Sunday, January 3, 2016

Mountain Mist 50K--Training for my 10th finish!

In Alabama, we had record flooding over Christmas Day 2015.  The day after Christmas I set out for my first trail run to prepare for Mountain Mist 50K on January 23.  I planned to meet a group at 7 a.m. on the mountain, but Bankhead Parkway was closed due to flooding!  Fellow FF teammate Loren was also trying to go up Bankhead, so we both had to turn around and go up Monte Sano Boulevard instead.  The group had already started by the time we did all of this, so we started with Loren's friend Megan.  Gregg Gelmis from We Run Huntsville snapped a few pictures before we left and was the photographer for all of my pictures today!

Katie (me), Megan, Loren

With Gregg

 I ended up running mostly with teammate Linda once our little group caught up with some of the bigger group.  We ran the back half of the MM course, around 15-16 miles.  It was so fun today with all of the stream crossings and waterfalls!  Every time I got muddy or warm (it was 70 today!), there a would be a stream right on the trail!  The water felt so cool and refreshing!

 Linda and I are on Waterline.  This is a gradual steep section around Mile 23 of the course.  We are walking it today as I will probably be on race day also.

We are approaching the waterfall!  It was much bigger today than usual!

How many times in life do you get a chance to go behind a waterfall?  That is what I did in these next few pictures.  As I tried going through the waterfall to come back out, the water almost knocked me over (as it did a few times in some of the heavier stream crossings).  It was a good reminder to me of the amazing, dangerous power of moving water.  

With  3,872 feet of climbing, this race is tough!  How to prepare for it?  Of course, getting out on the trails as much as you can helps.  Today's run of the back half of the course had 2 of the course's 3 major climbs, so it makes sense to train on this section and not the easier first half.  I also did a 20 mile road run on New Year's Eve with lots of hills in it.  Getting hill training, long runs, and trail runs in as much as you can helps you to be ready for race day. 

Here's the map of MM.  The climb in these pictures is on this map right before Mile 25.  Our course today took us from Mile 16-Mile 30 on this map.  Lots of climbing!

Finally, here is a list from the MM Ultra Signup site of the people who are eligible to complete their 10th Mountain Mist this year.  Women are listed in bold.  This means I am the only woman attempting her 10th finish this year!  As usual, I am feeling so nervous and scared!  With less than 3 weeks to go, I am questioning whether or not I am ready.  I just keep thinking "If I could finish last year, then I can finish this year."  That is the mentality that got me through the past 9 finishes.  Some years I felt so ill-prepared, but knowing that I had done it before got me through.  

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