The Casual Runner

Hilton Head Vacation: A Casual Runner Hits the Road – Part 1

Let’s play the game “remember when” for a second.

Round 1:  Remember when vacation used to be a time to both ignore silly things like exercise and to allow yourself to pig out on all of your favorite foods, because, “calories don’t count” while on vacation?

Round 2: Remember when I took up running in part because I thought that there was no equipment involved?


How can you not love reading a sign like this?

Now that I am a Casual Runner, neither of the statements in Round 1 nor Round 2 of this game are true. In fact, this game kind of stinks. Actually, let’s just forget all about the game and move on to talking about hitting the road!

Over the past 2 years, I have traveled on several runcations to participate in runDisney events at Walt Disney World, and have several more planned for the months ahead (plus one special trip to Disneyland in California for the Dumbo Double Dare to grab my highly-coveted Coast to Coast medal).  On all of these occasions, since the stated purpose of the trip was to run a race event, I have had absolutely no shame about over-packing.  But what about when I hit the road on a trip that is not a runcation per se?

Before we head into the fall race season (and before my oldest nephew starts kindergarten), a family vacation down to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina was in order.  My brother, sister-in-law, and I loaded up the van and took their three boys (who just so happen to think that I am the greatest uncle ever) for a week of fun in the sun.  While vacations are a time to get away from the daily grind of things that we do not enjoy, now that I am a Casual Runner, running and exercise is not one of those things.  In fact, one of the things that I was most looking forward to on this trip was morning runs on the beach.  Just me, my running shoes, and the surf and sunrise along the Atlantic Ocean.


This is one of the best “starting lines” for a training run.

Last summer, I took trips to Washington, D.C. and Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, where I would be staying near some great waterfront running paths. However, unfortunate foot and back injuries meant that I was on doctor-ordered rest during both of these trips, and could not take advantage of those running locales.  I vowed that this summer would be different.  While I did experience some moderate foot pain a few weeks before our trip, I made sure to get plenty of rest before we set off for our beach vacation, as I was determined to get out and run.

Before I could leave, however, there was the matter of packing.  I have realized that, in recent years, “light” is not in my vocabulary when it comes to packing.  As we would be staying in a condo with laundry facilities, I made a conscious effort not to over-pack, and actually succeeded in cutting down the amount of clothes I would be bringing. But then I realized that I had not yet packed what I would need for running.  Oh boy, here we go….

Remember what I said earlier about running being a sport that did not require a lot of equipment? Well, about that…I tried. I really did try.  But when you need to prepare for all eventualities, sometimes you just cannot help it.  To illustrate my point, here is the Casual Running portion of my packing list for the trip (and keep in mind, this list was made smaller by the fact that I could wash clothes whenever I needed to):

–          1 pair of Saucony Natural Series minimalist running shoes
–          1 pair of Fila Skeletoes (for beach running)
–          1 pair of Saucony Virrata running shoes (for walking around in, but also as a backup pair of running shoes so I wouldn’t ruin my new pair of Saucony’s on the beach or in the rain)
–          2 Reebok running tank tops
–          2 pairs of compression shorts (1 Reebok, 1 Layer 8)


If you want proof, here is my attempt at “light” packing for Casual Running on vacation.

–          2 pairs of Hind running shorts
–          1 SweatVac running hat
–          1 SweatVac long sleeved running shirt (I’m from the Midwest, we prepare for all eventualities)
–          2 pairs of running socks
–          2 pairs of C9 wrist bands
–          1 Nathan hydration belt with 2 20-ounce bottles
–          2 bottles of Powerade Zero concentrated sports drink mix
–          1 pair of Yurbud Triathlon Series headphones
–          1 roll of KT tape (just in case)
–          Ziploc bags for my IPhone
–          And, of course, my IPhone with plenty of podcasts and assorted beach music loaded onto it.


If you ever wonder why it is that you log all of those solitary training miles, just look at this pay-off.

Phew. What happened to not needing a lot of equipment to go running? I am not kidding, that is packing “light” in my book; I actually cut down from what I originally intended on bringing with me (after all, did I really need 4 sets of running shorts and tops?).

The reality is, if you are going to run, you need to make sure that you are comfortable when doing so.  The last thing that you want to do while travelling is to look forward to running in a great locale, only to have it ruined by not having the right shoes or the right clothes.  I am very weary of over-dressing or not hydrating properly, especially when it is hot, and would not want to miss out on a run because I did not pack properly.  Even worse, you would not want to risk injury because you decided that you could go without your good running shoes just to save a little bit of space in your suitcase.

This may seem like a lot of “work” just to go running a couple of times, but when you enjoy something, it really is worth it to put forth the extra effort to make it happen.  Because I enjoy Casual Running so much, and it is a part of my daily routine, I do not see it as something that I have to do, but rather as something that I want to do.

As I am sitting here on the balcony of our condo, looking out over the lush South Carolina foliage, my 3 year old nephew just asked me what I was doing. I told him that I was writing. He rather indignantly told me “if you wanted to work, you should’ve stayed home.”  Well, needless to say, for is not work to me, it is something I truly enjoy. The same goes for Casual Running itself.  Sure, I could just skip out on my exercise routine when I am on vacation, but since vacations are supposed to be about doing the things you enjoy, why would I ever want to skip out on doing something I enjoy so much? Especially when I can do it in such a beautiful locale?  The short answer is, I would not, and I did not.

Check out Part 2 of this trip report for some stories from my summer vacation running experiences along the beach.  And, as a preview of things to come, check out our Youtube video from Casual Runner’s trip to Hilton Head.

What do you make sure to pack before you go on vacation? Is there anything that you just can’t live – or run – without? Do you have any tips to share with fellow Casual Runners to help them avoid over-packing? The Casual Runner Team wants to hear from you.

If you have any questions about anything we cover here on Casual Runner, if you have any questions regarding running gear or training for your own Casual Running needs, or if there is anything that you would like us to cover on Casual Runner, please leave a comment or email us using the links below.  To ensure that you do not miss all of the great content from Casual Runner, please be sure to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Instagram, subscribe to our YouTube channel, and add us to your circle on Google+.  See you out on the running trails!  



3 thoughts on “Hilton Head Vacation: A Casual Runner Hits the Road – Part 1


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