Sunday, January 16, 2011

Mountain Mist History

Before I post on my strategy behind running the 2011 Mountain Mist, I wanted to look back over the past 9 Mountain Mists and to give a little account of each one. As you will see, this race is such an important part of Rick's and my past. We love this race for much more than the finish times, but for every story that is behind each of the 30 miles of this amazing course.

This is the year we fell in love while training for Mountain Mist. You know you are really a running couple when most of your courting/newlywed pictures are at a race start--ha! Notice the only pictures are of us next to each other with big cheesy smiles on our faces (while in the other years there are actually pictures of us running). Hey love birds, wasn't there a race that day too?





Photo credit note: The majority of these pictures were from our camera, some (2008 and 2010) were from previous Mountain Mist in the "race photos" section of the website or facebook.
Just google "Mountain Mist 50K," and you are going to get a bunch of cool stories about this awesome race (click here, here, here, here, here, and here to see some other past runners' race reports that I found through Google). Wow! This race draws people from all around, and we locals are so lucky to have it so nearby. I actually thought about running it for a couple of years before getting up the nerve to train for it. I found a running friend, Jennie, to train with me. And I asked Rick to help me learn the trails. He was a mountain biker and a runner and was also training for his first Mountain Mist. I was a graduate student at Auburn University at the time. When I came up for Christmas Break, I trained hard on the trails. Our first date was January 3, 2003, and we were so cute and in love by our first Mountain Mist.

I nearly backed out when I sat in my dorm room reading the pre-race instructions: "You can still back out. Your family needs you. This race has left many a good trail runner beaten, bruised, and bloody. You will do bodily harm." Was this really my thing? Rick convinced me that I was ready. He was ahead of me the whole time that year, but he managed to find a pen to write, "Hang in there. See you at the finish" on the inside of a paper cup at the mile 25 aid station. I still have that cup. It provided me so much encouragement and happiness that day. I remember loving the aid stations (like little parties--each one was so fun and had such yummy treats--M&Ms are my favorite), the Stone Cuts (amazing that I was in a race yet in the middle of the forest inside a wall of stones in the pitch black!), and the ice along the course (very cold year).
The next 8 Mountain Mists have been a series of ups and downs, as you can see with this summary of our times. Each one holds different memories, some good and some bad. I can't look back at 2004 without remembering the elation I felt at breaking 6 hours or at 2008 without remembering the huge burden I felt to get back into shape while limping in at over 7 hours. These are just times to you, but they tell me so much more.
Years     Katie                                                  Rick
'03         6:17                                                    5:53
'04         5:46                                                    6:09
'05         6:42                                                    6:31
'06          X (pregnant 1st child)                       6:37
'07         DNF (pregnant 2nd child)                 6:34
'08         7:03                                                    DNF
'09           X (failed to register in time!)            X
'10         6:06                                                   6:18       

1st Mountain Mist
January 25, 2003
Katie 6:17:05
Rick 5:53:56

My most vivid memories were of that oh-so-memorable first race.
But here are a few more memories from years 2-9:

2nd Mountain Mist
January 26, 2004
Katie 5:46:32
Rick 6:09:35

This was a very warm day. We took a little disposable camera along and snapped pictures along the way. We had just gotten engaged (on a trail run at the top of Rest Shelter Hill on January 3, 2004--one year from our first date). We later named our first dog Monte.

3rd Mountain Mist
January 27, 2005
Katie 6:42:55
Rick 6:31:21
Muddy and rainy! The race finished at The Lodge (the site of our wedding reception)

4th Mountain Mist January 28, 2006
I was pregnant with our son.
Rick 6:37:37

5th Mountain Mist
January 27, 2007
I stopped at 16.9 miles since she was 11 weeks pregnant with our daughter.
Rick 6:34:06

6th Mountain Mist
January 26, 2008
Katie 7:03:49
Rick dropped out at mile 2 stress fracture in pelvis
Beautiful fog that year!

7th Mountain Mist
We did not register in time (by now this race was filling up quickly--lesson learned) so we volunteered at aid station mile 25 at Monte Sano Blvd.

8th Mountain Mist
January 23, 2010
Katie 6:06:04 
Rick 6:18:34
The muddiest Mountain Mist I've done! I ran right through the puddles from the very beginning, saving a lot of time.

We are less than a week away from this year's race, and a week from today the story will be written. I sit here wanting to prove myself before possibly taking another couple years off to have a baby, and Rick is two weeks from having done a run due to some back pain. He's wondering if he can even start this year. Yet we stay optimistic. We are both hoping to have a good finish with good stories to tell.


  1. Hi! I just found your blog. What an inspiration you both are! Rocket City was my first marathon and I struggled to keep up with Katie! Running the Mountain Mist is one of my goals and I am amazed that you have done it 8 times! Great blog!

  2. Oooh, I LOVE this post. How fun. What great memories you and Rick will always have centered around this race and these trails!!

    You make me want to maybe do it one day possibly, sort of. ;)

    I will be sending you strong, fast, sure-footed thoughts all morning!

  3. Thank you, April. I am glad you found the blog and are enjoying the entries. This one was fun for me to write. Running this race is really a walk down memory lane! I'm working on my 6th one this year, and Rick is on his 7th. I can't count the ones I only watched!

    Jane, thanks for the happy thoughts on Saturday! I will need them :)