Race: Cascade Crest 100

Runner: Stephanie

Date: 8/26/17

Location: Easton, WA

Results: 27:05:19, 6th place Female

cascade crest race report
Photo: Glenn Tachiyama

3 Bests – what aspects of the race did you like the most
The whole atmosphere. Everyone was so happy to be there, from runners, to volunteers, to crew. This was true from the moment we arrived around 7:30am, until we left, 34 hours later.

The aid stations, especially the ones my crew were able to access. I loved being able to see my friends along the way, and it kept me really excited about moving forward. All the aid stations were all such a treat to look forward to though, and they were so frequent that it always felt within reach to get to the next one.

The late start. I think it actually had pros and cons for me, but overall I think it made for a much better race day because I knew, without a doubt, that even if every alarm failed, I would wake up in plenty of time to get to the start. I think this really allowed me to sleep much better than I would have with an early start, and the anxiety I can have about that.

Not so much – aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you
How anxious I was about it! That’s probably not the race’s fault though 🙂 I was also surprised to find out how much climbing there was in the last 15 miles. I can’t say it made me super happy at the time, but in hindsight it just adds to my sense of accomplishment.

Weird factor – what’s the weirdest thing about this race
How an uphill start can also feel like an uphill finish (on an out and back course). We were also treated to the sound of gunshots during the night.

Highlights of your race – what did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular
For my first 100, I thought it pretty much went as well as I could have expected. I thought I ran the first half really well, comfortably and making good progress. I even had some sort of rebirth of energy around mile 80 where I actually felt strong again for a few hours after having a rough 25 miles prior to that.

I also enjoyed the fact that I stayed in a good mental space for the entire race. I did get quite tired and a bit groan-y (as my pacers can attest), but I never doubted I was going to finish. I was never really intimidated by the distance left to run either (after the first couple of hours), which I was very surprised by and grateful for. Mental games can take so much energy!

Lessons for others – share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner
There is a lot of fun runnable trail after the initial climbing.

Previewing the rope section was really helpful. It’s not all that hard, but I was glad to have seen it, more than anything just to know I didn’t need to be anxious about it.

Although the aid stations are pretty close together, I was still going through a full liter of water between them (and in general I would say I’m probably low-average on the amount I drink during races).

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around
I need to figure out my calories better! Work in progress.
I can actually run a 100 mile race! I think that knowledge by itself will be most helpful next time.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race
This year’s course was changed to an out and back due to fire, so I don’t really have a comment about the regular course. The first 50 miles (which were the same as the regular course would be) are made up of up, up, up, followed by a lot of runnable trail, followed by the ropes and tunnel sections.

Aesthetics – is it a pretty course
Very! And I don’t think we even got to see many of the pretty parts.

Difficulty – is it a tough course
I thought it was hard, but I’m not sure what 100 mile stretch of running I wouldn’t find hard.

Organized and well run – did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?
So well run, even with the course change.

Competition – is there a strong field?
There were definitely some strong runners there.

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.
Lottery entry, which I think was in January. We got a cabin near the start maybe a week before the race, which I found surprising. You could just drive there the morning of from Seattle, but I liked having the cabin so my crew could rest if they wanted to.

Aid Stations
Many and great!

Weather and typical race conditions
It was warm this year, and I think it probably is most years. There is the legendary storm year though. Glad we got a more typical year!

Gear – did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next guy?
The next longest race I’ve done besides this was a 100k in Switzerland, where you had to carry all your gear the whole time (and there was a long requirement list). In comparison, I felt like I could carry almost nothing here, with the accessibility to my crew, who I could grab layers or food from whenever I needed anything. I ran with a vest with 2 bottles and carried a Houdini, which I used for about 20 minutes during the night. Other than that I just had food with me. I did end up using poles for the last 20 miles, which I actually hadn’t planned on, but they were nice to have for the ups and down of that section (which probably won’t be repeated in the future anyway, so that info is not that helpful).

Spectators – is this a friendly course for your friends
Yes and I loved seeing them!

Awards 
Buckle and sweatshirt for everyone

The Overall Score – how many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it
5/5 – highly recommended and I’m looking forward to doing the regular course someday!