Jeff and Dondi Black are ultrarunners in Boise, Idaho. A couple of weeks ago, Jeff ran the River of No Return 100K, and Dondi ran the 50K. This was the inaugural year for the RONR and its first year in the Idaho Trail Ultra Series. If you’re considering an ultra in Idaho, check out the ITUS website for other races. RONR was the 3rd in a series of 8 ultras in 2014. Here is Jeff’s race report entitled “Running the River.”
“This was an inaugural race with a potent name: The River of No Return, or RONR for short. Given its close proximity to the Frank Church Wilderness to north, the main Salmon River to the south, and the towering Lost River Range to the east, the location was promisingly iconic even before arriving in Challis, Idaho where it all began. I strapped in for the long 100k course while Dondi rode the rapids on the 50k.” To read the whole article, go to Jeff’s website: http://jeffattheraces.wordpress.com/.
Flatrock – This course has been deceiving trail runners for almost 20 years. After all, it’s KANSAS. KANSAS is flat. How bad can it be? Go ahead, underestimate this trail – then go home and cry yourself to sleep. Nineteen Septembers in a row, runners have come to the Elk City Hiking Trail to tackle the FlatRock 50K trail ultra. This is the oldest ultra in the state, and it is pretty easy to make the argument that it is the BEST. It is as brutal as it is beautiful, as rugged as it is relaxing, as treacherous as it is tantalizing. An incredible, highly technical trail full of short steep climbs, roots and rocks that seemingly TRY to trip you, and buzzards circling overhead, FlatRock is hard – and strangely addictive. The “Hall of Pain” consists of runners who have run it 10 or more times in a row. So, what would make more sense than running this 50K? Why not run it TWICE? Thus, the FlatRock 101K was born.
Last April, after weeks of rain, about 40 brave souls set out to crack the rock. One hundred and one kilometers in 24 hours should be a walk in the park (or hike in the woods) in Kansas right? The addition of sticky, ankle deep mud, water crossings, and incessant rain turned the course into Satan’s Slip n’ Slide. Trail conditions were more horrendous than normal. The runners simultaneously loved and loathed it. The final finisher came across minutes before the cutoff – tired, covered in mud, but not broken. The raucous Epic Ultras finish line brought a welcomed end to runner’s suffering and, as always, made each feel like a champion.
If you think you are some kind of trail ultrarunner badass, you need to bring all you got to the 2nd annual FlatRock 101K on April 26th 2014 and put your theory to the test. If you want to see what you are really made of and push yourself to your absolute physical ultrarunning limits, you need to be there. If you are ready to become a true Midwest trail ultarunner, get registered now. FlatRock might just chew you up, spit you out, step on your face, and THEN send you home crying to your mama. IF you are too scared, that is understandable. I heard there are a few good half marathons that day…maybe you should check into those.
Click here to get registered now.
Finished #HonestAbeTrailMarathon, 6:02ish. Was “supposedly” gentle hills? Umm… I may need to buy the RD a dictionary. Felt like I was climbing the Summit of Mt Everest.
The course was 3 loops thru the Abraham Lincoln National Forest. It was a really beautiful trail. But, the hills were killing me. And, I haven’t been doing any hill training…my bad.
The race had a “strict” 7 hour cutoff. Apparently the RD was not kidding about this because he reminded us runners of it twice by email, and he mentioned it again at the pre-race meeting. He said if we didn’t think we could make the 7-hr cutoff, we needed to drop down to the 14K race option. So, needless to say, I was stressed from the start of the race. Cos y’all know me – I’ll take a DNF trying to finish before I’ll let somebody tell me to back down.
Except for the steep climbs, the course wasn’t really too bad – not overly technical, but technical enough to cause me to slow my pace. I rolled my ankles several times and tripped several times on the tree roots.
I finished the 1st loop in 1:45 – I was VERY happy about that! That gave me a “cushion” & took some pressure off me for the remaining loops. But the first loop also did a fairly decent job of trashing my hamstrings & calves.
Needless to say my 2nd loop came in a bit slower – about the 2 hr mark or so. I was seriously fatigued. I could barely make it up the last huge climb. Met a guy named Pascal. Bless his heart, he had JUST run the Air Force Marathon YESTERDAY!!! WHAT THE?????? Anyway… He and I pretty much ran together for the 2nd & 3rd loops. He was having a worse time on the hill climbs than I was. We kind of went back & forth – at times he was several yards in front of me & vice versa. He was justifiably tired – toward the end of loop 3, he told me to go on ahead. And, I actually ended up finishing the race about a minute before him.
So, the 2nd loop did a superior job of trashing my hamstrings and calves. On the 3rd loop I was forced to stop and stretch often to keep from going into full blown charley horses. I also had to stop twice to empty the dirt & pebbles from my shoes. Guess I was so tired I couldn’t pick my feet up. I was getting all kinds of garbage in my shoes. Had to keep emptying my shoes to keep from getting blisters and cuts.
Finishing loop 2 in 2 hrs gave me plenty of time to do loop 3!! I had over 3 hrs to get loop 3 done. But I had a personal goal of finishing Sub-6, so I gave loop 3 my best effort.
Umm, just so you know, my “best effort” was pretty much crap. I had NOTHING left in the tank…nothing. But I didn’t give up trying to come in Sub-6. I slogged when I could, and walked when I had to.
I was so tired in loop 3 that I was tripping over EVERYTHING. I could NOT pick my feet up. To the onlooker, it may have appeared that I was cross country skiing. I couldn’t walk/run a straight line – I was staggering. I was having trouble focusing. There were times I didn’t even know if I took the right turns on the trail. At one point I thought I was lost. (By this time Pascal was behind me.) Then I saw another runner!!! Yay! I wasn’t lost!! By the way, other than Pascal, this guy was the ONLY other runner I saw the entire day! I kid you not. And I only saw him in loop 3 – about 4 mi before the finish. I mean, I finished in almost last place – you would’ve thought that SOMEONE would’ve lapped me or something!! I can’t understand why I saw no one. That’s blowing my mind.
BUT, anyway, I made it! Didn’t have the strength to finish Sub-6, but 6:02 is pretty darn close!! So, I’m happy!!
They gave me a very nice wooden award with the name of the race carved in – I love it!!
Oh, and there was this:
After I got my finisher award, I may have turned around and walked “face first” into this big-ass wooden sign post… didn’t see it at all. I think my brain was giving me “paybacks” for this race???