What’s the Big Mystery?

Mystery Mountain Weekend

Mystery Mountain Marathon 12 miler – I have wanted to do this race for a while but there is usually a conflict and I cant do it. This year it was Stump Jump 50K that was the problem. This race is the weekend afterwards and despite the Redneck Goofy experience last spring, I decided a 12 mile trail race the weekend after a 50K seemed a bit nuts. However, when I dropped back to the 11(.5) miler at Stump Jump this seemed like it was doable. John was on board to volunteer and Coach said it was all good so I signed up. 

The plan was to camp at Ft Mountain the night before. Here we go with the camping again. The Stump Jump experience wasn’t so bad so I figured why not? I had to work that Saturday so I was up early after a long week being the late PA. I got a little ambushed with unexpected work but muddled through and was home by around 2:00. We packed up the car and hit the road. 

Fort Mountain is near Carter’s Lake and was an integral part of the Mountain Madness half Ironman I did last spring. Thankfully, I didn’t have to bike up the mountain. Instead I had to run all around it. Our GPS sent us through Elijay which was celebrating an apple festival or something that day. Anyway, lots of people, scarecrows and activities going on in the main square. 

Here is a nice example but there were also some really creepy ones. In particular outside a funeral home they had a scarecrow funeral complete with dirt plot and flowers. Weird. 

We made it to race check in and the pre-race dinner. We got our tent setup and enjoyed a nice time around the fire with some fellow campers and runners



I did not sleep great. I was up a bunch of times to go to the bathroom. A few beers were had around the fire. Also, it was very cold that night so I slept bundled up in the sleeping bag and kept waking up when my shoulder and arm would fall asleep. Finally, it was time to get up. Unlike last week I had my full allotment of running clothes and was ready to start the day. John had to meet up with the volunteers earlier than the race start so we headed to the race start in our PJs. John continued to wear his PJs all day but I changed in the bathrooms. Bunny slippers don’t make great trail shoes.

Once dressed and ready to go I met up with some friends and we got ready to start the race. The cannon went off and we were on our way. The race started winding around the lake and then soon we were climbing and then there was more climbing. The trails were similar to Stump Jump but there were not a lot of places to really run. Whenever possible I ran as hard as I could but mostly it was maneuvering around roots, rocks and trees. I ran through all the aid stations and said a quick hello to John as I passed by. I did not stop to admire the scenery just kept moving. I did not feel quit as peppy as last week and did not pass as many people this time around. We could see the finish line from across the lake but I still had 1.5 miles to go according to my garmin. I started to feel a bit tired having pushed the last mile or two. I slowed to grab a gu and turned the corner and there was the finish. What? I felt pretty stupid but picked up the pace and ran across the finish at 3:03. Having no idea what the course was like I figure 3:00 was a good bet given my time last weekend at the 11.5 miler. Had I not slowed down for the Gu I would have made 3:00 easily. Oh well, not sure if the Garmin was off because of the trees and switchbacks or the race itself was a little off in distance. In the end it didn’t really matter since I had a good time and enjoyed the trails that day. 

Post race I “iced” my legs in the lake and then changed into warmer clothes and enjoyed some chili, beer and got to hang out with the GUTS crew. A good time was had by all. Even if the park ranger made me throw out my beer 🙂


Even though I didn’t feel quite as sassy as the previous week I did pretty darn good considering this race had 1100 more feet of climbing. I would definitely do this race again. Maybe even do the marathon. It’s always a good time at a GUTS race. Next up Beach 2 Battleship Iron Relay! 

Mystery Mountain
Stump Jump

Ice bath

View from the tent

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