My story of the 2011 Mountain Mist 50km
What possessed me to focus my training on the Mountain Mist 50km this year? I can’t really pin my reason on any one thing. I think that regularly training with several like minded folks really helped make my decision easy though. Late last summer I began to join the guys at work for their Tuesday Lunchtime Track Beat Down. I struggled mightily at first as I hadn’t done any structured speed work in years, let alone set foot on a track since my collegiate track running days. But I couldn’t resist, I was feeling burned out of my routine and wanted to do something different, train with some other folks, work to improve my speed. So after taking on the 335 Pinhoti Trail last May and half-heartily scrapping by the Lean Horse 100 Mile in September I went back to basics. Cut my weekly mileage back significantly, cut down the length of my long run and began to do more speed work and tempo runs.
Over the weeks that followed I saw my short distance speed coming back and even raced some of my fastest 5 kilometer races in years! What really capped off my decision to train seriously for Mountain Mist came after I set a personal record (my first personal record in over a decade!) in the half marathon in November. I was now really confident that I’d gotten my speed back now it was time to incorporate a little more distance and start getting my trail legs back.
Thus began the semi-weekly ritual of Track Tuesdays and Thursday Trail Tempo runs. My workouts on the track and trail steadily improved. On the weekends during the Mountain Mist course training runs I’d focus on pushing the main down and uphill sections at race pace or faster; just to build confidence. So by the time January 22nd rolled around I was ready to go!
My pre-race goal was to prove that I could get back to the sub 4:20 performances which I’d run four times previously. That was it. My personal best at Mountain Mist is 4:11:13 (2002) and I’d run 4:16-4:17 three times. I knew that today’s Mountain Mist 50km course has changed significantly* since 2002 and that a sub 4:20 would be on par with my previous bests.