“Did we just run over a skunk?” Josh asks groggily from the rear seat of the van.
“No, Kaylee’s farting again. Shouldn’t have eaten that last burrito, babe,” Mark snarks as he elbows Kaylee in the ribs.
“Am not!” She retorts and moves up to the next seat. “Eww! Nate took off his shoes! That’s the skunk!”
“My feet do not stink!” Nate huffs back, but puts his shoes back on. “I think it’s Matt’s shirt.”
Matt turns and pulls his shirt off Nate’s shoes and hangs it out the window after a quick sniff, “yeah, it could be, I can’t find my deodorant.”
“Again!” choruses the rest of the van.
The above scenario was my first experience with the joys of the overnight relay race. I was one of two females in our van and one of only three van-mates who thought showers were the decent thing to do (sad thing, one was the driver). It’s surprising how little time it takes six runners to make a fifteen passenger van smell like a high school football locker room. Especially when they forget to wear their deodorant
Barring actually running over a skunk, a relay van does not have to smell like a high school boy’s gym shoe. A few simple steps can help keep the stench down and make your relay experience that much better.
Start with clean clothes- yes, this seems obvious, but how many of you wear your running or exercise clothes for more than one workout before washing? I’ll admit I’ve done it, especially when I only owned two pairs of running shorts.
Fabric softer sheets tucked in your bag will also help reduce sweat stink in both the van and your bag.
If you do have stinky feet and/or shoes, at least air them out before packing them. A little baking soda sprinkled in the shoes will also help absorb a bit of the sweat and stink. If you decide to wash your shoes, make sure you wash them in cold on the gentle cycle to reduce wear and tear. Do not throw them in the dryer! Newspaper stuffed into them will help dry them quicker, especially if you change the newspaper every couple hours. Some runners do find Odor Eater spray and inserts helpful also.
Ziploc bags- gallon size, very important to keeping your van smelling decent. After your leg, even if you can’t take a shower, change your clothes. You’ll feel better getting out of your soggy, sweaty things and packing them away in the Ziploc baggies will keep the smell down. Yes, these clothes will still be wet and stinky at the finish line, but no one will be smelling them
Utilize the showers. Again, you’ll feel and smell better, even if you just wash your face and hands. There will be two opportunities to take showers on the Epic Oregon course.
Bring your toothbrush and use it. Morning breath is a killer- take it out before it takes out your van-mates.
Remember to wear your deodorant. Enough said.
Unfortunately no matter what you do, the van seats are going to get sweaty and therefore at least a little stinky. If it’s a rental van, it’s not imperative that you de-stink it, but it’s nice. If it’s a personal vehicle, de-stinking is essential. Leather/vinyl seats are fairly simple- wipe them down with slightly soapy water. Fabric seats are a little more difficult. I’ve found that Febreeze or its generic sprayed on the seats then driving around with the windows down did wonders. A fellow runner swears by Woolite Carpet Cleaner- just spray it on, let it dry, then vacuum up. Dirt and smells gone in one easy vacuuming.
Hopefully none of your runners will meet a skunk or misplace their deodorant.
Enjoy the run my Epic friends!
Rikki- (mostly) fearless leader of Team YBNRML