The Bear 100

The Bear 100 Finish 2013

The Bear 100 Profile

Bear Profile

The Bear 100 is a tough point to point race from Logan, Utah to Fish Haven, Idaho. It is held in late September when the fall colors are in their glory. The elevation gain is just shy of 22,000. The average elevation is 7,350 topping out twice at 9,000 feet; tough for a flatlander.

guy mawson_3 (Photo by Guy Mawson)

4_Fall in Utah_1
The 2013 course was absolutely stunning; fall colors were out in full force with various shades of red, orange, gold, and yellow. Everywhere you looked there were vibrant colors. The high mountain peaks covered in snow made a stunning contrast with the autumn colors.

As with most 100 mile races, The Bear 100 start was uneventful. A bunch of runners stood around an imaginary start line, in the dark and cold and waited for the race director to holler, “Go!” The race started on pavement and then filtered into a single track trail and a congo line of 260+ runners formed.

Kelly, Linda, and Deb at the start.

I ran with ALM (a dear friend who I trained with all year) for the first 50 miles at a good solid pace and it was super fun. Our split for the first 50 miles was 12hrs 18mins with over 14,000 vertical. We did our own thing at the aid stations and then caught up to each other on the trail. But, unfortunately, around mile 50 ALM was having trouble w/her stomach. She arrived at Tony Grove aid station (51.84) as I was leaving and expressed that she was “soooo sick!” At that point, the temperature dropped significantly and I was freezing; my broth splashed out of my cup because my hand shook uncontrollably. I asked if there was anything I could do for her and she said, “No.” She was going to change her clothes in the tent and drink some broth. I felt guilty leaving but there were a ton of volunteers, a tent, a fire and I knew Owen, her husband & also my training partner all year, wasn’t far behind us. (She finished even though she spent the next 50 miles puking; one tough chick!)

Guy Mawson_2(Photo by Guy Mawson)

I left the aid station and encountered snow, wind and iced trails. One section (downhill single track) was sheer ice and at that point, I knew it was going to be a long cold race. The race was no longer a race against the clock or other competitors it was a race against the elements.

image7 (Photo by Guy Mawson)

I caught up to two other runners and chatted with them until the next aid station. When I arrived at mile 61, it was dark and I was freezing. I could not find my bestie and pacer, MM, because there were so many people. A nice volunteer helped me; she picked up my drop bag, gave me soup and hollered for MM.I dumped everything out of my drop bag and put on all my warm clothes. As I layered up, I realized my down jacket was not in my drop bag. I panicked. My OR down jacket had saved me in many adventure races, the temps were in the low 20s, I was headed up to near 9,000 feet in the mountains, I had to have my OR jacket. I added layers and put on my Swix xc ski pants over my tights but my hands were so cold I could not zip or button my pants; after I struggled, I finally asked for help from volunteers sitting around the fire. Just as I finished getting bundled up and contemplating the risk of traveling through the night w/o my down jacket my bestie appeared and informed me she couldn’t pace me until mile 75 but she had my OR jacket! She explained she left the car key at the hotel, she did a shuttle earlier in the day to drop the car at the finish, but when she dropped the car, she put the key in her purse and left her purse at the hotel which was an hour from the finish. I was disappointed b/c I bonking. But in retrospect, I’m glad she left the key in Logan and had to go back b/c the next 15 miles were very slow and she would have been freezing and miserable.

Guy Mawson_1 (Photo by Guy Mawson)

I finally reached mile 75 and MM was there waiting for me (she had to wait 3 or 4 hours!) At that point, I couldn’t talk. I was tired, my lungs were on fire, and I was wheezing. It was difficult to breathe. This happened at Wasatch Front 100, too. I was wheezing and felt like I was having an asthma attack. Other PNW’ers also experienced the same thing. It was scary and it sucked. I presumed it was due to the combination of cold temperatures and altitude.

We finally reached mile 92, climbed the last climb, or should I say, I crawled the last climb and then we managed to run the last six miles. I had to stop occasionally to catch my breath but we managed to at least run. MM is the best pacer and I seriously finished because of her. She was solid, beyond patient and supportive even though I’m sure she was freezing cold for most of those 25 miles.

I finished in 28:24 good enough for 9th place female and 59th overall. I took off my shoes and my feet were totally clean and I had no blisters! I did not change my shoes or socks the entire race – amazed – Drymax socks rock!  plus, I’m sure the freezing temperatures played a role, too! Besides loving my Drymax socks, I also LOVE my Suunto watch! I charged it twice during the race and I captured the entire 100.7 miles!

Finally done – 28:24 / 9th place female / 59th overall

12_Grizzly Club
“Grizzly Club”
10_My rock star pacer for 25 miles
MM, my rock star pacer who paced me from mile 75-100!

plaque with elevation of the race
The plaque with the elevation outline.

Food Consumption during the race:
I ate one Clif bar the entire 100 miles, zero gels, and ate two packets of Clif Shot Bloks. All other food was aid station food: peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and lots of noodles and broth. From mile 51, I ate or drank broth at every aid station with a handful of salty potato chips. I had a small grilled cheese sandwich which was the best sandwich ever! Luckily, I had no stomach issues or leg cramps throughout the race. I took three packets of Sustain electrolytes and had about 20 ounces of Heed throughout the race.

Bear 100 was one tough course! I don’t think the course is harder than Wasatch Front 100 but the freezing temperatures, snow, and iced trails made it interesting and comparable. Bring lots of warm clothes, hand warmers, body warmers, hat, gloves, and a down jacket for the night section. 76 people did not finish and I presume it was due to the cold weather.


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Fat Dog 50 Mile

Profile in meters
FD 50 Profile
Wow, FD 50 blew my mind. I went into the race thinking it was going to be super tough on many levels: not only was there a mandatory gear list for a 50 miler but the predicted finish times were in the 15 hour range; meant finishing at midnight. I heard the course was non-runnable, overgrown, poorly marked, technical & gnarly!

Fat Dog was the same weekend as Waldo 100km which I was originally signed up to run but bailed in June due to painful tight tendons in my feet. It was painful to walk & run. In June, after Squaw Peak 50 I went to see Chris Hall, DC and he performed active release therapy (ART) and the next day I was in so much pain I had to cancel my morning run. I continued to see Chris on a regular basis; he loaned me his calf Trigger Point roller, showed me stretching and strengthening exercises, told me to ice after every run and to buy arch supports.I did what was prescribed for six weeks: kept my ART appointments, diligently rolled out, did the exercises, iced (heat & ice, too) and wore arch supports. Race day was near and the true test would come after running 50 miles in the Canadian backcountry.

The race started outside of Hope, BC; a point to point race with an elevation gain of over 10,000 feet. The course was incredibly well marked; the first 30 miles, to my surprise, were fast & flowy and the last 20 were remote, technical & challenging but rewarded with stunning views. The last 20 miles had 7,000 + gain with most of the gain in the first 12 miles, four of the last eight were short steep rolling climbs (hardest part of the course for me) and the last four ended with a fast sweet single track down to Lightening Lake where my hubby and dog were waiting for me.

My feet felt great most of the race besides the usual beating of running 50 miles. I finished in 9 hour and 57 minutes good enough for 1st place female, course record, and 3rd overall.

Fat Dog is a very low key race & a small field of runners but they offer multiple distances: 20, 30, 50, 70, & 120 mile, as well as a relay, all point to point. The trail maintenance was evident throughout the 50 miles; volunteers obviously spent many days and hours clearing the course. The race was incredible well marked, well organized and the course is absolutely stunning.

I’m stoked to have been able to run and play in the mountains pain-free thanks to doctor Chris and Aylin at North Bend Therapeutic Massage, my summer is much more fulfilled now that I can go out and play w/o pain! And, I’m sure my husband is happy he doesn’t have to listen to me whine anymore.

20130819_100217  1st Place Female / 3rd Overall
medium size FD finish

As a nutritionist, I’m asked all the time what I eat before, during and after a race. In addition to the Clif Mojo bars, I like to make my own protein bars, too. Everyone is different, what works for me, might not work for you.

Pre-race: Homemade kefir with almonds, walnuts, oats, and banana.

During the race:

  • 2 Clif Bloks packets (I rely on Clif Bloks for instant energy and easy consumption.)
  • 4 Clif Mojo bars.
  • 1 homemade peanut butter and honey sandwich.
  • ½ a grilled cheese from the awesome volunteers at Skyline Aid Station -mile 30.
  • Handful of Pringles from the amazing volunteers at Skyline Junction- mile 42.
  • 3 packets of Sustain – 9am, Noon, and 3pm.
  • Lots and lots of water.

Post-race: Thorne protein powder recovery drink, hamburger with avocado, water and a beer.

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Squaw Peak 50 Mile

squaw elevation
June 1st, 2013 I ran the Squaw Peak 50 mile trail race in Provo Canyon, Utah. The course had 14,000 +/- gain and loss and the highest point on the course was 9,300 feet; a little thin for a flatlander. The day was near perfect, although a tad hot for a Seattleite and hot enough to get some wicked sunburns in spots I couldn’t reach or missed with the sunscreen.
race bib

The race started in the dark at 5am with a 2.1 mile pavement section which helped spread the runners out a little before the first single track climb. Around mile three I was putting my headlamp away and my iPod fell out of my pack. I noticed almost immediately and went back to look for it but going against traffic with 230+ runners coming at me it was near impossible, not to mention it was still a little dark. I finally gave up! Total bummer, not only do I use my iPod for most of my training runs, I now had to run 47 miles w/o music!
I continued on and I met some cool ultra ladies from California. We chatted on and off all day and hung out after the race. The aid stations were well stocked and the volunteers were helpful and friendly. The course was pretty cool with some amazing views and a spectacular sunrise. However, the course did consist of 38% dirt roads and 19% of pavement my two least favorite things. The first section of pavement was the first 2.1 miles, second section was 3.7 miles long (mile 22-26) slightly uphill and hot and the third section was 3.3 miles to the finish which I dreaded.
My strategy for the course was to chill for the first 30 miles and then pick up the pace the last twenty, the last twenty had about 4,000 gain and 4,600 loss. At around mile 39, Berryport Pass, the trail climbed 1,300 feet in 1.25 miles. I wanted to save my legs & lungs for this climb topping out at 9,300 feet and then bomb the last 10 miles to the finish which was mostly downhill w/a few rolling hills.  My strategy worked, I passed seven women between miles 30-40. I arrived at aid station 9 (40.4 miles) in 9 hours and 23 minutes and at the point realized I could go under 11 hours and possibly beat my husband’s time of 10:47 (which was actually 10:42 back in 2000 and the one who talked me into doing this race). I grabbed a potato at AS 9 and ran as fast as I could on tired legs down the rocky, steep terrain knowing that I’d be slower on the last 3.3 miles of pavement and would have to walk some of that stretch (my weakness is running on pavement). The last 3.3 miles were not well-marked so I kept asking people if I was going the correct way. There were numerous sections that had sticks with flags but the flags were blue and pink and not blue and orange (like on the course). Near the end, there was one section that I nearly turned right and up a logging road b/c there were two sticks w/flags and it looked like they were for the race, luckily a cyclist came by and said to continue on the road to the finish. However, if I would have read the course instructions I would have known there were no turnings on the home stretch!  I ran the last ten miles in 88 minutes for a time of 10:51.
Overall, I had a great day both mentally and physically, the race was well-organized and well-marked, the race director was very nice and friendly and the sunrise and scenery was beautiful.

Results: 5th place Female/1st Master’s Female. Overall 31/266 starters.

My Suunto Ambit stats:
Strava: Overall time: 10:49, Mileage: 52.2; Elevation gain 10,197
Movescount: Overall time: 10:51, Mileage 50.87; Elevation gain 9259.

Finishers medal


sculpture plaque

Race day food –
Travel breakfast: banana + Greek yogurt (normally this would be homemade kefir w/raw milk, berries, and nuts)
During the race
1 peanut butter and jelly sandwich (cut into fours)
2 packets of Clif Shot Bloks
1 Clif caffeinated gel (this is only the second time I’ve used a gel during a race and it went down well)
4 red potatoes with salt
1 Mojo Clif bar
1 Kind bar
1 cup Heed @ an aid station
½ banana
6 Sustain electrolyte tablets
Felt great all race –no bonking, cramping, bloating, or stomach issues.


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Humpdayathon 2013

Humpdayathon (Wednesday) started with a crisp climb up Mailbox (4100 elevation gain in less than 3 miles; more like 2.5 miles) and followed by a few more mountain peaks and hours of slogging in the snow. The planned peaks: Mailbox, Teneriffe, Mt. Si, Little Si, Rattlesnake traverse & Tiger Mountain. The mileage options: 50km, 100km, and 100 mile. ALM and I set out to do a 55 mile loop with roughly 18,000 feet of elevation gain from my house. Tim & Angel picked us up near my house in North Bend and drove us the three miles to the start; we contemplated running to the start but opted to catch a ride and have an extra hour of sleep.
As predicted lots of snow & very slow going. We lucked out with a ‘blue bird day’ and spectacular views.
The view from the top of Mailbox.
The crew on Mailbox Peak
Teneriffe – a total slog to the top. We hiked up the Kamikaze Falls Trail and continued to the summit. The hike is about 4 miles w/3750 feet elevation gain. (On a normal day this is a tough, steep climb but with the recent snow storm it made it a total slog).
Teneriffe summit – Stunning views!
After crawling up Teneriffe we took the snow filled service road to Talus Loop. The snow was so deep on the service road it took us hours to go 4 or 5 miles. At this point, most of us our discussing stopping at 50km because the snow is so slow going and Rattlesnake traverse will be a nightmare w/this much snow. In addition, some runners did not bring enough food for this section b/c it wasn’t supposed to take all day.
We connected to Talus Loop and then to the main Mt. Si trail. We hiked up to the summit and then ran down the Old Mt. Si trail. We ran up/down Little Si and met the aid crew at the parking lot of Little Si. The aid station crew spent their day volunteering and were amazing! The aid stations were stocked just like a race with delish goodies including butternut soup, pizza, meat and avocado wraps and comfy chairs, warm down jackets and sleeping bags. The volunteers were awesome.
The 100km runners bailed at Little Si and called it a day after 32 + miles, 13 hours and 13,858 elevation gain and the 100 mile runners decided to shuttle over to Cougar/Squak Mountain for another 50km.
All in all, a super fun and stunning day climbing up and down the mountains with some really cool people.

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Homemade Kimchi (Kimchee)

Sarah, my nutrition geek friend, came over to teach me how to make kimchi. Kimchi is a traditional Korean side dish made with a variety of fermented vegetables and spices. It is easy to make and takes about a week or so to ferment. The fermentation process is to your liking; you can leave it for a week, three weeks or longer.

Ingredients are totally up to you. I used green cabbage, carrots, garlic, ginger, sea salt and a spicy red pepper. (Most use Napa cabbage)

1) We washed and shredded the cabbage, sprinkled sea salt on top and allowed it to sweat for 30 minutes while we made and ate our dinner.

2) We washed and shredded the carrots and placed them in a plastic bowl.

3)  We added the cabbage, spicy red pepper, garlic and ginger to the carrots in the plastic bowl and pounded out all the liquid from the vegetables –we pounded for about 10-15 minutes.

4) We weighed the mixture with a kitchen scale and added sea salt according to its weight: ratio of 1 ½ to 2 teaspoons of sea salt per pound of vegetables. (We had two pounds therefore added 3 teaspoons).

5) We thoroughly mixed in the salt.

6) We placed/squished the mixture in a glass jar placing full cabbage leaves over the mixture.

7) We then placed a weighted smaller mason jar (full of water) with a lid to make sure the vegetables stayed under the water. You can use any kind of weight; the main point is to keep the vegetables under their own juices.

8) After putting the weight inside the jar, cover the jar with a dish towel and secure with a rubber band. Do not use any type of metal and do not use a lid -the vegetables produce gas and those gasses need to be able to seep out.

The only downside of making kimchi is the odor, it stinks! After a few days my husband put the jar in the garage because he couldn’t stand the smell. It really does stink but the taste and health benefits are worth the smell.

Nutrition Benefits :

  • High in dietary fiber
  • vitamin A
  • B vitamins
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Aids in digestion
  • Promotes the growth of friendly intestinal bacteria
  • Supports immune function
  • Produces digestive enzymes
  • Fights off harmful bacteria.

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Homemade Kefir

Our first go at homemade kefir and it was delish! I’m looking forward to tomorrow morning when the next batch will be ready. It takes about 24 hours to ferment but I read if you let it ripen an additional 24 hours it increases the levels of folic acid by 116% -hmmm…interesting. It was so creamy and thick after only 24 hours, I can only imagine how creamy and thick it would be after 48 hour. My husband and I are fighting over each drop, it is that good. Today we ended up making two batches so tomorrow we will have about 4 cups!

ImageFinished product

What is kefir? Kefir is a fermented drink usually made from dairy but can be made from almond, coconut, water, or goat milk.  Kefir is loaded with healthy digesting bacteria, protein, vitamins, minerals and is easily digested. Most folks who cannot digest lactose can digest kefir because the enzyme, lactase, is present. You can drink it plain, add frozen fruit and make a smoothie, or pour it into a bowl and add fresh fruits and nuts.

Image Kefir grains – they are not “grains” they are just called grains. They look like cauliflower. Picture is from Wikipedia.

What is needed to make kefir?

  1. Mason jar
  2. Kefir grains (do not use the powder or packets purchase real kefir grains, you’ll have to google for a retail near you)
  3. Raw milk (best option) or non-homogenized organic milk (grass-fed)  or coconut milk, goat milk, almond milk, rice milk.
  4. Strainer (plastic, no metal)
  5. Bowl or jug
  6. Rubber band
  7. Coffee filter
  8. Wooden spoon (do not use metal)

How to Make Kefir?

  •  Place the kefir grains in the mason jar (for every tablespoon of kefir grain add 7 to 8 ounces of milk)
  •  Pour the milk (or whatever liquid) into the jar leaving about 2 inches from the top
  •  Place the coffee filter on the mason jar as if it were a lid, use the rubber band to secure it.
  •  Let it sit for 24 hours +.
  •  Pour the liquid into the strainer, the kefir grains will stay in the strainer, you will reuse these grains.
  •  Use a wooden spoon lightly to get all the liquid out of the strainer
  •  Put the liquid in the refrigerator or enjoy immediately. (will stay fresh in refrigerator for up to three days)
  •  Take the left over kefir grains and put them back in a clean mason jar and start all over.

*I have not used any other liquids –goat, almond, rice, or anything else so please let me know how it turns out.

ImageImage Image


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Wasatch Front 100 Miles

September 7th @ 5am, I toed the line for Wasatch 100, one of the toughest ultra runs in America. Wasatch Front started in Kaysville, Utah and finished in Midway, Utah covering 100 miles of the most beautiful scenery in the Wasatch Mountains.  Wasatch Front’s reputation as one of the toughest ultras comes from the technical terrain, heat and altitude; there was a cumulative elevation gain of approximately 26,882 feet. The majority of the race was between 6000 feet and 10,000 feet with lots of steep and rocky decents.

My goal was slow and steady; with the mentality the race doesn’t start until mile 75.  Around mile 4, I chatted with a racer in front of me; he had finished Wasatch 18 times all under 32ish hours; I decided to stay on his heels for the first 14 miles and 6,000 feet of climbing. The pace was super slow but I figured he was experienced and he knew this mountain range, I was glad I did, it paid off later in the day when the heat was unbearable.  The first 53 miles of the course was open and exposed; the sun was beating down and there was nowhere to hide. Around 5pm I was begging for the sun to go down, for a Seattleite, the sun was blazing.

5am start –Picture by Lori Burlisons

Before the race, I created a pacing chart in hopes it would help me achieve my goals: my first goal was to finish under 36 hours, my second goal was to finish between 30-32 hours and my ultimate goal was to finish under 30 hours. Numerous times during the race I wanted to push harder, especially early on, but kept to my pacing chart knowing the last 25 miles were brutal. My pacer, Michelle, was awesome; she kept us steady even though at times I wanted to go faster or times I wanted to go slower. I was in and out of most aid stations relatively quick with the exceptions of Lamb’s Canyon (15 minutes; mile 53.13) where I changed my shoes and socks and Millcreek (17 minutes; mile 61.68) where I ate spaghetti and changed into warm clothes. Millcreek was a dangerous aid station at this point in the race it was dark and cold and there were heaters, cots and blankets; not to mention a ton of yummy food.

I trekked from Millcreek to Desolation Lake to Scotts Pass to Brighton. I was in and out of Brighton (mile 75.61) in 7 minutes after I weighed in, grabbed hash browns and brushed my teeth. I was on pace, within minutes of my pacing chart,  until mile 83, Pole Line Pass! I was three minutes off the last possible time for a sub-30. I struggled from Pole Line Pass (mile 83) to Pot Bottom (mile 93) on the climbs. My lungs were packed full of dust I had difficulty breathing. I’m humbled by athletes who struggle with asthma; I don’t know how they do it. Wheezing and constantly trying to catch my breath was scary. I was able to run most of the down hills and shuffle some of the flats, my legs and feet were in good condition, but climbing even the slightest uphill I struggled. I was moving slowly during this section; it was one of the longest 10 miles I had experienced. It was frustrating because I wanted to push harder mentally and physically (feet/legs) but my lungs were shot. The dust and altitude (Pole Line Pass 9,000 feet and up to Rock Springs 9,445) definitely took its toll. At the time, I didn’t know I was at 9,000 + feet – Pole Line Pass to Rock Springs; I think mentally it would have helped if I had known.

I arrived at Pot Bottom aid station (altitude 7380; mile 93), I was in and out of the aid station in four minutes and continued to walk the uphill sections and run all the downhills. The finish line was 7 miles away. I knew once I hit the paved road, I had only a couple of miles to the finish, it was actually .7 miles to the finish.

When I arrived at the finish line my friends (Steve, Ted, Baron, Jen, Hunter, and Nick) held a big sign for me, took pictures, and cheered me on – so thankful to have such amazing friends who were so thoughtful to come out and spend their Saturday cheering me on. In addition, I’m incredibly thankful for my pacer, Michelle, who was my brain during the run, filled my water bladder, made sure I had plenty of food, kept me company, and most importantly kept me safe and on pace; having Michelle out there definitely made Wasatch a more memorable experience.

I was hoping for a sub-30 but will take 30 hours and 11 minutes. Overall, beside a significant bloody nose between miles 28-30 and difficulty breathing between 83-93; I felt great with no major signs or symptoms of stomach issues, heat exhaustion, leg cramps, debilitating blisters, and no major bonking. My nutrition was perfect, I was never hungry, never bonked, and ate mostly whole food (noodles, broth, mac and cheese) I ate very few bars (maybe two), no gu shots but a significant amount of Clif Shot Bloks. I have no idea how many I ate during the race (that is why I brushed my teeth at Brighton) but they prevented me from bonking, kept me going, and were easy to stomach after 20+ hours of racing.

My Fans!

Here are pictures from a July training -this is the most beautiful part of the course and you run through it at night.

 Desolation Lake – Mile 66.93

Scotts Pass – Mile 72.14

Brighton Lodge -Moose Mile 75.61

Baby Moose!

Lake Martha – Mile 77.13

Sunset Peak – 10,648 (the course heads down Great Western before Sunset Peak summit)

Great Western – Mile 80 -ish

 Wasatch Front was truly a great experience. The race organizers (especially Claude Grant), the volunteers, and the aid station crews were top-notch. The folks at the aid stations were incredibly nice, helpful, and encouraging! The course was well-marked. Wasatch 100 is a catered run (popsicles, pancakes, eggs, hash browns, mac and cheese, spaghetti, soup, broth) through one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in America.

The Finish – 100 Miles!

30 hours 11 minutes; 17th Female; 100th Overall

289 starters / 77 DNF’s


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