Race: Baker Lake 50k
Runner: Candice C
Race Date: 10/05/2019
Location: Kulshan Campgrounds, Baker Lake, WA
Results: Time: 9:37:33, Rank: 46.60%
Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/2766162482/overview
3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?
1) Beautiful course and scenery, exceeded my expectations! Virtually impossible to get lost in the race.
2) Very friendly and supportive community.
3) The food at the finishing line was delicious.
Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you
You can’t have it all, and considering trade-offs must be made if I had any complaints they’d relate to:
1) For beginners like me, going out-and-back somewhat helps mentally on the way back, but I wondered if a loop would have been better (given the fast runners needing to pass you).
2) In exchange for the gorgeous location, you have to be ok with no cell coverage ever during the race.
3) Not a lot of supported aid stations, just one at the turnaround.
Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about this race?
This was my first ultra marathon, so I wouldn’t really know what is considered weird!
Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?
I showed up and I finished! So happy, I don’t mind being at the back of the pack. I kept a positive attitude nearly the whole time. I finished strong, with no rolled ankle(s) or apparent major injuries.
Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner
No pro-tips to share from me, except maybe learn from my errors!
Lessons you learned that will help you next time around
Rely a little more on real food instead of gels and chewies. Eat more in the first half because the second is tougher no matter what, and by then it might have been too late for me to catch up on calories. I needed to make myself move a little more (less walking and a little faster shuffling). Still trying to figure out what happened to me at mile 25. I definitely lost some momentum but fortunately my spirits stayed pretty high. My hands were swelled up and it totally freaked me out (I’m fine now). Really pleased that my physical therapy work helped avoid knee problems I was having earlier in training. The only discomfort I felt was in quads, hips, glutes. My feet were comfortable the whole time – I lucked out and realized pretty recently that my feet do better with Topo shoes. I only had one blister and didn’t notice it until after the race.
Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race
Be ok with the traffic when you are passing or being passed on the single-track.
Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?
As mentioned above, the course is so beautiful. I almost felt sorry for the “real” runners out there who couldn’t afford to pause and look up at the surroundings.
Difficulty – Is it a tough course?
I can see why this course is billed as “nearly all runnable” and “not very technical.” For me, it was enough of a good challenge. Foot and suspension bridges, some places with tricky rocks, crossing streams, etc. Constant rolling hills, but fairly balanced and nothing so impossible that you are crushed.
Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?
Seemed very well organized to me! I think this was the first year they had time chips.
Competition – Is there a strong field?
It seemed like a pretty strong field. I was really humbled and impressed by everyone there who clearly knew what they were doing!
Logistics – Does it require a special handshake, registration a year in advance, hotels all booked? Give us the low down on the nuts and bolts of making the race happen.
A couple weeks in advance I secured a room with a local hotel in Concrete for my husband and me, but it was cutting it close. It’s pretty much a 2 hour drive from Seattle. If you read the fine print on the race memo and supplementary emails, you’ll have all the info you need. To get to the turnaround station you need a park pass ($5 and buyable online).
Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?
I learned what a “water drop” is – they were a couple of these posts where jugs of water were available to use. I liked knowing that my drop-bag would safely be at the turnaround station, where there are porta-potties and some snacks, and of course, water to refill your pack, etc.
Weather and typical race conditions
This year it had rained pretty hard the day before, so everything was really slippery. Fortunately it didn’t rain heavily during the event; the temperatures were cool. I didn’t get the classic full-on complete view of Mt. Baker and its reflection in the lake, but it didn’t matter because it was so beautiful anyway.
Gear – Did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next guy?
Nothing special, just make sure you have all the food/fuel goodies you need for personal preference.
Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?
Spectators can only be at the start/finish line and the turnaround station. My husband (non-runner) really enjoyed the friendly people.
How’s the Swag?
The night before the race, I stumbled upon a photo of the finisher’s medal (I understand it’s the same every year) and when I saw the bear on it, I really fixated on it. Glad I respectably finished before the cut-off time and got the medal. 😉
The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?
Five out of five stars! Yes, highly recommended!