Whether it's a 5K or marathon, you have to prepare for race-day. Preparation includes registration,training and gathering all the essentials you need before the start line (watch, iPod, bib number, fuel and gels). There's a ton to remember prior to the start line that often times post race essentials slip your mind.
As you prep for your next race, try to think past the finish line. What will you need to recover and survive the post-race festivities? Here are some key items you should keep in your bag to help you recover (plus, these usually are not passed out at the finish line). Have a small cosmetic bag in your bathroom with these items, so the next time you prep for an event you can just throw this into your bag.
Post Finish Line Essentials
Deodorant Come on, you just ran your heart out and are completely sweaty. Give those around you a break and reapply. Go buy one of the travel deodorants to keep in your little bag, this way it's there and doesn't take up too much room. Plus, you are giving everyone a break from your lovely odors.
Moist Towelettes Again, give those around you a break and wipe off your sweat. If you plan on sticking around for the post-race festivities you might as well clean off a bit. Wipes are inexpensive, light and easy to throw in your bag.
Antacids After running a significant amount of miles my stomach starts to feel unsettled. After numerous marathons (and asking the first aid tent for antacids) I've realized, I should just keep a bottle in my bag. Avoid any stomach situation by being well prepared. This will at least settle your stomach for a bit, so you can celebrate with friends at the post-race festivities with no surprises.
Adhesive Bandage The medical tent should have adhesive bandages, but who wants to wait in a line? Just grab a box of multiple sizes for any unexpected blisters or scrapes you may encounter.
Massage Stick Keep a massage stick or tennis ball in your bag to massage your muscles after the race. A post-race massage will help circulation and restore you tired muscles. Bonus; you will feel less stiff the next day and recover quickly.
Pain Reliever Again, if you want to avoid the medic's tent throw in some pain reliever. If you happen to hurt yourself, pull something or just in slight pain, you'll be well-prepared.