Traveling to an international race: food and hydration

Now that I’ve started organizing my packing into lists and piles, I thought maybe I should make some concrete plans to eat well and stay hydrated between the time I leave Austin and race morning–which is about four days, give or take the six-hour time difference.

I’ve lived in Austin most of my life, and over the years I’ve developed an appreciation for Mexican food. Tacos, enchiladas, quesdadillas, margaritas–what’s not to love? But my family’s origins are distinctly Anglo European, so my formative years (and palate) were influenced by fairly plain fare. Not to say that’s a bad thing–I was a picky eater anyway, so had I been introduced to grilled onions and spicy queso at a younger age, I doubt I even would have tried it. And let’s be honest–the English get a bad rap for their supposedly-bland cuisine, which is totally unfair to the goodness that is my grandmother’s Yorkshire pudding and pot roast, for example.

yorkshire pudding

Photo source: Food Network

I realize that Yorkshire pudding isn’t Irish, but I think in general Irish cuisine has a lot more in common with English fare than it does with, say, Mexican food.

This Rick Steves article  gives examples of some typical Irish pub food:

  • Irish stew (mutton with mashed potatoes, onions, carrots, and herbs)
  • soups and chowders
  • coddle (bacon, pork sausages, potatoes, and onions stewed in layers)
  • fish-and-chips
  • collar and cabbage (boiled bacon coated in bread crumbs and brown sugar, then baked and served with cabbage)
  • boxty (potato pancake filled with fish, meat, or vegetables), and
  • champ (potato mashed with milk and onions)
  • Irish soda bread

I could do without a couple of those things (boiled bacon, cabbage, and mutton to be sure) but I can work with bread and potatoes, you know? So that’s good news when I’m trying to eat properly in advance of a half-marathon. At least I won’t be faced with exotic options cooked with spices I’ve never heard of.

pub food

Photo source:

Hydration is another story, though. Several times when traveling to races, I’ve neglected to drink an adequate amount of water and I’ve paid for it during or after the race. I don’t really like drinking plain water, especially if it’s room-temperature–at home and work I am not far from my Yeti cup filled with ice-cold sparkling lime water. When I’ve traveled outside of Texas for races, I’ve stayed with friends who were kind enough to stock their fridges with similar sparkling lime water. But internationally? I mean, a quick Google search tells me that Dublin groceries sell sparkling lime water (yay!) but will my picky taste buds tolerate it in order to drink enough in advance?


Google also tells me there’s a Tesco near our hotel

I guess I should bring an refillable water bottle, get ice from the hotel, and give it a try.

Fortunately I’ll have three full days on the ground before the race, so I’ll have time to repair any hydration deficit I might incur on the flights or as a result of the lime water search that first day. I just have to make a concerted effort Friday and Saturday to get ahead on my water consumption. I’ll bet there’s an app for that!

Next up: staying healthy and getting enough sleep when jet lag is a factor