|Somewhere in the first loop. Photo by Michael Lebowitz, Long Run Picture Company|
Despite the poor conditions, I had a really good day of running. I stayed on top of my nutrition mixing in a significant amount of real food for the first time. I had recently purchased Feed Zone Portables, and made rice souffles, basically scrambled eggs mixed with rice which went down really easily and were more satisfying than constant gels, although I ate plenty of those as well. I really didn't have any major low points and did a much better job of staying in the moment, focused on taking care of myself and running as well as I felt. I did not spend really any time calculating how much time or mileage was left and this made the day much easier mentally. Unfortunately, when I reached the Clackamas aid station for the second time at mile 71, I was told the Race Directors had decided to cancel the race due to the poor weather and concern that runners were having trouble staying warm as the temperature dropped during the night. I was very fortunate to get a ride with another runner's pacer (Thanks Kirby!) almost immediately. By the time we got back to the starting line an hour and a half later, the rain was turning to snow and my car had an inch or two of snow on it. This is the second time that I have been in a hundred mile race that got canceled and it pretty much establishes me as the hundred miler weather jinx. You might want to be sure that I am not signed up for any races that you are contemplating next year.
|The portion of the course that I ran. The remainder of the course was to finish the out and back down from the red loop at the top back to the arrow by the green loop at the bottom.|
1) Consistent trail marking--most of the turns were marked extremely well with big white signs. But that made the turns which were more casually marked much easier to miss. A bunch of us missed the turn onto trail 719. My one serious complaint about the race was an almost complete lack of trail markings between Timothy Lake Dam and Clackamas. I can only imagine that the person marking ran out of markers, but I am not sure why that could not have been fixed or at least why we weren't warned. The trail markings that were used in this section did not have any reflectors so they were extremely difficult to find in the dark. I guess it is possible someone vandalized the markings, but the section affected lasted several miles. At one trail intersection, there were no markings on either possible trail for a half a mile or more resulting in the following trace on my GPS recording:
|Portrait of an unmarked turn|
3) Better course description on the website--the website had really nice maps and elevation profiles, but no details on what trails the course would take beyond the PCT. At the two turns where I got lost, having a written table listing the specific trails/turns we would take would have solved the problem very quickly. I took the printed out maps with me, but they were no help.
Overall, I would recommend this race to people who are checking it out and I think it has the potential to be a really outstanding event. I am disappointed that we did not get to finish, but I still had a positive experience and would consider running the event again one day.