Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Leopard answers your questions

A number of readers of the recent Trail Runner magazine article had questions about my run.  I decided to do a blog post to answer some of those questions.  

Q: From Jeff: Is it still considered unsupported if you have someone in front of you acting as bait and chasing away wildlife?...
A: Wow, good question.  I guess so.  Of course it is safer and not as hard core, but certainly you'd get bonus points for creativity. 

Q: From Chris: Did Candice choose not to carry bear spray due to weight issues? Or was it inner bravado?
A: Inner bravado for sure.  Actually, my main defense from the mountain lions was camouflage.  I ran dressed as a leopard.  Which apparently close enough to fool a mountain lion.  Combined with the right mix of angry and scary music, Ke$ha's "Cannibal"--- I was as safe as one could hope and didn't need to carry the extra weight of the bear spray.  See picture:
 And made this face when I saw the lion:
Here's your best bet on a music video that will scare the mountain lions away.  When a leopard sings Ke$ha's "Cannibal" to a mountain lion, said lion takes it very seriously.   This may be due to the fact that the Mt. Lion and Leopard are clearly close enough cousins to be considered "dangerous" in a cannibal sort of situation.  Here's the song, think ANGRY+SCARY:

Q: What is one key piece of advice you'd give a newbie distance trail runner?
(PS I'm running my 1st 21k trail race in feb 2013)
A: Always make it fun.  If it's not fun you are doing something wrong.  It just so happens that I think suffering is fun.  Hopefully you do too, or you may be in the wrong sport.  Good luck!

Q: Congrats on an awesome run.  Any advice/wisdom you'd care to share ?
A: Wear leopard print when running long trails solo.  Bring food.  Don't filter your water it's a waste of time. Unless the water is bad.  Then you might want to filter it.

Q: From Reid: Pretty amazing stuff.  Any way to learn the details of her gear? 
A: I wrote a lengthy blog post on my circumnavigation of Mt. Rainier.  You can find it here: Mt. Rainier's Wonderland Trail Part II Intensified!  It has lots of that kind of info.  And lots of mental head games.  I used a Salomon S-Lab 12 pack (the bigger one). Two Ultimate directions water bottles, 2 headlamps.  I brought a rain jacket, running tights, gloves, hat, a long sleeve shirt, extra batteries, 7000 calories, s-caps/Ibuprofen.  All my clothes were packed in zip lock bags to protect them from sweat and rain.  I wore a leopard print dress with tan tights and running shoes of course. For safety measures. 

Q: From Brian: I have wanted to run the Wonderland ever since I learned about the trail. Not sure if I would try to swallow it all at once. Many have noted exciting wildlife encounters on the trail. Is this just coincidence?
A: I heard that there are more mountain lions than bears from a ranger on Mt. Rainier.  Probably not a coincidence, just a very wild place!

Q: From John L.: 93 miles unsupported! No caches, bears & mountain lions! How'd she do it? Water weighs 8 pounds per gallon. Did she carry her own hydration or hit streams? I can't believe anyone would do this without at least carrying a .44 pistol & a sat phone. That's one brave chick!
A: I drank unfiltered water from streams throughout.  No, I didn't get sick.  I do this all the time and have yet to get sick.  I do chose my water sources somewhat carefully when I can.  Cold, fast moving water is good.  Try not to get your water by camp grounds.  I have had giardia as a kid though, so maybe I have immunity??  I did run out of water several times due to poor planning, but apparently I survived anyway.

Q: From Kendall: Love to hear more of the effort and logistics of self-supporting at that distance. Nicely done. Incredibly impressed.
A: Thanks!  Check out my blog post: Mt. Rainier's Wonderland Trail Part II Intensified! for more information on the FKT.  Anyone with specific questions is welcome to email me at:

Lastly, in response to my Dad:
Dad:  Candice, great run, but I plan on buying you pepper spray for bears and cougars. Love Dad Great work keep it up.

Me: Dad, I am fine.  It's all in the leopard outfit.  And even if you buy if for me, doesn't mean I will take it with me.  No, I probably won't.  Very sweet of you, but don't waste your time buying it :)

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