My Mountain Mist 50K time of 5:11:03 averages to 10:02 miles. My marathon pace is 7:15 (for a 3:10). A loose rule of thumb is that you can add 2 hours to your marathon time and get your Mountain Mist time. For the more elite runners, this is not the case, but I have found it to be a pretty good loose rule of thumb for me. This year it happened to be almost exactly 2 hours difference from my recent marathon time.
Yes, a 50K (31 miles) is only 6 miles more than a marathon, but in Mountain Mist there are tough trails and major elevation change. There are sections where most runners don't run. I walk on the steep uphills (K-2, Waterline, and McKay Hollow---see below), and I walk into each aid station too (since I enjoy taking a short break and properly getting my bottle filled by the volunteers). Though there are many rocky sections, I like running those (you just have to be careful where you land). The last 1.8 miles of Mountain Mist are flat, and this year I was able to run them in 14:41, or an 8:09 pace. I considered this to be a great accomplishment. The rest of the race takes a toll by that point.
Oh, and here are the white trail shoes....before the race!
Rick and I never really focus on Mountain Mist the way we do a marathon. I do not train specifically for that race except for a couple of trail runs and a couple of long runs. For the marathon, I do many more pace-specific runs. But after the race, I am more tired and spent than I am after a marathon. I am more "beat up" too. I have blisters, cuts, black toenails, and dirt ground into my heel that won't wash away. I feel very tired all over my body, not just my legs.
Mountain Mist has really caused my marathon training to be all over the place for Little Rock. I aimed at focusing on Little Rock, but just as I was getting into my grove with the training, I hit the taper for Mountain Mist. I really didn't plan for Mountain Mist to be a goal race, but I still knew I needed a good taper for it if I was going to have the strength to run it.
And then last week was a recovery week. Yes, the whole week! I ended up getting a bug or food poisoning on the Tuesday after MM. I felt very weak, nauseous, and lethargic for a few days---just as I was starting to feel better from the race.
I sound down about MM, but I am actually very happy that I finished and that I PRed this year. Eight years worth of running the race has paid off in terms of my knowing how to run the race. I will always love the challenge of this race and the memories it holds for me. I don't have a streak at any race, but since I've run MM multiple times, I have many memories of earlier stages of my life when I ran the same trails. Trail running almost forces you to be reflective as you look at nature all around you. I think about who I was when I began running this race. I am so different now.
But back to Little Rock. At this point, I've only hit 3 or 4 key workouts for Little Rock. I am still struggling to maintain pace on pace runs, and I haven't done many tempo or track runs at faster than pace. So I'm thinking I may have to adjust my goal time for Little Rock. For now, I plan to run as closely as I can to my training program and assess how I feel I've done in 2 more weeks. While Rick is doing a program for "5 weeks between marathons," I am still doing Hal's Advanced program (just added MM to it as a long run and took last week to recover).
Today's 10 miler was the kind of run where I just wanted to quit, but I forced myself to press on. I told myself to focus on only my breath (and not my legs which still feel tried). I never got to where I was breathing hard, so I felt good when I forced myself not to think about my legs. I also feel like my heart is very taxed from MM. I've had to do other "tricks" to get myself to run fast these days. To get my miles to pace a few weeks ago, I had to turn up my music very loudly and run laps around the track. I know having to find all of these "tricks" to make myself go isn't good. I feel tired and ready for a break.
On a better note, I taught Science to my preschoolers this week. I either look very cool or very nerdy in this picture, but the kids loved it so that's all that counts! We did an experiment with celery and colored water.