While this chapter has been primarily focusing on 1-day events to build up our playerbase, we do plan on having full weekend events in the semi-near future. The state of the world did impede us from hosting our last three day event, but things should go back to normal operations eventually. Think of this post as wishful thinking.
Pacing yourself during a weekend event is the most underrated part of an event. If you find yourself crashing hard after an event you know what I’m talking about. This becomes even more difficult over a weekend. I’d like to tell you some of my experiences following weekend events on the east coast in hopes that you may be able to identify problems before they arise. Indicators of exhaustion and dehydration aren’t something you should ignore.
How to not pace yourself
I’m writing this in third person but this is a culmination of several of my own experiences.
Because of pre-event rush you pack the car, grab the last of the things you always forget to bring, and rush to site. Upon getting there you meet up with your people, grab your bunk and start unloading enough that you can go check in. You rush through the checkin process. Weapons are checked, gear is half-stowed, all that you need to do now is get in character and wait for game on. You make haste for your cabin, get on costuming, finish stowing everthing, and get told that opening ceremonies is about to happen. You go to ceremonies, and half an hour later they’re calling game on. You end up getting so eager to get in play that you haven’t realized you aren’t drinking water (this will be a theme) and maybe you’re a little parched. It’s okay, there’s a soda somewhere you’ll remember to drink I’m sure. This will start a trend that will last the rest of the event if you aren’t careful.
Some tavern services do not include drinks other than water or “bugjuice”. That’s great if you’re willing to drink that, but for some reason I personally cannot stand drinking water that isn’t ice cold. Usually you’ll maybe spend a dollar and grab a soda, which I guess is better than nothing but is decidedly not water. You may grab some chips if you even remember to eat. So far your nutritional health is taking a bit of a dive.
Saturday morning (read Noon, because you were up until 4am RPing with people you haven’t seen in months) you stroll into the tavern looking for some breakfast. There is no breakfast because, again, noon, so you have a cheeseburger or a hotdog instead. You have some more soda and you’re off to a day full of RP and fighting. You go through some mods, and before you know it the bell rings for feast time. This is your once chance to actually get some nutrition. You might enjoy the food there, it might not be great. It’s a mixed bag with LARP food, and every chapter is different. Your head throbs a little bit at this point, but you know it’s because you haven’t eaten much today. You eat what you can and go have post food chatter on the porch to discuss all the noble decrees and flouncing that just occurred. It hasn’t occurred to you that you haven’t been to the bathroom all day, and that’s a huge sign that you’re dehydrated.
Thankfully there’s often some warning that things will go awry. With a loud shriek or the banging of drums the big fight starts. The field erupts in NPC ne’er-do-wells who are actually doing rather well at killing you and your friends. This fight is the biggest thing you’ve experienced all day. Everyone is running around, people are posturing and fighting, and there was some angst! Someone you know died and they are busy trying to resurrect them. The fight ends and the good guys were victorious, but the cost of victory was far too high. Your friend failed to resurrect successfully. You cry. Your friends cry. Even your dead friend tries to not look like they are crying but they totally are. You hold a small gathering of remembrance and then stay up until 4am roleplaying with another group of people because you know you won’t get much time on Sunday anyways.
Sunday morning you wake up to the sounds of people packing up to leave. You get out of bed, pack up your things, and help clean up/check out the site. There’s a closing ceremonies, and everyone thinks about getting food together to relive the memories of what just happened. You decide to join up because you realize you’re hungry. Very hungry. You want to eat an entire restaurant. The meetup is great. Some people make it, others do not. Someone chews loudly with their mouth open and at this point you’re so angry you’re ready to hurt them. Your food is finally ready, and you take two bites before you’re full. You’ve hit a point where your body isn’t ready for a lot of food. You try to force more down, and maybe you’re successful, but the damage is already done. You barely stay awake on the ride home. You finally get in the house, and you immediately crash on any flat surface and take a “short twelve-hour nap” in which you still feel drained when you stand up. You call out of work the next day or more.
You’ve pushed yourself way too hard, and you’ve done some damage to your body. You’ll recover, but just like going to a convention you have to learn to pace yourself and take care of yourself.
What you should have done
Thursday – Pack. By this time you should have your laundry done. Just pack Thursday, get it either in the vehicle or in a staging area so you can get it into the vehicle. Trust.
Friday – Arrive a little early and not in a rush. Grab something to eat on the way. High calorie is fine because you’re going to burn some calories. Unpack fully, make things look nice. Get in costume, maybe makeup. Chit-chat with everyone, and get in the checkin line when you’re ready. Drink some water, you’ve earned it. Stay up late RPing, that’s fine. Drink some water, though, or maybe some Gatorade. Eat something small. if you want breakfast, turn in early. Keep the water flowing and the bathroom breaks continuing on.
Saturday – Go to the bathroom before heading to the tavern. Get that breakfast. It’s so good to have breakfast on Saturday. I’m telling you the best truth you’ll ever hear: At events it really prepares you for the day. Drink some juice! Maybe some water. Maybe some Gatorade. Grab a bottle of water to take with you. At lunch grab some food. You need it! (Drink some water!) By the time feast rolls around your dietary day-planner is still working like normal and you can eat all of the food. No shrunken stomach syndrome. Guess what you should drink! (It’s water!)
When you wake up Sunday you will unsurprisingly not feel like you’ve died in your sleep. You won’t get your mid-Saturday headache, nor the Sunday headache hangover. The meetup afterwards will be as great as a restaurant full of smelly geeks can be, and you’ll be able to enjoy your food and company (except that one person who still hasn’t learned to close their mouth when they chew). You may still feel tired on the way home. You may still crash when you get home, but I ask you to drink a glass or bottle of water before you fall asleep. You won’t sleep as long because you’ll probably have to pee, but you’ll feel better than the alternative.
Living in the Arizona has taught me to hydrate more, and responsibility to hydrate falls on myself. As a staffer I can tell you we’re all serious about reminding you to hydrate. What I have found is that reminding others to drink water makes it easier to remember that you should as well. Make good decisions, and a LARP won’t be a burden for days after the event is over.