Editor’s note: On June 24, when most Lizards will be focusing on running four laps of Jesuit High School’s track in the Rose City Mile, Elise Lagerstrom will be doing something 100 times more difficult. She will be working to become the first Lizard ever to complete the Western States 100, in Nevada and California. As Law & Order likes to say, at the start of its episodes: Dun-dum. This is her story.
How long have you been running and why did you start running? I didn’t start running consistently until I was in grad school, which was around 10 years ago. I was living in Colorado and wanted to start doing triathlons. At the time, I couldn’t even run a 5k and it took quite a bit of time to work up to the distance. During the pandemic, I slowly transitioned from running as a part of triathlon to trail and ultrarunning.
How long have you been part of TRL, and what drew you to the club in the first place?
I started doing track workouts with TRL as soon as they resumed after the pandemic pause. I was struggling to finish workouts on my own and was looking for a group to do speed work with.
What do you do when you’re not running (job, family, school… whatever it is you’d use to introduce yourself outside of running)? I’m a Human Factors Engineer at Collins Aerospace. I work on the certification of avionics and vision systems. I work remotely and live with my dog and cat in Wood Village.
Outside of running and work, I recently started climbing.
What’s your favorite distance/type of run (5K, half-marathon, marathon, ultras, relays, track, trail, etc.)? Currently, my favorite is 100k trail runs. It’s long enough for there to be time to fix things that go wrong and short enough that you don’t need to run through the night.
Where is your favorite place to run in the greater Portland area? My favorite place to run is Eagle Creek Trail in the Gorge. For me, it’s accessible as a weeknight run, and unlike much of the Gorge, the whole thing is runnable.
What’s your most memorable running experience (or experiences)? I distinctly remember the first time I ran 13 miles- It was also my first time running over 10 miles. I remember it being a major accomplishment and feeling like I had been out there forever.
What’s the best running advice you’ve ever received? To win an ultra, you just have to slow down the least.
Tell us one fun fact, hidden talent, or something we don’t know about you, but should? I signed up for my first 50k two weeks before the race, which gave me one weekend to train. I had never run a marathon, and I could count the times I had run over 13 miles on one hand. I legitimately had no idea how long it was going to take or if I could even finish. After I finished, I was hooked on trail running and I’ve still never run a road marathon or raced on a track.