Use this topic for posts to collect community stars for the Blueberry Patch course.
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Replace the boilerplate text with your report for one or both sections. The headers is key for distinguishing between posts and replies—don’t change it.
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To pick up a community star, replace this text with a write-up of what your run was like, a photo you took on the run, a link to your Strava track, or something similar. Don’t delete the Story heading above.
Jamie and I decided to run the Blueberry Patch course this morning, maybe not the wisest choice as it felt a bit more like a Tough Mudder race than a simple trail run: lots of mud, fallen trees, beaver action, and gates to unfasten. But the scenery was gorgeous and I managed to keep my feet dry until the very last mile. And, thanks to the challenge, after 25 years in Ithaca I have now visited the Finger Lakes National Forest .
Caitlin already explained how muddy it was and how it was our first visit to the Finger Lakes National Forest (and I have lived in Ithaca for almost 50 years!). I thought I would share a picture of where the beaver is just not respecting the trail along the lake…
In the 30 minutes and 1,000 feet of elevation gain it took to drive from Ithaca to Blueberry Patch it dropped 10° and a steady cold rain decided to thwart my effort. I was underdressed for the run—no rain jacket, hat, or gloves—but thankfully I’d packed a long sleeve as an afterthought so I didn’t get out there and have to bail on the Challenge run courtesy of good ol’ hypothermia.
I started running and felt really good (for once) so after about two miles I decided to keep up the effort and try to run a solid time. The trails were underwater in spots with copious mud throughout—nothing I’ve never dealt with at the FLNF—and it reminded me a lot of lap 3 in the 2019 FL50s. No cows staring me down either because the pastures are bovine-free between October and May.
All was well through 6 miles when RunGo, which I relied on to follow the route, led me the wrong way down Burnt Hill Road and the rain made my phone lock up so I couldn’t view the real-time map but could still hear the voice cues telling me I was off course. I fumbled around a bit trying to remember if I was supposed to follow the FL50s course here or not and finally realized you take a partially hidden right turn back onto the South Slope Trail and go another half mile before rejoining the 50s route.
When I reached the fourth and final pasture gate I realized how difficult it is for one to unlatch and relatch a steel carabiner on a chain when one is out of breath and can’t feel their hands. The rest was smooth sailing and when I got home I looked at Strava and adjusted my Webscorer time for the part when I was off course and touched up the RunGo cues so others hopefully don’t have the same problem and wrote some Cormac McCarthy-esque run-on sentences about the whole experience.
Sorry about that! Those directions were very much based on the maps rather than on-the-ground testing. @Jamie gave me a couple of corrections and I wonder if I inadvertently moved a turn point such that it switched from the out to the back, something that’s too easy to do in RunGo.
I ran the first and last sections of the course last Sunday: It is still muddy in spots, but drying out. If you’re running for time, plan on getting wet and muddy. (Unless you want to tiptoe around the puddles!!)
It would seem like it would have to be a recent change because that section worked for me when i ran it. The only Run Go issue i had was transitioning south from Burnt Hill rd to Interlocken trail on my way south (where it meets up with the pond), and it telling me i was off course when i wasnt.
I knew it would be wet but dang, might log this as a swim/run! If you are looking to do this course for time I’d wait for a dry stretch. If you want a therapeutic stomp in the mud, go for it. I had a blast!
Since I moved out to Ithaca I’ve always wanted to get out to the finger lakes national forest, but didn’t get there until my run today. As reported, it was very muddy. I decided to just plow through and accept the muddy, wet shoes. I almost got my shoe stuck a couple of times, but overall this was a very lovely run and course! Also, the directions were great!
I really wanted to get in a challenge course on my long run Sunday. I was debating between Ludlowville or Blueberry Patch. I saw that @amy-dawson was at Blueberry Patch yesterday, so I asked her about the trail conditions. She gave me the best advice: ‘embrace the muck!’
It wasn’t long before I had to take Amy’s advice. A few times I thought my right shoe was going to get sucked off my foot. Then I was afraid I would slip and land on my butt in a pile of muck.
A bug flew up my nose at which point I decided I’d rather eat a bug then have it go up my nose. Would it burrow into my brain?
I saw fish in the pond along the Interloken Trail off of Burnt Hill Rd.
I was scaring up the toads as I ran by. Most of them were pond side, but a few hopped across the trail into the pond. I hoped that I wouldn’t accidentally kick a toad as it hopped in front of me. I didn’t.
After taking the pictures, I forgot my embrace the muck mantra and started tiptoeing around the mess. I have no idea what I was thinking but was soon back to tromping through the mud.
The last quarter of the trail was pretty tough for me. I was tired as I haven’t been running trails. I made it through without losing a shoe or falling on my butt; so I’m calling it a win.
I made it back to my car. The rotten small black flies didn’t give me much opportunity to decide what to do about this:
I ran on the Interlokan Trail for my final training run for the Thom B on Wednesday. It is really drying out finally. There was literally only one muddy spot in the three sections that I ran on. Beautiful.
I ran the course on Saturday (5/20) morning, first time ever for me. I’m happy to report that although there were many, many muddy spots, things have dried out considerably (compared to pix that were posted a couple weeks ago), and I was able to run around (rather than through) virtually all of them, with little trouble. So I managed about a 10:15 mpm average pace, considerably faster than I’d anticipated. Opening and closing the gates (about 4 total, I think) at the pasture edges was a little tricky, but I got the hang of it after the first couple. Hopefully Saturday’s afternoon rain didn’t deteriorate things too badly.