Race: Mountain Lakes 100

Runner: Daisy C

Date: Sept. 24th-25th

Location: Olallie Lake. Mt. Hood National Forest, OR

Results: Down to the wire! 29:30

Bests:

This course is absolutely gorgeous! It starts and finishes at the lake with a view of Mt. Jefferson. Views are incredible from the first section loop, then you head north on the PCT, which is pristine forest and soft, singletrack. You get views of Mt. Hood before darkness falls.

The weather was perfect! Sunny and blue skies on race morning. I think the high temps were 65. It did drop into the 30’s overnight, but not a problem at all. The next morning it warmed up quickly into the 70’s. Although I was hot for the last 10+ miles, it felt good to finish warm and not need to get wrapped up in blankets.

image7This is NOT a technical course. There are rocky sections, but if you run any trails up off I-90, you will be just fine here. It is very runnable and suitable for trail novices.

Course is well marked, volunteers and staff were very supportive.

 

Things to consider:

This race is REMOTE! There is no cell service, no internet and the roads are rough once you leave civilization off highway 224. Crew will need to navigate tough forest service roads to get to aid stations. AWD vehicle highly recommended!

There are no drop bags for large sections. So, if you are like me and rely on your own fuel, you will be carrying extra weight (I trained for this). *this is why pacers can actually “mule” for you after mile 72.

The nearest town is over 1.5 hours away. Plan to stay near the start by renting a cabin or camping.

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Highlights:

Certainly the beauty of the area was a major highlight for me. And the fact that this was my first 100 miler, I was super happy for most it given the lows and pain that you get stripped down to at this level. I trained well and approached this race with a strong mental base, which was applied again and again over the course of the last 70+ miles.

image8Running with my first pacer, Arya on the Timothy Lake loop miles 55-72 was probably one of my favorite sections. First, I was elated to run with a friend and mentor. Second, sharing the outer limits of my mileage and hitting 100k was momentous! Arya kept me focused and reminded me how strong I had become in training. That helped me stay positive!

I ended up not having a pacer for the last 30+ miles. This could have been a disaster, but instead it’s one of the things I’m most proud of! I mustered all of my stubbornness and fight and finished alone.

The last two things that went very well were my fueling and my feet. Now, I’m sure I’ve said this before, so bear with me! You MUST train your gut! There is no way around it. If you don’t, you will most certainly have GI issues. I spent the last year dialing in my fueling and hydration. This doesn’t mean I was guaranteed no gut problems, but I had ZERO GI issues. Not a single one. Really! I stayed hydrated, I ate every 30 minutes. It was fantastic!

I’m a believer in foot care. During training, during races. I had two small areas of hot spots and a small blister under a callus that we drained and taped up at mile 29. After that, no issues. Drymax socks! The best!!

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Lessons:

image9Smile no matter what! Take in the beauty of each moment and appreciate the privilege of being a part of the ultra running community. There is nothing else quite like it. I can only say that this race changed my life. It pushed me through some of the most painful moments I have ever experienced. It helped me see how strong and resilient I can be when it’s warranted. 100 miles is hard work and there is no way I would have finished if I didn’t have such amazing people in my corner. I injured my knee pretty bad at mile 29, and for a brief second I worried about not finishing. My crew had strict instructions to not let me quit under any circumstances and once I got my knee doctored up, I was determined to keep running no matter what and finish this race. I also had the opportunity to face fears, which now has instilled in me a new level of confidence that I can apply to all areas of my life! Running alone in the dark provided plenty of time for me to reflect on how I want to proceed in my life and why it matters to live your passion and share your joy with purpose and kindness.

This running ultras shit is crazy good stuff!

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Difficulty:

Beginner friendly in terms of elevation gain at just under 11,000 feet. It’s still 100 miles. But overall, this is great race to try as a first. Not technical. Mountain weather can be a problem. This race was shut down in 2013 due to a typhoon!! And last year the nighttime temps were less than 20 degrees. The climbs are doable.

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Aid Stations:

Pretty darn awesome! But keep in mind that if you go without crew, you will rely on them more or carry lots of food with you. I avoided the warming tents and fires, because I knew I’d have a hard time leaving. Hot veggie broth at 4am is a game changer!

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Gear:

Salomon Sense Lab vest. 1.5 hydration bladder. 500 mL soft bottle.

Altra Olympus 2

Drymax medium weight socks

CEP calf sleeves

Garmin 920XT (it lost battery at 19 hours–unacceptable!)

Headsweats cap

Buff wrap

Oiselle team singlet

Oiselle bra

Oiselle roga shorts

2XU compression shorts

Oiselle Burke jacket

Northface neoprene gloves

Petzl Nao and Reactik headlamps

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Crew Access:

I was able to see crew at six locations. This was perfect. You can only pick up pacers at miles 55 and 72. The roads are rough, but the longest they had to drive from the start was about 1.5 hours.

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The Overall Score:

A+

Hands down a great race. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to try a 100, and as a fast finish for my more experienced friends. You just can’t beat the flowing single track trail on the PCT. And nearly every portion is spectacularly beautiful.

So, what’s stopping you? Are you considering a 100 miler? Go do it!

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