Your marathon packing list

Q and A

February 25, 2005|By Gailor Large | Gailor Large,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

I'm running the Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach in mid-March. What do I need to pack? I'm worried that I'll forget something.

Don't feel too frazzled. If you forget anything, most of what you'll need for the race can be bought there when you arrive.

Here's what not to forget: your running shoes and socks, one comfortable running outfit and your race confirmation packet. If you have nothing else, make sure these are safely packed and ready to go, and if you fly, carry them on.

As for the rest of your gear, here is our Top 10 list:

1. Warm-up suit.

2. Vaseline and baby powder.

3. Analgesic creams (Ben Gay, Aspercreme).

4. Towel.

5. Hat and sweatbands.

6. Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin).

7. Bottled water and sports drinks.

8. Energy bars.

9. Workout bag.

10. Extra shoelaces.

My neck is tight, and it's hard to look to the side or back. What stretching exercises can I do to help myself?

We posed your question to physical therapist Tyra Mitchell of St. Joseph Medical Center, who recommends exercising your neck by turning it gently in the direction of your discomfort. But when you stretch, rotate your head only as far as is comfortable. Hold that stretch for five to 10 seconds and repeat.

If the back of your neck is sore, or nodding your head hurts, Mitchell suggests tucking your chin toward your chest and holding that pose for 10 to 15 seconds. You should repeat each of these stretches 10 times.

If the tension persists or gets worse, call your doctor.

Do you have a fitness question? You can submit questions via e-mail to, or online at, or in writing to The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278.

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