Monday, February 4, 2013

How Mountain Mist Compares/Affects My Upcoming Little Rock Marathon

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.


  1. Very interesting about the 50K and marathon time difference. I have never run longer than a marathon so I will take your word on it! :-)

    The hills will definitely help you with LRM. Are you in Corral A? We will have to meet up sometime before or after!

    I am not sure what to think pace wise. I think I am going for my 7 min pace again (like I did in Memphis in December) and hoping I can maintain it. I ended up with a 7:11 on my watch there (although the official was 7:14) It would have been a lot closer to 7 except for the fact that I died in the last 5K. Little Rock is a more challenging course but very doable and it keeps your mind busy. Not a boring out and back that's for sure!

    With all that hill running I think you are going to be more than ready!!

  2. I hope you are all recovered from the flu now! Wondering if you mean you took a whole week off completely, or just cut way back for recovery. I see how a 50k trail run would play into marathon training very well, especially if you are able to play it smart and make the marathon the "key" race.
    Little rock is still a little ways off. I bet with some good sleep and fuel, you won't find you have to use so many tricks to maintain your goal pace :)

    I always enjoy reading here and am amazed at how well you do in races all the way from the 5k to the 50k.