>Alyssa’s guide to traveling/racing alone, part one

September 10, 2010 § 1 Comment

>It was Ínevitable. When you do more than 10 races a year, you are bound to have to travel to a big race alone at some point. I have been very fortunate in that it has taken years before I’ve been faced with this. But, the earth finally spun one way, aligned with Jupiter’s moons, and here we are. In light of this monumental event, I will be updating this with tips and tidbits of things that I encounter along the way. Like everything in life, there’s a right way and then there’s Alyssa’s way – so here we go:

-Dress for success. This is not the flight to show up for unshowered and in sweats. You need to looks good. If you look good, you feel good, yes, but more importantly people like to look at you. If people like to look at you they will be more inclined to help out and carry your heavy suitcase for you. Or buy you a beverage from Starbucks.

-Part of dressing for success is this: wear flair. No, not TGI Friday’s vests and buttons flair. Athlete flair. This can be a slippery slope though, as you do not want to look like a douchebag. This means avoid the compression socks, the shoes with bungee laces, and the wicking race shirts. Instead, find a simple cotton T you did from when cotton was cool. Something low key, maybe a nice blue or gray. Something another athlete will recognize and respect you for. It says “I’m going to a race, do you want to be my friend?”

-Dont be on your phone. Traveling and racing alone is like being on a first date – same phone ettiquette applies. People won’t interrupt you if you’re texty texting away. And you want people to interrupt you – that old man sitting beside you can not only tell you about his time in WWII, but also about the time he drank his own weight at a bar in Madison. You want to know where that bar is.

-Ask lots of questions. When you travel alone you will be confused. Maps aren’t always available, time zones are weird, and you’re going to need answers. The best way to get the answer is to ask. However, rushing up to someone, bumping them with your backpack the size of a 3rd Grader with an LLBean bag, and yelling the question is not the best approach. Scout out the terrain. Look for someone who works there, speaks your language, and brushed their hair this morning. Approach them with a smile, and ask them something easy. What time is it, what city am I in, who do the Packers play this weekend? They will know the answer and this will immediately boost their confidence. Now they are ready to tackle the more difficult questions: I have 12 minutes to get to Gate F6, can I do this? Where is the best place for a breakfast sandwich? Or, can you help me carry this? Again, between your looks and their newfound ego, you’re a shoe-in.

-Bring snacks. This is not so much important for traveling alone as for life in general. Snacks keep your blood sugar up so you’re in a good mood. They’re good conversation pieces with attractive people around you. Everyone likes snacks, easy morale boost.

More to come. The journey to IM Wisconsin has only just begun 🙂

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