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:
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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 :)