye makeup. It also won't leave you with lines or strap marks on your face

2. A magazine to help pass the time. I took UltraRunner (thanks to my good friend Bob) and Runner's World

3. Lululemon Vinyasa scarf: This was a gift from my dear friend Susan. Not only did this keep me warm, but it is super cute! It turns any plain outfit into a fashionable one. It is so soft and comfortable. It can substitute as a pillow or mini blanket, it's that big! I love this product. It has a zipper as well, unlike other infinity scarves. You can wear it as an infinity scarf, or unzip it to wear as a regular scarf! I took it everywhere with me. Plus I prefered it over the airplane blankets! Oh, and according to the product info, you can also wear it as a shirt! Check out the link. 

4. 1Above®: "The Flight Drink". This product will help prevent jet lag and it really works! I used it on my way over to Tokyo and I didn't experience any jet lag. I didn't have it coming home and I really regretted not buying more. It contains a natural key active ingredient called Pycnogenol®. Pycnogenol® is a natural bark extract, that helps reduce the length of jet lag by 53-61%. It comes in a tablet or drink form, and has varying degrees of potency. It also helps to improve circulation, and decrease your chances of developing a DVT (deep vein thrombosis). It also contains 6 essential electrolytes that will help keep you hydrated fast. Pycnogenol® has also been shown to reduce the average length of the common cold and reduce flu like symptoms by 1.7 days or 20%. 1Above® combines Pycnogenol®, vitamin C, B and essential electrolytes to build up your natural defenses. Pretty impressive right? 

5. Aveda Blue Oil: Product description - "Aveda's stress-relieving blue oil helps dissolve tension and raise energy levels with the balancing aromas of refreshing peppermint and soothing blue chamomile. When gently touched to skin, the special rollerball applicator releases the perfect amount of concentrate for on-the-spot, cooling acupressure therapy." I take this product with me everywhere. I use it at work, when I have a headache, before yoga, or when traveling in a car for a long period of time. The rollerball can be used to work out areas of tension on your neck, plus the essential oils leave your skin feeling cool and your muscles relaxed. Apply on your neck or temples when traveling. It is amazing!

6. Emergen-Zzz®: Another really cool multi-purpose product. It combines 2 beneficial ingredients: Vitamin C (along with many other key antioxidants) and melatonin! It will help you sleep and also build up your immune system (which will take a hit when you're traveling). I mentioned in an earlier post that I take Emergen-C® with me on every trip, but this specific product is great for long flights because it will help you sleep. 

7. Mini travel toothbrushes: This product by Colgate® is a must for any traveler. You can brush your teeth, and you don't even need to leave your seat! 

8. Compression socks: This is a must for anyone traveling longer than 4 hours. It not only will help prevent a DVT, but they help with recovery after running. I like the Smartwool ®or CEP brands. You can get regular DVT prevention hose/socks at any pharmacy, or airport general store. Sidenote: make sure to get up out of your seat during your flight and walk around a few times to get the blood flowing in your extremities. Read about DVTs and prevention here.

9. Salonpas patches®: These over-the-counter pain patches might come in handy if you have pain in one specific area before or after your race. I had mild back pain on the return trip, and these were helpful. Let's face it, sitting upright for 15 hours on a plane can cause some back pain. They really work too!

10. Earplugs: Find a brand that works for you. I like the Mack's Ultra Soft Foam Earplugs

11. Gin-Gins®: I mentioned this product in my previous post, and it's worth mentioning again. Ginger can help with nausea or a stomachache. It also helps with motion sickness. Our return flight was pretty bumpy and I got nauseous from all the turbulence. Gin-Gins® calmed my stomach. I love the spicy apple flavor. It's delicious!

12. Flushable wipes: Multi-purpose. 

13. Eye drops: I like the preservative free individual vials by Systane®. These vials are a nice option to travel with. I have carried a mini bottle with me before and it leaked. And another time I had a mini bottle dry out. The individual vials will prevent that from happening. I have contacts, and these really keep my eyes lubricated when I fly. Even if you don't have contacts, traveling can dry your eyes out. Another suggestion is to take your contacts out all together, and carry a mini contact solution bottle and contact case with you. 

14. LUSH Vanillary solid perfumeThis is a small, solid perfume product that is nice to carry in your purse or carry-on bag. The solid perfumes come in different scents. I prefer the basic vanilla. It's not a liquid, so it can go in your carry-on. 

15. Inflatable pillow: I like the Seat-To-Summit Aeros Pillow (ultra light). This is such a comfortable pillow. And it is small enough to fit in your purse or carry-on bag. Inflation is required, but it doesn't require much effort. And it deflates easily. I really love the size of it. It can be used as a pillow for your head or back.  

16. Vaseline®: We did a great deal of walking in Japan before and after the marathon. This time around I really suffered from blisters (poor choice of shoes, and I didn't apply Vaseline® or Glide®). I like the size of this product because it's small enough to fit in a purse or carry-on bag, and it's multi-use. It can be used on your lips or lubricate your toes or areas that were chafed after your race. Featured in the picture is the "lip therapy" size (original), but the ingredients are the same as regular Vaseline® and can be applied anywhere. I bought mine at Target. 

Some other things to consider are basic pain medication, like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Flying back right after a marathon can be tough. See my previous post on my "medical kit" recommendations (in "Packing Up!"). Another thing I wish I had brought with me is my training journal or any journal. Our flight didn't have wifi, and I got bored watching TV. I wish I had a journal to write down some thoughts about my race and experience. I used my phone to do this, but a journal to record your experience is always nice to have. Sometimes writing down your thoughts in the moment is easier than forcing yourself to recall things later. 

Hopefully this list will help you when you're packing for vacation or a destination race!

Gion district in Kyoto, Japan

Please check back soon or subscribe to my blog. I have a couple of really exciting posts coming up and I guarantee you'll enjoy them. I am in the process of compiling a post on my experience running the Tokyo Marathon and also a post on our overall travel with pictures to Japan (sneak peek picture above from our trip to Kyoto). BUT.... in addition to that I have a couple other exciting posts in my line-up. Since the Boston Marathon is several weeks away, I will be focusing my attention on that race. An organization I belong to, Athletes Serving Athletes, has a team running Boston this year, Team Kevin. I will be interviewing Team Kevin! Stay tuned for that. You won't want to miss this team's inspiring story!


Professional Marathoner, Nick Arciniaga, has graciously offered to do an interview with me for my blog. For those of you who follow professional marathoners, Nick was recently in the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials in LA. He was one of the top 10 finishers! Nick is an incredible athlete. He has finished 18 marathons, and finished in the Top 10 in 12 of those. He has ran 3 out of the 6 Abbott World Marathon Majors (Chicago, Boston and NYC). You won't want to miss this post!

Until next time, 


Disclaimer: I am not sponsored by any of the above products. I am an Ambassador for the Abbott World Marathon Majors and what is shared in my blog is my opinion and not theirs.