Cougar Mountain 20M – Dionne H

Race: Cougar Mountain Trail Run Series – 20 miler –

Runner: Dionne H

Date: 10/30/2016

Location: Cougar Mountain

Results – 4:13. 4th out of 7 in my age group ????

3 Bests – it is not crowded, well marked course and inexpensive.

Not so much – I didn’t know there’s no cups at aid station, so it was a bit hard for me to get water/drinks. I had to tilt-up the bottle which of course with my shaky hands most of it (or in my case it was coca cola) ended up spilling all over me. The course changes a lot with many ups and downs and turns that I never can get a good rhythm.

Weird factor – nothing that I could think of.

Highlights of your race – given the fact this is my longest trail race to date, the course is very technical for my skills: lots of roots, rock, wet in some parts, covered with leaves, small single track at some spots, but I enjoyed everything. The distance is also perfect as part of my training for 50 mile race in 5 weeks, it is short but long enough to get me comfortable with the trail.

Lessons for others – share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner: do your tempo workout on hilly course. It will help you enjoying the race better ????

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around: I will train more up and down hills on trails. I slowed down more on downhills because I got nervous from falling down and simply being new to the trail running. I would really like to be able to run faster downhills to make up the time and have stronger legs to power-hike or even jog those uphills eventually.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race: I could not find the race profile anywhere on the website. If you need it, just go to my Strava and there you have it. I was blind going to this race only relying on what people say about where the next hill is. I think it is hilly EVERYWHERE.

Aesthetics – is it a pretty course – it is but I wish I could enjoy it more, instead I was focusing 99% on my footing.

Difficulty – is it a tough course – Yes, it is for me.

Organized and well run – did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants? Yes, it is well organized and the volunteers are very nice too.

Competition – is there a strong field? I don’t know but seems like some people have been doing this series all summer long.

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.

I registered very late and still can get in. It is not a sold-out race and my guess is it is because of the season.

Aid Stations: 3 stations with water, gu, bananas, PB&J and sodas. But they don’t have cups and expect you to fill out your bottles/vests.

Weather and typical race conditions – it was cold and damp. But we were lucky that it wasn’t raining on this day.

Gear – did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next guy? I am glad I had my vest on. I had tailwind, powergel and m&ms. Perfect.

Spectators – is this a friendly course for your friends. It is at the starting line, the aid stations (especially 2nd station as it was right off the main road). Other that that the whole course is in the boonies.

Awards – I think there was but I am not sure.

The Overall Score – how many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it: 5 out of 5. A good training course for your next ultra. Like I said before this trail is pretty technical, it is short but long enough to get the workout done, inexpensive and it’s on our backyard.