February 7, 2014 by trailcats
For months now I’ve been hearing how Mountain Mist was a crowd favorite in the south. So when registration opened we decided we best get a taste of this. Mind you, we were registered for this before we did Bartram, so we couldn’t have known in what type of shape we’d be in for this. I completed all six loops at the GUTS Fat Ass 50k earlier in January – but barely. I felt like cinder blocks had been tied to my feet. My legs were just so tired from Bartram. About three days before Mist I had my first decent run where I felt “fresh” again. Granted it was only a four mile run, but it made me think I could handle what I thought would be an easy 50k.
An easy 50k. What kind of jerk am I? There really is no easy 50k. 31 miles is ALWAYS 31 miles. And I say that to mean – it’s effen FAR.
Yeah, so people kept talking about how Mist was their fastest 50k. So I likened it to Tsali Frosty Foot 50k that I finished in 5:04. I was so unprepared for Mist. I didn’t read any race reports, review any course description, see the course profile. Hell, I didn’t even wear a watch, much less a Garmin, to this race. Here’s what made this “fast” 50k hard:
1. Damn it was cold. It was in the high 10s at the start and winds up to 25mph. SO COLD. But it was slated to warm up to the 40s by noon. I wore some arms sleeves, a long sleeve shirt, ear warmers, and long tights, Yes the first 30min or so was pretty miz, but after that – I was a comfy kitten cruising the ice-laden trails – all things considered.
2. Damn it was rocky. Now I had heard it was technical with regards to a bunch of rocks. But jeez, once again I was not prepared. They were everywhere. So much so that I have no clue how the Adams joined the 5% of runners that did not bust their ass that day. People always bitch about the rocks at Pine Mountain 40 – but, um, those are nothing. Fortunately, I LOVE a rocky course. All the potential ankle breakers are distracting over that many miles. Admittedly though, it got a little old by mile 28.
3. Damn there was climbing. And not just hills. But climbing like you are using all fours to get up a mountain. And that’s after you cross an iced waterfall. All of this would have been just fine, but I was all alone caught between two groups of runners. I was a little worried that if something happened to me I’d be a little screwed. Now I could have waited for those behind me. Yeah right, like that would happen! Of course my running friends would say, what’s your problem Holly – why not just catch up to those in front of you. Oh you guys – yall are so supportive.
Honestly, I LOVED this race and can’t wait to go back. The course was beautiful, fun to run, and man alive – was that a fun set up. After the race all the GUTS runners hung out by a fire in the Monte Sano State Lodge drinking kickass craft beer that Jason brought and had some tasty post-race vittles. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I love GUTS! And thank you again Janice for driving me up there. And thanks Marty for always being at the ready with a bottle opener.
The night before the race several GUTS folks dropped in at a fun pizza joint in downtown Huntsville – Sam & Greggs – where I had the best veggie pizza my stomach has ever had the pleasure of digesting.
The fun continued after the race as Harley and I drove to Chattanooga to enjoy one of our favorite restaurants – Urban Stack – for killer burgers and drinks. The Vegan Mushroom Burger and the Whiskey Smash are amazeballs. As are the salads, sweet potato fries and those onion rings are the BEST EVER!!!!
Yes, I love Mountain Mist. There’s another reason it holds a special place in my heart – but more on that later…
Harley’s 5 thoughts:
1. Sorry if I ate all the PB&Js at the midway aid station. Great bonk protection, and I was about to.
2. My water bottle nozzle/nipples all froze shut.
3. The Miller Lite at the final aid station was unexpected, as in didn’t expect it, as in I thought it was horrible ginger ale, as in I really need to be well into a drinking night to chug Miller Lite.
4. Funny how the agro dudes that choose to pass at the worst time end up +/- 100 yards for the next 15 miles.
5. I think the race director overlooked a short stretch of trail that was actually pretty smooth and flat. Otherwise, great job on all the rocks.