Hey @Challengers, I’m starting to hear rumblings of more FLRC 100K Ultra Challenge attempts now that the temperatures have dropped, including from @aaronking32, @heathercobb3, @Francine_Barchett, @jrj1104, and several others.
We were chatting about this on yesterday’s Forest Frolic group run, and the idea came up that whoever was attempting it might like to post in advance on the forum with a proposed course order and schedule and rough pace so those who would enjoy pacing for a course or two could join in the fun (a signup spreadsheet was even mentioned). I know there’s no way I could complete the Ultra Challenge, but I’d be game for providing company on a course, and I’ll bet some others would be as well, schedules permitting. Another runner might provide some help with navigation as well, particularly if it gets dark in the trails.
it is with great amusement that I read this, for just as you were discussing forthcoming UltraChallenge attempts, one was underway almost literally under your feet (more appropriate than nose!). … in fact, we believe we saw Heather coming down Hauck Hill road after the group run as we drove up … another page in the divine comedy of life…
but i heartily endorse the “group effort” approach. Hopefully what Karen (and I) accomplished will give others courage to try…Not all of us are runners of the caliber of @Petorius or @Jesse_Canfield - but with careful planning, support and determination it can be done … an average pace of around 20:00/mile can bring you home in time…
We had no idea! Though we’d have cheered madly if we’d run into you.
There’s room for all sorts of approaches, and now we’ve seen both your and @kag22’s paired strategy and the lone wolf approaches (though I think @heathercobb3 ran some with @Jesse_Canfield, and I chatted with @Petorius briefly during his run and invited him over for a post-Skunk dip in the pond).
Looks like Dennis Stadelman (@dennis-s) is attempting the FLRC 100K Ultra Challenge today! He has five courses done and is using a different strategy than Karen and Bob employed.
I’m really curious to hear from those who have completed this how they handled the long dwells between runs. Were they a nice respite from a continuous grind, or did the muscles stiffen up in the car and take some time to warm back up again on a restart? Congratulations to everyone who has tackled this so far.
And now Heather Cobb @heathercobb3 is up! She started with Pseudo Skunk at 12:42 a.m. and has knocked out 4 courses as of 5:00 a.m.
<In color commentator voice> Looks like she’s using the Ingall/Talda Strategy, Pete. And she’s picked a good day for it, with cool, cloudy conditions, although there is a possibility of rain later in the day when she’ll be out on the trails. We’ll check back later to see how she’s progressing.
Damian, my running is heavy on woodland trails and light on pavement pounding. I started with the shorter rec/rail trails. Had not run them before but they were not as soft as I anticipated (as in cinder soft). I have a long history of lower back disk issues and sciatic nerve tingling/pain that hard surfaces aggravate. I am also 60. Here is my experience:
After S Hill I was 13+ miles into the ultra. Skunk was next and I had some stiffness in legs and lower back getting out of my vehicle to start that. That one beat me up worse than all the miles at Virgil Crest - not an exaggeration. I was very stiff getting out of the vehicle at Thom B next. Usually a few miles of trail and I am loose again. I was counting on that. Unfortunately, I didn’t get loose again until getting off the road and onto the trails at Danby (which followed FF). Very little leg or back stiffness getting out of vehicle after my Danby and T&H - just tired and expected soreness.
I have no tips or advice other than to just start and keep going. Good luck on your attempt!
This actually was a concern of ours as we planned, and why we (mostly) did the routes as we did, so as to minimize dwell time. We also determined from the beginning that in order to make it, we had to run more or less continuously, i.e., no breaks to shop or be a parent, etc etc etc,
So, we really didn’t have long dwells between the first 3 runs - it was at most 15-20 minutes of driving, and we were relatively fresh. We had a long wait then before starting leg 4 (Danby) in part because it was a 40 minute drive from the prior run, and in part because we were waited another 30 minutes for a cloudburst to pass. - but even then, we were still feeling fresh enough that we didn’t notice. Plus, we were expecting a longish pause here as the 40 minute drive was the longest one of the day.
We then only took a short break before our 5th run (the last trail, Tortoise & Hare) as we were trying to finish it before it got dark (which we didn’t).
It wasn’t until we took an extended break after our 5th run that we had a long unexpected break for an unexpected dinner…and at that point, be it the length of time we had been running, the distance, or just the delay, that I began to notice I was getting stiffer every time I got out of the car. This stiffness vanished after a few minutes every time, but the hobble over to scan was, well, interesting to say the least
Two additional notes;
- we did a LOT of walking/hiking in the forests, i.,e we were focused on completing, not competing. I think that helped us keep the stiffness away as long as it did
- In relating my story to my family, one of my relatives, who has extensive backpacking experience, laughed at my tale of hobbling over to the scanner…apparently, this is a well known phenomena in the backpacking word - “the hiker’s hobble” and is related, if I understood correctly, to the fact that while one is hiking, the rhythmic pumping of the legs is adding the circulation, so that when that pumping stops, it takes a few minutes for the heart and body to get back in sync
Thank you for making these! The elevation charts have definitely been helpful in the planning.
Noticed today that the footpath route for Thom B. doesn’t match the course map. The course route shows taking the Y4 track up to Star Stanton and then heading east before continuing on Y2. The footpath track seems instead to take the FLT up to Start Stanton and then west before continuing on Y2.
I ran Forest Frolic yesterday and ended up turning it into a 10+ mile run because I was blindly following some of the snowmobile paths and missed the trail. Then got a bit confused in the clearing where all the power lines are. So I was definitely studying the Thom B more in depth seeing the labyrinth of extra trails that intermingle. .
@DamianClemons I had the same experience with my legs stiffening up after the car rides — the problem got worse the further into the Challenge I got and the longer the time in between runs. I expected it from the start and got though it by starting each of the later courses at a brisk walking pace until my legs felt normal and I cold actually start running, which only took a few minutes each time.
On the Thom B, Y4 up to Star Stanton is the correct way. (The in-person race used to use that part of the FLT there but it was changed 3-4 years ago to avoid a chewed up section of trail.) Maybe you found it on an out-of-date course map.
For the Frolic, just remember that the entire course follows orange- and white- blazed trails, even on the road and powerline sections. If you go more than 0.1 miles without seeing any blazes you’ve problem gone the wrong way. At the powerline section, follow the powerlines straight where orange connects with white. If you go under the powerlines and follow white downhill, you’re off course. The only other tricky spot is at the rock pile, about 1.5 miles from the finish. You’ll follow white up a short but steep hill. At the top, take a hard right onto orange and follow orange to the finish. If you continue straight downhill on white you’ve again gone off course. (According to Strava @amyboca and @scottpdawson had some trouble on this course over the weekend too.)
Motion is lotion when it comes to drive/run/drive repeat. Start slow with a wobble hobble and within a 1/4 mile you will get right.
To Pete’s point on frolic. Be aware of the turn off on the power line. I’ve run that 3 times in the dark and missed it once.
The non FLT blazes don’t show up well at night under headlamp. Check your map and route frequently especially at night.
I had written this off, but seeing all the recent attempts have gotten my gears turning again. I’m considering making a go of it Wed + Thu, since the weather’s going to be so nice (though I’m sure pretty muddy)…basically going longest to shortest, with a hopefully decent night’s sleep after the first 23 miles. Any thoughts on this strategy? I’ve done the math and as long as I don’t crash should be fine, but is burning that many hours overnight questionable?
I did the entire FF trail CCW, heading into the woods first instead of taking the road and then taking a right up the hill at the intersection. Had I went the other way first I probably wouldn’t have had the issue with the snowmobile trails since they all seem to funnel in going CW instead of branching out going CCW. When I popped on the powerline strip for some reason I had it in my head that the trail must go across so I went up and down a couple times looking for a new trail head on the other side. Then I finally picked up on the orange marks on the ground heading uphill. After that everything went pretty smooth.
Thank you everyone for relating your experiences. I’m used to a couple minutes at an aid station and then off you go so it will certainly be interesting to see how I handle the starts and stops. I’ve definitely also re-thought my strategy quite a bit. I’m targeting around Nov 6th unless we get a really nice day that comes up that I can take off of work. Until then I will probably try and at least do Thom B and Danby over the next week and a half just to make sure I’m not spending too much time processing navigation on the big run.
@steve-desmond Still planning to give it a shot? I think it would be hard to get a decent night’s sleep after running 23 miles, and when you start back up your legs will still be tired. Unless you’re used to that, a better strategy would be starting early in the morning and going continuously until you’re done, even if you have to take extended breaks between some of the courses.
Unfortunately was feeling slightly under the weather as of Tuesday night so I called it off between that and all the flooding (not that the storms stopped you ), and now that I’m back on the mend and things have dried out a bit, I think I’ve missed my nice weather window, given childcare-related restrictions.
I would have been cutting it really close even with ideal conditions, so at this point my plan is to continue building up a solid base over the winter and regroup for the spring if this happens again.
And now that I’m home from the PGXC championship, it looks like @aaronking32 spent the day working on the FLRC 100K Ultra Challenge, with seven courses done and only the three easiest to go. For a minute, I was worried that he hadn’t finished the first seven in time, since he started his first course, Forest Frolic, at 4:37 AM and his most recently posted seventh course, Black Diamond Trail, at 4:02 PM, but then I realized he had done the bulk of the miles in roughly 12 hours, not the 24 allowed.
And @Petorius, 15 East Hill Rec Way in one session? Which I presume meant a 30-mile day?
And Aaron’s times are quite impressive given it’s a 65-mile day for him!
Yes, I ran 15 out-and-backs on the EH Rec for 30 miles total. It was monotonous and took longer than I’d hoped, but I needed it to continue my own challenge of running a continuous marathon or longer on all 10 Challenge courses by year’s end.