This FKT was part of a 3 hour training run. This was my first 3 hour run after Hellgate and I wanted to get out in the mountains. It was a beautiful 65 degree day in January, I had the day off of work, and I couldn't resist going to Mt Mitchell. Today was one of those days where the mountain was calling my name and I'm so glad I listened.
I brought a couple of gels a 1 liter of liquids on this run. I did a flat mile to warmup on South Toe River Road, then hopped on the Mitchell trail and did an out and back to the summit, then finished with a 2 mile cooldown on South Toe River Road. The time I submitted for this FKT started at the 0.0 mile marker, went to the Mt. Mitchell summit sign, and finished at the 0.0 mile marker.
Trail conditions were so so. It was quite muddy from the rain and snow and there was some ice in sections. This slowed me down a bit, especially on the descent. Tere were some sketchy sections with the slick mud, which only made it more fun and challenging! There is also a short, new to me, .4 mile reroute that looks to add about .1 miles to the previous FKT route where the Mt. Mitchell trail intersects the Higgins Bald Trail. I'm assuming this reroute is because of all the erosion on the previous section of trail.
In terms of the run, my only goal today was to not look at my watch the whole run, and I succeeded. I covered up my watch with my long sleeve shirt and just focused on my feet, my breath, and the trail. It was the best feeling. I didn't intentionally go out to set the FKT today, but it just happened! I was so focused and in total flow the whole time. I thought I was moving pretty well up and down the trail, but I wasn't sure until I got to the bottom and saw my time. Once my run uploaded, I saw that I ended up getting the FKT and massive PR's on the ascent segment and the out and back segment. It's awesome to get the FKT but I'm very stoked that I PR'ed by so much.
A big takeaway from this run is that you don't have to be super fresh and tapered to throw down a fast time. I'm always so scared to do a race or FKT without being 100% fresh and trained for it, but this run proved to me that I shouldn't be scared. I should take every opportunity I can to go after a fast time and see how I do. I might surprise myself!
This run really helped to reinforce my why. I run because I absolutely love the feeling of moving swiftly through the biggest, gnarliest, most beautiful trails around my home in Asheville, NC. I feel at home on the trails in the Black mountain range. Running on those trails brings out the most authentic version of myself. They are such a special, sacred mountain range to me. I'm already thinking that I'd like to come back and give it a true full send :)