January 2007
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Month January 2007

Mountain Mist: conquered!

The mist was nowhere to be seen at the start of this year’s race; just an abundance of beautiful sunshine that warmed things up perfectly. I had put on tights originally, but it was actually several degrees warmer on top of Monte Sano, so I switched to shorts right before the start. The race began with a one mile run on the road, then we ducked into the woods right before a nice overlook. While the runners were stacked up through the first aid station, everyone remained courteous on the trail. I took a good tumble (the only one of my day) around mile 9… tripped on a rock or root and slid, knocking my left calf on a rock, upon which it immediately seized into a nice solid cramp (the effects of which I still feel a day later). I layed there grabbing my leg, probably moaning a bit, and someone starts yelling for a medic – as if any of them are around! Luckily I didn’t need one (although at the pre-race meeting, the RD said someone always breaks something). One of the guys behind me grabs my leg and mashes my calf muscle a few times and works it out a good bit. Within another minute, I’m on my feet and back at it, slowing catching up to where I was before. I hear some people in front saying “I wonder how that girl was that fell???”… I think I surprised them when I said “Oh, I’m fine!” :)

I was hitting aid stations about every hour, which kept my hydration and nutrition in check. I used my Ultimate Direction Duo waist pack, along with a small side pouch a borrowed from Joey at the last minute – my inhaler took up so much room and I wanted to take a flask with my favorite caffeinated gel from Hammer Nutrition – Espresso! I also stashed a few squares of emergency TP, Sports Beans, Burt’s Bees lip balm, Endurolytes, and a bit of duct tape in case my feet needed some help along the way. The aid stations were well stocked with drinks, munchies & wonderful volunteers. I was in and out quickly, having my empty water bottle already open to dump some water/gatorade in quickly, grabbing a Clif Shot or piece of banana to eat & run.

Around mile 14.5 I started a bit of a slump. I was running slower and felt I was dragging a bit. I decided it was a perfect time to power up my Shuffle and listen to some tunes. I hadn’t listened to music running in ages (normally choosing to listen to the quietness around me, or the people I’m with). However now, it gave me the pick-me-up I needed. It was mostly music from my old spin class at ATS: a collection of loud, hard, wonderful stuff from Disturbed, NIN, Radiohead, Deftones, etc. The terrain was also getting tougher – more rocks, making it much less runable (for me at least). The downhills were treacherous – they are definitely my weakest skill, and I didn’t want to take any chances and bust it. I was passed a good bit here; however, I caught many on the uphills. We would all walk them, but when some would take a relaxing pace, I was more agressive and powered forward. This helped me yo yo past one girl around mile 27 (and I stayed ahead till the finish – yeah!)

The waterline climb was real special – the pic below doesn’t do it justice. Do see the elevation profile I posted a few days ago – it was literally a scramble up the rocks. It was a bit slick and muddy today; but I’ll take that over the stories of ice in the past. I’m happy I got through this section with no cramps setting in.

The last aid station came with 1.8 miles to go. I set off with Henri, who I had caught on the final big climb. He had great energy and spirit and pushed me to the finish (although he claimed otherwise). He was running the MM for the 13th time (every year it has occurred), now at age 50. Wow!!

At the finish, I walked through the lodge to turn in my time card and retrieve my hand painted finisher’s plaque (cool award, on a piece of slate tile). I could feel the lactic acid pooling in my legs and I couldn’t stand still for a minute. I went to the car to change (the temps were now dropping quickly – big cold front moving through). I pulled off my socks and freaked out a bit when I saw the huge blood blister on my left foot. I knew they were sensitive and that I likely had a blister… but wow. I was not expecting this. I couldn’t get a shoe on, so I hobbled back to the lodge and beelined to the ladies room. After a release of post-race emotions and a few tears, I hung with the Chatty crew, caught up with some Atl friends, and munched on a bit of food. After everyone from our group was safely across the finish line, we packed it up and headed home. Luckily it was a relatively short drive (less than 2 hrs), as I don’t think our legs could have been couped up much longer!

I’m feeling pretty good today, although I still can’t get a shoe on my left foot. I’ve indulged in 2 epsom salt baths and will have a painfully wonderful massage tomorrow. Gotta keep up the luv, with my next event 4 weeks away!

official 2007 Mountain Mist website
distance: 50k
overall time: 6:36:39
overall finish: 155 (out of 285 starting)
330 people registered: 274 men, 56 women)
women’s division finish: 17 (out of 43 starting)
age group finish (30-39): 6 (out of 13)

map of the course, taken by tony’s gps

tour of the course
I grabbed some of the pictures posted there since I didn’t take my camera…

lodge: start & finish

powerlines: mile 7.8

stone trail: mile 14

stone cuts: mile 14

rocky trails: 17.6

part of the waterfall climb: mile 24

hot stuff!

I always love to help a Yak out, so when he wanted a spiffy new logo to help brand the new Checkpoint Tracker National Points Series, I was happy to obligue. In this inaugural year, there are only 10 races spread out over the country, but heck, we all start somewhere. Yak likes to do things right and is one of the few people out there really going out on a limb for the sport of adventure racing. This year’s series is merely the tip of the iceburg. Get your crampons ready; he’ll be taking us on a great journey in the next few years.

a peek at Mtn Mist…

It looks like it’s going to be a gorgeous race day:
6am: 33°F
9am: 42°F
12pm: 52°F
3pm: 54°F
6pm: 48°F
The race starts at 8am CST, partly cloudy, with wind chills only amounting to a few degrees. Chance of rain 20%. It’s going to warm up nicely and almost makes me want to wear shorts, but I think I might just deal with tights – as long as I have a singlet on, I can regulate my temps pretty well. We’ll see – I’ll probably change 3 times that morning :) I think I’m ready – I have lots of different goals, but first and foremost is to not get hurt and finish. Then finish around 6.5 hrs… We’ll see. It’s a tougher course that StumpJump, but I’m also much more prepared. Fingers crossed it’s another great day on my feet! I’m not going to take my camera on the course (heck, it is a race afterall!) so I’ll just have to link to others posted later.

Cumberland Trail: Rock Creek Segment

today was our last weekend run before Mountain Mist. we tackled a portion of the Rock Creek segment of the Cumberland Trail system. (this portion is 7.2 miles long; we ran about 50 minutes out and back). temps dropped 7 degrees during the run (finished at 41degrees), the wind was blowing, and the light rain almost icy. this looks to be a great segment and i look forward to tackling it when dry – the rocks were a bit treacherous!

more pics here

mountain mist: 6 days and counting…

“You are the one responsible for entering this race, you better be prepared for the course itself. The rocks will have no mercy. I have seen this course rip apart many a “good trail runner.” Mountain Mist is trail running in its finest form. No one is ever let down, just shut down, beaten up, broken and left bleeding. You first timers beware, this course may cause you bodily harm. Even though you have entered the race and paid the fee…YOU CAN STILL BACK OUT! No one will laugh at you, just tell them your family still needs you and you want to continue running in the future, they’ll understand! Otherwise, “know your limits and then completely ignore them.”"

mtn biking at sewanee

here are a few pics from a mtn biking trip up to the Sewanee Perimeter Trails, located on the University of the South campus. great singletrack (will be nice to come back and see the improvement in my riding – lots of tough stuff here!) very scenic area!

the frosty challenge

dreama came up with this fun day of training to end 2006 with. we had a good size crew for this inaugural event, plus gorgeous, unseasonably warm temps. we started off on road bikes from the red bank bi lo and rode about 20 miles up to soddy, where we dropped our bikes at the hotwater road trailhead for the cumberland trail. we put on our shoes for a there-and-back run (10.2 total miles) on a great section of trails, taking a break on a nice rock overlook. back at transition, a few people began celebrating the new year early, with some beer & jager shots. finally, back on our bikes for the ride back to the start. a few pics are below; more are located here.


2 weeks until the big run… so time to taper. the main crew was doing 12 today; since mtn mist isn’t necessarily my goal race (or rather event, as i’m not exactly racing these runs yet), i decided to join michelle, k-man & kelly for a bit extra, bringing our mileage to around 19. some days you have it, some days you don’t. once we finished the main loop (pott point, up in prentice cooper) and the hefty crew of 12 or so runners ended their run, my legs just did not join me for the last 3. after lunch at mojo burrito, i showered and tried to take a nap, but sometimes your legs just feel too much. and all i could do was lay there and feel them. restless. lactic acid just swirling around. lovely. so i’ve been sitting in Stone Cup “working”, enjoying some good coffee (caffeine not taking effect though), a delish raspberry white chocolate scone (i deserve a treat after 4.5 hrs of running, right??), and watching an amazing sunset. wish i had the camera.

next weekend i think the plan is around 10-12 miles. i think this week will be relatively normal, except for the fact i have a buttload of work that needs to get accomplished (more late nights). Next week though i need to be super nice to my body. good food, long sleeps (ok, 8 hrs a night would make me quite happy. sad to say.) and then off to huntsville! what will be interesting is the recovery…. i will indulge in a massage & many epson baths.. need to get in 10 the next weekend i think. then ramp up for another week (although i’ll be in colorado, so we’ll see how the running goes in snow!), then a taper weekend of 10ish, then the big run: the Mt Mitchell (40-mile) Challenge. (oh, then my AR debut of the season the very next weekend – the YMCA Goldrush. Yikes!)

umm… oops.

i borrow people’s gear enough, but usually just little things like ropes, packs, lights, etc. today, i rode jesse’s bike, to test out some nicer components that just might find it’s way onto my new ride. i don’t know much about the frame (it was a kona kula; i’ll be getting a lynskey)…but the rest of it was sweeeet: magura marta hydros (wow, infreakincredible stopping power), x9 shifters (thumb-only – simple, nice, and felt very natural), and a reba fork (i can’t even compare this to the duke on my trek). in all, i am now just more psyched to have my new bike (likely coming in 2-3 months, so patience will be key). we rode up at raccoon mountain – overcast and the trails were empty when we got there. i actually was riding great and feeling confident. then a little stick wanted to interfere with my fun, catching on the rear derailleur and snapping it off. ride over. i felt like a tool when jesse finally doubled back wondering where the heck i was, only to find me hiking out with the bike on my shoulders. sigh. luckily the part is cheap, but still… i suck!

procrastinating and possum creek gorge

the two only relate at this moment.. when i should be either working or going to bed, and instead i am “wasting” time looking at pics from recent trainings and thinking about how much i haven’t posted on here lately. so here is a quick note:

last sunday was our last long run before our upcoming race. we did 27 miles on the Possum Creek Gorge segment of the Cumberland Trail. this is a 13.5 mile segment that is absolutely gorgeous, even in the drizzling foggy rainy cool weather (which seems to be perfect training for “mountain mist”!) the approx 4000′ of elevation gain should be good practice as well :)

i don’t have the pics up yet, but here are a few. we had 3 big creek crossings (which meant 6 since it was there-and-back) – coooold water! the waterfall (coined “Immodium Falls” by creek boaters) was gorgeous with a deep pool that is calling our name for the summer swimming hole running series :) the last pic isn’t a bad shot – it really was that foggy!

sergio & kevin



billy, sergio, dreama, trey