Friday, January 22, 2010

2010 Mountain Mist 50km Wrap Up

Mountain Mist 50km
Huntsville, AL
January 22, 2010

Eric Charette’s Post Race Recap

  • Put some time in the bank by pushing the pace on the first half of the course, knowing that the trails would be mostly dry and very runnable.
  • Take away the advantage of the competition who were strong at downhill running by being very aggressive on the down hills.
  • Make up time on the field by hammering the climbs without sacrificing recovery at the peaks.
  • Run through the aid stations making a bottle exchange with my crew and saving critical time.
  • Hold on in the last 10km through McKay Hollow.
Section 1: Monte Sano Lodge to O’Shaughnessy Point
Miles 0 to 6.47

Standing at the start line, I shivered slightly as the wind was steady out of the north. It wouldn’t bother us much on this day, as just after the first mile, we would drop down off of the rim and not return for several hours.

As the gun went off to signify the start, Carl Laniak took off like his pants were on fire! Carl told me just before the start that his goal was to not get passed all day. Then he proceeded to ask me who David Ridddle was…. Within a half mile and before leaving the road portion, David had passed Carl to take the lead and would not ease up all day.

As planned, I pushed the pace early on, moving ahead of our chase pack before hitting the trail. I had no intention of holding that pace, but instead of letting the down hill runners pull away from me and having to catch up on the flats, I was going to attack the descents and then ease on the flats. Having been focusing on technique and selecting my lines on the drops, I was able to quickly maneuver down Chestnut Hill and onto Mountain Mist trail.

2010 Mountain Mist 50km article for Huntsville Times

Riddle Makes History at The Mist

By Eric J. Charette
January 23, 2010 3:40 p.m. CDT

Runners and volunteers at the 16th annual Mountain Mist 50km on Saturday in Huntsville witnessed a little bit of history that may never happen again. Finishing in 3:58:30, David Riddle won going away in his first Mountain Mist over his nearest competitor over 10 minutes. David achieved the impossible by winning every event in the Fleet Feet Grand Slam, including a 3:21 at Dizzy Fifties 50km, took overall honors at Rocket City Marathon and won the Recovery from the Holidays 50km on New Years Eve.

"I went out with thoughts of taking a shot at the course record and felt really good through the first two aid stations, but then I realized I was faster than I needed to be and backed off a little," said Riddle after the race.

"In the second half the mud was tough, the rocks were tough and the hills almost got me. I stayed focused and kept moving forward and ultimately I was able to hit my sub four hour goal."

David becomes just the 4th runner ever to break the four-hour mark on the Mountain Mist Course.

David is a local runner, having been born and raised in Huntsville. His time at Dizzy Fifties 50km on Monte Sano in November was the 10th fastest for the distance in the entire United States in 2009.

“You just don’t see a runner with the ability to run fast at road marathons and also on trails,” said race director Dink Taylor.

Forty five year old DeWayne Satterfield was the first male masters and 2nd overall in a time of 4:09:09. He as won this race overall nine previous times. Rounding out the top three was last years champion, David Rindt of Roswell, Georgia in a time of 4:16:57.

The women's battle was closely contested with Dana Overton of Albertville, Alabama, winning by three minutes in a time of 5:21:09. Kellie Smirnoff of Jacksonville, Florida finished in second place with a time of 5:24:27 and local ultra running legend Kathy Youngren was 3rd female, running 5:29:53.

"I broke a shoelace at mile 20 and had to run that way for another 4 miles to the next aid station," said Overton. "Luckily my boyfriend was crewing for me and gave me his right shoe to finish the race." This was the first time that Dana has won Mountain Mist 50km and brings her career total of ultra marathon wins to 5.

The Mountain Mist 50k is one of the top ten largest 50k ultra marathons in the country. Today there were 273 official starters and 250 finishers.

Top 10 Overall Finishers

1 David Riddle 3:58:30
2 DeWayne Satterfield 4:09:09
3 David Rindt 4:16:57
4 Tim Vinson 4:20:04
5 Zachary Koch 4:31:35
6 Eric Charette 4:35:06
7 Eric Gilbertson 4:39:40
8 Robert Youngren 4:47:32
9 Kevin Boucher 4:49:06
10 David Purinton 4:49:24

Top 5 Overall Female Finishers
1 Dana Overton 5:21:09
2 Kellie Smirnoff 5:24:27
3 Kathy Youngren 5:29:53
4 Sally Brooking 5:36:05
5 Emily Ansick 5:41:38

2010 Mountain Mist 50km Predictions/Actuals

Based on past race results and previous attempts at Mountain Mist 50km, I had predicted times and finishing order for the 16th running of Mountain Mist. Excluding weather, I had predicted 22 people would break 5 hours. The weather was less than perfect with mud covering much of the second half of the course, and proved to slow people down.

Based on official results from the Huntsville Track Club, 17 people broke 5 hours. Of that 17, I correctly predicted 14 of them.

Of the top 10, I predicted 8 of them correctly. Despite only a semi-technical approach to the prediction model, I would say that the placement order was moderately successful.

Congrats to Andrew Warner, Phil Canning and Patrick Fagerman for breaking 5 hours and coming in under the radar of my predictions!

Actual finishing order along with my predicted order
  1. David Riddle - predicted 1st (even)
  2. Dewayne Satterfield - predicted 3rd (+1)
  3. David Rindt - predicted 2nd (-1)
  4. Tim Vinson - predicted 6th (+2)
  5. Zachary Koch - predicted 8th (+3)
  6. Eric Charette - predicted 5th (-1)
  7. Eric Gilbertson - predicted 17th (+10)
  8. Robert Youngren - predicted 4th (-4)
  9. Kevin Boucher - predicted 7th (-2)
  10. David Purinton - predicted 15th (+5)
  11. Vince Molosky - predicted 12th (+1)
  12. Carl Laniak - predicted 10th (-2)
  13. Andrew Warner - did not predict a place/time
  14. David O'Keefe - predicted 21st (+7)
  15. Phil Canning - did not predict a place/time
  16. Blake Thompson - predicted 13th (-3)
  17. Patrick Fagerman - did not predict a place/time
Predicted finishing order along with actual finishing order
  1. David Riddle - Actual place 1st (even)
  2. David Rindt - Actual place 3rd (-1)
  3. DeWayne Satterfield - Actual place 2nd (+1)
  4. Robert Youngren - Actual place 8th (-4)
  5. Eric Charette - Actual place 6th (-1)
  6. Tim Vinson - Actual place 4th (+2)
  7. Kevin Boucher - Actual place 9th (+2)
  8. Zachary Koch - Actual place 5th (+3)
  9. Michael Green - Actual place 54th (-45)
  10. Carl Laniak - Actual place 12th (-2)
  11. Tony Laino - Actual place 57th (-46)
  12. Vince Molosky - Actual place 11th (+1)
  13. Blake Thompson - Actual place 16th (-3)
  14. John Nevels - Did not race
  15. David Purinton - Actual place 10th (+5)
  16. Eric Schotz - Actual place 29th (-13)
  17. Eric Gilbertson - Actual place 7th (+10)
  18. Brett Addington - Actual place 18th (even)
  19. Nils Pedersen - Did not race
  20. Matt Davies - Actual place 47th (-27)
  21. David O'Keefe - Actual place 14th (+7)
  22. Scott Cullen - Actual place 61st (-39)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

2010 Mountain Mist 50km pre-race

As the calendar turns onto another year, so do the runners in Northern Alabama turn to the majestic trails atop Monte Sano in preparation for Mountain Mist 50km.

This is the 16th year that the Huntsville Track Club and Race Director Dink Taylor have held this great race. What started with fewer than 50 runners has grown to 350 pre-registered runners and now ranks in the top 10 largest 50km races in the country. This year it took just 12 days back in October for this race to reach max capacity.

Runners begin to meet at first light on Saturday and Sunday mornings starting in late December and alternate running the first and second halves of the course on successive days.

The two halves of the course are drastically different from each other. The first 10km is relatively easy running from the Monte Sano Lodge out toward O’Shaugnessy Point on Chestnutt and Mountain Mist Trails. There is a very fast ride down War Path Ridge after that and out onto the power lines before the first major climb of the race up K2. Then onto Goat Trail toward Three Benches and a loop around Keith and Logan Trails before making way through the infamous Stone Cuts where you run through a stone tunnel and navigate your way back down toward Three Benches again. Finally, it is Mountain Mist trail back out to Fearn Road for another aid station and the end of the first half of the course (actually mile 17.25 but time wise, about half way). This half plays to the strengths of fast and long striders as it is not overly technical.

The second, and much more difficult half of the course, starts from Aid Station #3 and makes its way down onto the Huntsville Land Trust trails. The next 4 miles along Tollgate trail onto Bluffline and to the Land Trust Parking Lot along High Trail are mostly downhill and despite some technical sections are still very runnable. Railroad Bed Trail is a button hook section where the railroad used to switch back up the mountain and is more rock than trail; most footfalls strike small jagged rocks and runners often feel like they are moving backward on this trail. Despite the technical terrain of Rail Road Bed and then Alms House, the course continues to navigate downhill. At Three Caves (famous from the a Kansas video) is the second major climb of the race. Waterline is a straight ¾ mile climb where the last 800’ requires some hand climbs as you pass Dry Falls. Runners are rewarded at the top of Waterline with another short climb and barren stretch through a tree grave yard. From Trough Springs, the final 10km begins and features a very technical, yet fast decent into McKay Hollow. After a relatively flat mile through the Hollow, the final climb up Rest Shelter Hill typically brings most runners to their knees. The last aid station is at the top of hill and from there it is a fast 1.75 miles back to the Lodge.

Over the years there have been some great performances on this course, including several by local runners. DeWayne Satterfield has won this race 9 times times and run as fast as 4:03 on the modern course. Dave Mackey set the course record in 2007, shattering the old mark when he ran 3:46:19. Yet the most anticipated running is this year, where local phenom and Rocket City Marathon winner David Riddle is set to run The Mist for the first time. Recently David cruised to a 3:21 50km at Dizzy 50’s, breaking the course record by 23 minutes and notching the 10th fastest 50km time in the nation in 2009, according to Real Endurance. Everyone is in for something special when David begins to attack the second half and make a push to break Mackey’s record.

Personally, this race holds a special place in my heart after the 2009 race. Before last year, I was mostly running road races and had only seldom ventured into the ultra marathon realm. I was in excellent shape, having come off of a 2:54 PR at Rocket City Marathon six weeks prior and the weather was cool, just to my liking. I got stronger as the day progressed, and with a late push after the last aid station, managed a 6th place overall finish in a personal record time of 4:32:15. My mantra on that day was that at each check point, everyone was surprised that I was running so well, and I used that to bolster my mental drive. It was this race that launched my passion for ultras as I went on to run 10 more in 2009.

This is a great picture from 2009 where 5 of the top 6 runners are side by side. From left to right, David Rindt, Eric Charette, Jeremy Ramsey, DeWayne Satterfield and Jamie Dial.

As for this year, Mountain Mist is the first major race on my calendar. I finished out last year with a respectable 3:53:15 at Dizzy in November, finishing 2nd only to David’s 3:21. In December I began a few week span where I cut back my mileage to gain some spring back in my legs after a 3900 mile season. I ran a few miles at the Fat Ass 50km on New Years Eve as a training run, but shut it down after 16 miles with some nagging pain in my hip; something that had started brewing at MMTR in November and plagued me at the marathon in early December.

After running every day in 2009, I started 2010 with a rest day and began to train slightly smarter than in the past. I have since integrated more rest and been very focused on quality running. I have had quite a few training sessions on the mountain where I have felt very strong and with some stretching and physical therapy, I have been able to keep the hip pain at bay as I continue to get stronger. I have been working specifically on my downhill technical running, as this course favors that type of runner. My hill climbing has been very outstanding lately, which is no surprise as that is where I usually make up most of my time on the trails.

If we can get another decent weather day this year, I really think that I can roll in under 4:30 for sure, with my ‘A’ goal mark at sub 4:20. A top 10 finish is equally as important as the time goal. In addition to David and DeWayne, 2008 winner David Rindt, recent 2:45 marathoner Tim Vinson and the the re-emerging Rob Youngren should all be ready to run under 4:20. At initial glance, there could be as many as 22 people under 5 hours, which is typically the measure of success on this course.

For equipment, I will be wearing the inov-8 Roclite 305 on my feet, mostly for the technical nature of the second half of the course. The stability in the 305 is slightly better than my alternate and second favorite trail shoe, the inov-8 Roclite 295. It seems like the 305 has gained popularity lately in Huntsville amongst top runners as David and myself will both be wearing it.

I did put together an educated estimate of finishing times for all runners and have listed all those I think will run 5 hours or under. I based it off of recent ultra performances, in conjunction with past experience at Mountain Mist. The number to the immediate left of the runner's name is their seeded position.

1. 4 David Riddle, 28 from Huntsville, AL - 3:45
2. 1 David Rindt, 38 from Roswell, GA - 4:12
3. 3 DeWayne Satterfield, 45 from Huntsville, AL - 4:15
4. 132 Robert Youngren, 35 from Huntsville, AL - 4:18
5. 6 Eric Charette, 34 from Huntsville, AL - 4:20
6. 10 Tim Vinson, 45 from Madison, AL - 4:22
7. 7 Kevin Boucher, 31 from Chattanooga, TN - 4:26
8. 9 Zachary Koch, 24 from Huntsville, AL - 4:29
9. 20 Michael Green, 40 from Chattanooga, TN - 4:30
10. 8 Carl Laniak, 28 from Arnoldsville, GA - 4:35
11. 103 Tony Laino, 36 from Shillington, PA - 4:35
12. 85 Vince Molosky, 30 from Tallahassee, FL - 4:40
13. 130 Blake Thompson, 28 from Fayetteville, TN - 4:42
14. 245 John Nevels, 23 from Decatur, AL - 4:45
15. 12 David Purinton, 41 from Huntsville, AL - 4:50
16. 13 Eric Schotz, 38 from Decatur, AL - 4:50
17. 283 Eric Gilbertson, 35 from Opelika, AL - 4:50
18. 18 Brett Addington, 32 from Owens X Roads, AL - 5:00
19. 22 Nils Pedersen, 40 from Kennesaw, GA - 5:00
20. 36 Matt Davies, 36 from Cleveland, TN - 5:00
21. 78 David O'Keefe, 36 from Owens Cross Roads, AL - 5:00
22. 136 Scott Cullen, 37 from Atlanta, GA - 5:00

Monday, January 4, 2010

Team inov-8 US Bio for Ultra Running

Original Post on inov-8 Team Website can be found here.

Primary sport(s): Trail & Ultra Running

Team member since: 2010

City/state of residence: Huntsville, Alabama. Hometown: Kingsford, Michigan

Occupation: Electrical Engineer

Goals for 2010
  • Break 4:30 and finish in the top 5 at Mountain Mist 50km
  • Run Rim to Rim to Rim (r2r2r) across the Grand Canyon
  • Possible attempt to complete the Fastest Known Time (FKT) on the entire Pinhoti Trail with Rob Youngren (325 miles Flagg Mountain in Alabama to the Benton MacKaye Trail in Georgia).
  • Run under 3:45 for 50km at Delano Park 12 hour
  • Capture an Alabama State Age Record
  • Finish in the top 3 at Chattanooga Mountains Stage Race and Stump Jump 50km
Notable achievements/memories/PR’s in your sport
  • In November of 2008 over a three week span, I ran 1:16:38 at the Huntsville Half Marathon, a 34:45 at Dam Bridge 10km in Florence, Alabama and a 16:42 at Living Waters 5km in Decatur, Alabama, all of which were personal records.
  • In 2009 I set course records with overall wins at Delano Park 50km in Decatur, Alabama (3:53:54) at Bartlett Park 50km in Memphis, Tennessee (4:07:10) and ran a personal best 3:53:15 at Dizzy Fifties 50km in Huntsville, Alabama, finishing 2nd overall and notching the 6th fastest time ever on the course.
  • Starting on July 1, 2009 at the Alabama/Georgia border, I embarked on a 4 day, 183-mile stage event running east to west across the state of Alabama on back country roads with Jon Elmore and Eric Schotz as part of Team Elliott to raise awareness for Tay Sachs and helped to raise over $20,000 for NTSAD.
  • I was awarded the 2008 Huntsville Track Club Male Performance Award and in 2009 finished 2nd overall in the HTC Gran Prix for Open Males.
  • Qualifying for my first Boston Marathon while running at the Green Bay Cellcom Marathon with my parents in the crowd cheering me on in the last mile inside Lambeau Field, then later having my parents and with my wife Laura in Boston as I crossed the finish line of the marathon.
Favorite inov-8 gear: Roclite 295’s and Roclite 305’s

List one thing others may not know about you:

I am a great example that you don’t need to have a tremendous amount of natural ability to compete at a high level as long as you have the heart, will and sheer determination to succeed. I never ran a day in my life until 2003, when I was 27 years old. I started with just a few blocks at a time and it took nearly two years before I could run more than 10 miles. It was not until leaving Green Bay, Wisconsin and moving to Huntsville, Alabama when I began to run trails and ultras that I started to realize my potential. In the three years since the move, I have run over 10,000 miles and been competitive in nearly 100 races, with top 3 finishes forty times. My favorite saying is that I am just an ordinary person with average abilities striving to do extraordinary things and through hard work, every day I get a little closer to realizing my dreams and finding the upper limits of my potential.

Favorite energy drink/food

I enjoy Strawberry flavored HEED Electrolyte Sports Drink by Hammer. It has a very subtle taste, which means it goes down easy on long distance endurance efforts when your stomach can easily cost you a race. For shorter distance races, I enjoy PowerBar Gel Blasts Energy Chews but nothing beats Chips Ahoy Original Chocolates Chip Cookies, Mountain Dew and peanut butter & jelly sandwiches for longer races and training runs. For recovery, nothing beats good old-fashioned chocolate milk.

Your favorite race and why?

My favorite race is easily the Chattanooga Mountains Stage Race. It is a trail stage race with 22 miles on Lookout Mountain, 18 miles on Raccoon Mountain and 20 miles on Signal Mountain over a three-day period in late June. This race, put on by Rock/Creek of Chattanooga hits my strengths, which include technical trails, killer climbs, running in the blazing heat and going hard day after day on minimal recovery. In 2009 I nearly missed the race after having my flights delayed, then cancelled from Washington DC after a work trip. Luckily I caught a flight to Atlanta and drove to Chattanooga, arriving at 2am, just six hours prior to the first stage. After getting lost on the first day and finishing 9th, I came back to finish 2nd on days 2 and 3, making up enough time to finish 2nd overall for the entire stage race.

Advice to other athletes

I’ve learned so much over the years from people who have taken the time to teach me that I think it is so important that you turn it around and pay it forward. I try to give back more than I have been given through coaching new runners, and volunteering as much as possible. It is vital that athletes, who are in the spotlight for their talents, be role models and ambassadors to the sport and inspire others to achieve their potential. I have been blogging at not just on my race results, but the many running adventures that I have been on over the years. I try to explain in detail what is going through my head in the late stages of a grueling race, the beauty of the wilderness along the trails and what kind of world is out there if you are just willing to lace up the shoes and step off the beaten path. Along the way, hopefully I have inspired some people to discover the joy of trail and endurance running.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

2010 Mountain Mist 50km Predictions

With help from Real Endurance, recent race results, past performance at this race and an otherwise non-scientific methodology, here are my predictions for males at Mountain Mist 50km with finishing times of 5 hours or under, assuming perfect weather conditions.  For those of you who have run this race, you know that anything can happen on race day.
The race date is January 23, 2010 in Huntsville, Alabama.
Here is the full list of seeded entrants.
Projected finishing place / Pre-race seed / Name / Age / Hometown / Projected Time
  1. 4 David Riddle, 28 from Huntsville, AL - 3:40
  2. 1 David Rindt, 38 from Roswell, GA - 4:12
  3. 3 DeWayne Satterfield, 45 from Huntsville, AL - 4:15
  4. 132 Robert Youngren, 35 from Huntsville, AL - 4:18
  5. 6 Eric Charette, 34 from Huntsville, AL - 4:20
  6. 10 Tim Vinson, 45 from Madison, AL - 4:22
  7. 7 Kevin Boucher, 31 from Chattanooga, TN - 4:26
  8. 9 Zachary Koch, 24 from Huntsville, AL - 4:29
  9. 20 Michael Green, 40 from Chattanooga, TN - 4:30
  10. 8 Carl Laniak, 28 from Arnoldsville, GA - 4:35
  11. 103 Tony Laino, 36 from Shillington, PA - 4:35
  12. 85 Vince Molosky, 30 from Tallahassee, FL - 4:40
  13. 130 Blake Thompson, 28 from Fayetteville, TN - 4:42
  14. 245 John Nevels, 23 from Decatur, AL - 4:45
  15. 12 David Purinton, 41 from Huntsville, AL - 4:50
  16. 13 Eric Schotz, 38 from Decatur, AL - 4:50
  17. 283 Eric Gilbertson, 35 from Opelika, AL - 4:50
  18. 18 Brett Addington, 32 from Owens X Roads, AL - 5:00
  19. 22 Nils Pedersen, 40 from Kennesaw, GA - 5:00
  20. 36 Matt Davies, 36 from Cleveland, TN - 5:00
  21. 78 David O'Keefe, 36 from Owens Cross Roads, AL - 5:00
  22. 136 Scott Cullen, 37 from Atlanta, GA - 5:00

Friday, January 1, 2010

Running Resources


Running News Running Clubs Race Finder


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Runner's World

Runner's World News
UP Road Runners Club
Running in the USA
Race Time Predictor
Track & Field News
USA Track & Field
Marathon Guide
Running Calculator
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USATF Daily News
Multi Day Races
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Run 100s Races

2010 inov-8 Affiliates

2010 Resolutions

Here are my 2010 resolutions and goal list.

Running List
  • More (well any) core work
  • More quality running overall
  • More running at marathon pace
  • Weekly tempo runs
  • Race less
  • Take more targeted rest time
  • Stretch more often
  • Run less overall miles (3000-3600 mile target range)
Life List
  • Be a better husband
  • Be a better friend
  • Be a better son
  • Spend more time with Sirius and Fiina (dogs)
  • Try to make things less about me
  • Eat less cookies and candy
  • Drink more water on a daily basis
2010 Goals
  • Get another tattoo
  • Set FKT on Pinhoti Trail with Rob Youngren
  • Run across the Grand Canyon and back (rim to rim to rim)
  • Sell our house
  • Make new race(s) come to fruition (Bankhead Hill Climb, Death Trail 10km, Wiki-Mile)
  • Run sub 3:45 50km
  • Set a state age record
  • Break 5 minutes in the mile
Goal Races
  • Mountain Mist 50km
  • Cheaha 50km or Caumsett 50km (USATF 50km road championship)
  • McKay Hollow Madness half marathon
  • Boston Marathon
  • Chattanooga Mountains Stage Race
  • Stump Jump 50km
  • Xterra Monte Sano 15km (plus day 1 stage)
  • Up Chuck 50km