Wy’East Wonder 50 Mile Race Report – Dandelion Dilluvio-Scott

Race: Wy’East Wonder 50 Miler

Runner: Coach Dandelion Dilluvio-Scott

Race Date: 06/12/2022

Location: Parkdale, OR

Results: Overall: 67, GP: 27

3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?

  • I oddly enjoyed that there were no vistas during this year’s edition of Wy’East. It allowed me to fully focus on running instead of gawking at views which I am very prone to doing!
  • The community of racers! I met some amazing people out on the course and experienced more camaraderie than I ever have before. A racer and I spent 26 miles together and alternated who was on pacing duty. It became a team sport. She was also kind enough to help me change shirts when my hands lost dexterity due to cold and swelling.
  • I really liked the mantra I developed during my low point at mile 20. It had a different feel than any of the others I’ve used in the past and was inspired by Scott Jurek. I kept chanting “I like to hurt. I like to hurt. I like to hurt” in my head hoping I would start to believe it. I think I convinced myself!

Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you

The final 2-3 miles of the race was a heinously steep descent and had an incredible amount of slick mud. I’m not sure how I managed to stay upright!

Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about this race?

It was weird that there was an insane amount of snow on the traditional course! For this reason, the race was re-routed 7 days before we toed the line. Instead of a point to point with a small loop the course became a double loop lollipop with an short out and back. The new route added 2000+ feet of vert to the course with no change in cut-offs increasing the difficulty.

Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?

I am normally a conservative racer and prefer to take minimal risks out on the course. However, after examining the course changes with particular attention to the additional 2000+ft of vert I decided I had two choices. The first option was to play it safe and run like I normally do which would likely result in flirting with cut-offs. Stressful. The other option was to race out of my comfort-zone and take risks in order to not be against cut-offs while still running smart. Also, stressful! After contemplation I decided to use the re-route as an opportunity to challenge myself to run harder and take more risks than I ever have in a race. Approaching the course with this mindset was the highlight for me.

Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner

Wearing split shorts on a wind blasted, frigid ridge was not the optimal choice! Otherwise, there is not a lot of flat terrain on the course. You are either going up or down. This includes steep grades, rolling terrain and some long gentle inclines.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

I learned how to adapt mentally to course re-routes. When I examined the course changes and discovered that I would almost be running a completely different and much harder race than I’d signed up for I was petrified. I felt under-prepared and under-trained for the event and fixated on that for about 24 hours. However, dwelling on this fact wasn’t helping me, so I decided to focus on the training I did have, my cumulative mountain experience and looking at this race as an opportunity to dig deeper than I ever have. I left the notion of the previous course behind completely and focused on strategizing for the new challenge.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

That descent to the finish is STEEP and it is also on the traditional course. I suggest leaving poles in the final drop bag.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

I did get a short glimpse of Mount Hood and I suspect that under clear skies the mountain views are incredible from the ridge. The forest running is lovely this time of year with the vibrant green understory and the open meadow at the beginning/end of the course was freckled with colorful wildflowers.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

The terrain is not technical, except for the mud! However, I would say that this year the course was difficult. The additional vert with no change in cut-offs combined with the adverse weather conditions made this race gnarly in all the best ways.

Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?

Wy’East Wonder was extremely well organized. This is impressive considering the major re-route that occurred just a week before the start. It is also worth noting that the race directors took the time and effort to re-route the course instead of cancelling it. This was incredibly generous and kind of them!

Competition – Is there a strong field?

Yes! Elite runners competed in this race which was awesome to briefly witness during the out and back.

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 signed up right when the registration opened. It didn’t fill overnight, but it didn’t take long to fill (maybe 2 months?). It’s a popular race so the earlier you sign up the better. Campgrounds fill quickly on summer weekends so booking those well in advance in also recommended.

Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?

The aid station fare seemed standard to me, though I did not partake in anything except water. Volunteers were always available to help with anything and everything. One volunteer was kind enough to pick up the sock I dropped because there was a real danger of me never straightening back out again if I bent over at mile 40!

Weather and typical race conditions

This race is known for being a pleasant late spring race with stunning views of Mt. Hood. This weekend’s race felt was more reminiscent of stormy November. The forecast featured freezing rain, thick mist, blustery wind and cold temperatures. Very different!

Gear – Did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next runner?

Poles would have been awesome during the final steep descent to take some pressure off the legs and keep balance in the slippery mud.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

It is somewhat spectator friendly. A shuttle needs to be taken to the start/finish. This is true even without the re-route. Spectators/crew can also meet racers at the Aqueduct Aid Station. This year racers passed through three times. On the traditional course runners come through two times.

How’s the Swag?

The swag is a traditional tech t-shirt and they also provided an assortment of stickers. There is no metal for this race. Finishers are given a glass of water with the race name etched in at the finish.

The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?

I’d give this race a 10/10! Keep in mind I am judging this by the re-route and not the traditional course.

Dandelion Dilluvio-Scott is a coach with Team RunRun. To learn more about her or to work with Coach Dandelion, check out her coaching page.