Mountain Mist 50K Race Report

I think I found Heaven. Someone bottled it up and spread over 31 miles of a beautiful mountain in Huntsville, AL. I don’t think I have ever felt so at home while racing. I was in my element and the mountain won my heart but left the rest of me broken. I would not have it any other way.

The race started at Monte Sano State Park and took the runners through what they call “Alabama’s Toughest Trail Run.”  Mist definitely provided a very technical trail which included an abundant amount of rocks (smooth, jagged, gravel and boulders) allowing for several close calls for face plants and twisted ankles. It had rained for several days before causing 70% of the trails to greet us with thick mud puddles. Wet muddy shoes coupled with leaves added to the difficulty of navigating the trails not to mention the extra 5 lbs of weight it added to each foot.


The first 23.5 miles of the trail run was challenging but what lied ahead from 23.5-29 was two tough, long climbs that will be imprinted in my memory forever. Waterline was at mile 24 and consisted of 600 feet of elevation gain over one mile in which part of it was climbing the side of a waterfall grabbing onto roots to pull you up the side of the falls and it was made even more difficult with the mud and lack of footing. To put it in perspective it took me almost 21 minutes to complete mile 24!

Rest Shelter (can you say misnomer) was at mile 29. I am not sure how to explain how painful it was 29 miles into a trail run to hit another 600 foot climb. This one tested you not only physically but mentally as well. By this time your quads are crushed from not only the ascents but the downhill technical sections as well. But the thoughts of the finish line being so close heals the pain and weariness. Once you get to the top of the climb the sight of an aid station with a sign that says “1.8 miles to go” was Heaven sent.

The last leg into the finish all I could do was think about the 5 hours and 20+ minutes I spent on Mist, the volunteers that were just out of this world, how amazed I was that Dink Taylor could successfully setup such and amazing race and how proud I was to be part of an incredible adventure.

5h 24m 27s - 31 miles - Approx. 4K feet of climbing

5h 24m 27s - 31 miles - approx. 4K feet of elevation gain


– At registration I said my name and the volunteer (James Hurley – sweet guy!) said I recognize your name. Then he puts the local paper on the table and says, you are seeded top 3 woman. I was completely embarrassed and asked why I was seeded! After I crossed the finish line as the 2nd overall female I see Dink and he says, “That is why you were seeded in the top 3.” 

– I stopped for at least a minute at each aid station pounding M&Ms like they were going out of style. All the volunteers were like, “You are the top female, why don’t you take the cup with you and keep going.”  I kept thinking why would I do that when I can just relax and socialize? At mile 26.4 I was passed by Dana Overton a well known ultra trail runner in them there parts. Oh, I guess they were telling me I should keep moving so I did not get passed 🙂

– After the race I was in the lodge and see the man that was behind me at Waterfall. He comes up to me and says, “I wanted to let you know that I did not look up your skirt. I looked down the entire time.”  Ummmm, I had shorts under my skirt! I wonder what the guys thought when a skirt passed them in pink arm warmers and gloves…nice!

– Major congrats to my friend Jason that not only destroyed Mist but also my time! Pulling off a 5:11 with a stress fracture in his shin. Now that is tough! Way to go J! You are now officially better than me at EVERYTHING!

The BEST Finishers Medal EVER!


14 Responses to “Mountain Mist 50K Race Report”

  1. Awesome Race Report Kel!

    Oh and I love that Dink and James – Right on Dink! Thats exactly why you were seeded in the Top 3! It is soooo cool that you have found such love in the trails – I can only imagine what beautiful running it was, and the beauty coupled with all the emotions of the day would definitely have made for a most memorable experience, etched it that beautiful spirit of yours, forever.

    Loved seeing those smiles, inspite of the mud and those painful hills. You rock Kel, thanks so much for sharing. xx Hugs T

  2. Just amazing! I can’t believe how long that one mile took!!
    I can feel your quads hurting….ouch!

  3. Stepmonster Says:

    Ha! Well it is no surprise to me that you wouldn’t have put yourself at the top – IN YOUR HEAD!

    I loved your post – I could see it all (but thru a “mom’s eyes, sometimes made me wince!) I’ll bet you can close your eyes and see and smell the whole race. It must have been just amazing!

    Congratulations for seeing kicking yet another goal right in the ass! I am so proud of you and can’t wait until tomorrow to start bragging to all who will listen!

    Love and hugs,

  4. Congrats on a great race! Sounds like an amazing one to do…I’ve put it on my list! My new obsession is trail running, but I have yet to race one. This year though! Love the skirt…can I ask what brand it is? I’m looking for one myself but have been a bit gunshy to pull the trigger on one yet…but I have time as here in MN we’re in the freezing temps still. Congrats again! Can’t wait to read more of your race reports!

  5. wow! congrats girl. you killed it and had fun. I’m so proud of you for getting second and I can’t believe just how difficult that trail was. Love the pics and major congratulations to you!!!

  6. I never doubted for a minute that you would finish in the top! That trail sounds like a a little piece of heaven dropped into the middle of nowhere with a little piece of hell inserted just for fun. I love the pics and how you are smiling in every one even though your leg muscles felt like (as I like to say) they were put through a paper shredder… oh what a feeling!
    Love you!

  7. My boyfriend found your blog and forwarded it to me. We talked to you after the race.

    You are one tough cookie! And I LOVE that you post your workouts because I am definitely stealing ideas from you.

    Ironman, too, huh? That doesn’t surprise me either. YOU ROCK.

  8. Photoshop made your quads look awesome 🙂 Just kidding. You did awesome. My favorite part is that you stopped to stuff your face w/M&M’s! That’s my kind of running! And I am pretty sure that when the hills saw your quads coming they were scared!

  9. The Truth!! Man, you are so tough and awesome. The smiles though,are always my favorite part. I think I would average 24 min miles making my time . . .I’d still be out there. You know what guys think when you pass them in a skirt? “What’s under the skirt?” That’s all. Nice race strategy. Too bad that didn’t work on Dana Overton. haha

    Great race, K! Can’t wait for more. My first trail run/race? is in March, a fifth of the Mist, but I’m super excited especially after your report. Love ya!

  10. You should do the The Canadian Death Race. I did leg three and it was awesome! If you like pain and mountains then you will love this race which covers 3 mountains. I believe the total distance is equivalent to 3 marathon races. If you’re up for a challenge try to do it all by yourself! It’s a Killer!

  11. Tim Vinson Says:

    Nice report! I need to work on shortening my time at aid stations as well. And Rest Shelter humbled me (again). Great job!

  12. I saw something about this topic on TV last night. Nice article.

  13. Kellie, Awesome!!!!!!!! Reports….. Can’t wait for you to write more, as you keep Running.
    I’m looking forward to seeing you at next years MMTR 2011….. 🙂
    And Again Great Great Job!!!!!!!!!!

    P.S. YOU ROC IT OUT~~~~~ 😛

  14. Wow Kel. That is an epic race. Congrats.

    You inspire me.

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