Just Like That, Another 50-Miler

Bel Monte 50 Mile Endurance RunBel Monte Endurance Race – 50 Miles

So it’s back to those gnarly, nasty Blue Ridge Mountain trails of Virginia.

March 22, 2008, I will again attempt 50 miles of trail running in under twelve hours. The race is called the Bel Monte Endurance Run and takes place at Sherando Lake near Waynesboro, Virginia. Runners at the Bel Monte have three distance options: 25K (~16 miles), 50K (~32 miles) and the 50 mile option, which is, uhhhh… well, 50 miles.

Making this year’s event even more exciting, the 50 mile race will be held as the United States Track and Field (USATF) Virginia 50 Mile Trail Championships; but, as you might expect, I have zero chance at competing at that level. I just simply want to scoot my big ol’ behind across the finish line in under twelve hours to nail that 50 mile distance once and for all.

The Bel Monte Race Course 

From the Bel Monte Endurance Run web site:

The race begins and ends at Sherando Lake, in the heart of the George Washington National Forest. The course covers some the most scenic portions of this area on the east coast, with over 90% single track trail and about 10% fire and gravel roads. It includes about 6000 ft of ascents and descents following creeks and waterfalls fed by Sherando Lake. Some of the trails are technical but very spectacular.

My Goals for Bel Monte

For about a week I was pretty bummed that I was cut at 40 miles during the Mountain Masochist; but after the initial shock and disappointment of my first DNF (acronym for – did not finish), I realized that I didn’t finish because I was not adequately prepared. I went out too fast for me, wore the wrong shoes for the first half of the race, and let the mental meltdown get in the way of my true potential.

Not this time.

I am determined to ensure that I am adequately trained and well prepared. At Masochist, I underestimated the jump from 30+ mile races, up to 50+ mile races. It’s a huge difference. And after having my cocky butt handed to me, a difference that I now respect a whole lot more.

Should I be worried?

Hmmm… This should put the race potentials in proper perspective.

Below is a photo of a 2007 Bel Monte race particpant who won the “Best Blood” Award. Not sure what happened to him out on that trail, but he certainly deserved the award. Egad…

Best Blood Award at the 2007 Bel Monte Endurance Run

Picture ripped from the Bel Monte web site

Off to the trails… I’m excited. 2008 is gonna be a great year for ultrarunning.

“Alabama’s Toughest Trail Race”

Mountain Mist 50K - Alabama’s Toughest Trail Race

…so they say.

As I plan for my second year of ultra training and racing, I am very excited to see I made the list for the Mountain Mist 50K. Touted as “Alabama’s Toughest Trail Race”, I really wanted to tackle this course for my first ultramarathon of the 2008 season. I have heard so many great things about the race and I’m looking forward to pushing myself to a sub-seven hour PR.

2008 Mountain Mist Trail Race

This 31-mile mountain trail race is held in Huntsville, Alabama, at Monte Sano Preserve, and proves to offer all the things I crave in trail races. Rocks, hills, roots, steep inclines and declines and challenging terrain. The Mountain Mist web site breaks it down as follows:

“Expect anything…including cancellation due to inclement weather (the mountain can ice over)! Temperatures can range from 10 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. This course consists of extremely rocky mountain trails, mud, and creek crossings. Not to mention the 3526 feet of climbing!! There is a vertical climb on the course that requires the use of your upper body.”

There are cut-offs in this race, similar to Mountain Masochist, but the cut-offs seem more-than-reasonable and while I am not discounting them, I am confident that I will be able to stay ahead of them.

A Talented Field of 50K Trail Runners

There is some great talent scheduled to race Mountain Mist this year. Eric Grossman, 2006 Mountain Masochist winner; Byron Backer, longtime, well-respected ultrarunner AND South Carolina brethren; Greg Goodson, 7th place at Rattlesnake and the dude who introduced me to running on the Appalachian Trail; Dewayne Satterfield, another SE ultra legend; Many of the members of GUTS, of which I am also a member, and many, many more awesome runners. Oh, and who could forget Rob Apple, whom I overheard on the bus heading up to the start of the Mountain Masochist, mention that MMTR was his 503rd ultra. That’s five hundred and three races, all exceeding 26 miles, at the ripe old age of 46. I’m not worthy. …If you run and you are reading this – you probably aren’t either. {wink}

I am kinda bummed to see that Annette Bednosky will not be running this race. She’s sort of a personal favorite of mine as I marvel at how a human being can climb hills and motor through ultra races like she does. Couple that with a humble and genuine personality, and it’s easy to see why she’s a popular favorite.

Mountain Mist Race Elevation Profile

Mountain Mist Race Elevation Profile