It happened last year during the Mountain Mist. It’s billed as the southeast’s toughest trail race. That alone should make you want to skip it. But NOOOOO! That’s not how I operate. That would be too easy. If you read my 2015 report on this race then you remember that it rained the day before and then snowed that night. Not exactly great conditions to run in. But that’s part of the allure of trail racing – to see how much you can physically endure. Why else would people run 31 plus miles, 50 miles and even 100 mile ultras? I remember at some point of the 2015 race saying that running in these conditions just isn’t fun. It was just nasty! Even after missing the last cutoff time I remember thinking that I’m glad I entered, but I’ll never do this one again. I was fine with a DNF (did not finish) ran the best race I knew how to run and it just wasn’t good enough on that day.
But then it started as it often does for me, on the drive home. I started thinking about what I had done wrong, in training and on race day. Once I spoke with Eric, who has been my unofficial coach, he pointed out a key point – on a course as muddy as that one you can’t try to go around all the mud. You must run through the mud! Running around the mud had cost me precious time. I was ok with that, learned something for the future. My legs were cramping, I was cold, it was muddy and wet, I missed my last cutoff, I’m good. I tried, don’t really care if I ever run that one again.
But then something happened this year. In a moment of weakness I found my hands on the keyboard and before I knew it I had somehow registered for the 2016 Mountain Mist! What? How did that happen? I’ll tell you how…
Last year I had the hopes of Grand Slamming with the Huntsville Track Club. To Grand Slam you must complete these 4 races:
Dizzy Fifties 50k on November 21, 2015,
Rocket City Marathon on December 12, 2015,
Recover From The Holidays 50k on December 31, 2015, and last, but by no means least,
Mountain Mist 50k on January 23, 2016.
Last year though I had to miss the Recover Ultra, so I was out of the Slam…
But this year I had finished all of the required races and finished top 10 in my age group at the Recover from the Holidays a few weeks ago.
Then I made the mistake of texting Eric to let him know about my finish at the Recover from the Holidays Ultra and he subtly reminded me that I was on track to Grand Slam. I had no intentions of running the Mist but now I’m in – again.
I honestly question whether I’m in good enough shape to finish but I will line up at the start and see if I get pulled again!
So that’s how, in a moment of weakness, I registered for a race that I said I’d never run again. Never say never!