I was shivering constantly. There were ice crystals from my breath on the inside of the tent
We caught up with Felix from Fasting for Fitness again after his successful FFFRiverrun 2.0 to share some insight into what went down along his journey along the River Durance in the French Alps.
To reiterate what Felix did you can read more on our previous blog post about him here.
Essentially this was a solo and self-supported multi-day ultra marathon adventure totalling a distance of 330km, not considering that there were some detours, wrong turns and extra distance covered.
Let's find out what went down...
Felix, first off, well done, mate. Congratulations on completing this mammoth adventure. We know that you finished this over a month ago and have taken some time off to recoup, recover and take some chill time after your pre-adventure training camp and post completion. Well deserved of course but we want to know more.
Kyle: To confirm, what was the total expected distance and what was the actual final distance covered? To add more insight for our readers, also tell us about the elevation gain.
Felix: I pretty much stuck to the exact route as I was just following it on my little Wahoo GPS unit. There were a couple of wrong turns and then going off-route to find camping locations but I shouldn't think that would total more than 5km max. Total elevation gain was about 2,500m. It was mainly descending, I started at about 1400m and Avignon is pretty much at Sea-Level.
Kyle: How did the extra distance creep in?
Felix: My power banks died on day 4 so I had to keep my phone in low-power mode - that meant no background GPS tracking apps so can't give the exact distance but as above - probably about 335km
Kyle: On a journey like this, you have so much time with your internal voice. There had to have been some mixed conversations going on up there (positive and negative) - what was the main driver or motivator that kept you persevering until the finish line?
Felix: Ha! if it wasn't for the support of Runder I would have quit on Day 4 I reckon! I was really close to throwing in the towel but I just didn't want to let you guys down as I'd already failed last year's attempt at this. Yeah, that internal voice can be a muthafucka! Those negative thoughts just creep in no matter how much you tell them to shut up. It's a very strange thing. Your mind telling you to quit when it’s the last thing you want to do!
Kyle: Considering all the planning that went into this expedition, how well did the plan roll out? What did and didn’t go according to plan? What are the things you would do differently if you did this again?
Felix: The tent and sleeping bag were not suited to the Alpine climate in April! Those first three nights were brutal to say the least. I was shivering constantly all night long. There were ice crystals from my breath on the inside of the tent in the morning. It was really, really tough, and knowing I had to get up and run and hike 80km the following day with 15kg on my back…yeah, it was hard. Mentally, physically, emotionally.
Kyle: Can you tell us a little bit about your general daily routine, wake up time, food, hydration, sleeping, running, walking, eating, setting up camp etc...
Felix: Well because of the freezing nights and ice inside and outside my tent I couldn't - mentally - get myself out of my sleeping bag until the sun came up. Once I saw the sun, I'd get up, pack up my stuff, fill my water bottles, drop electrolyte tablets in them (this is all while shivering constantly) and hit the road. I'd start running just to warm myself up. Running vs Walking - I'd just see how I felt. Walking is so damn slow! Running with the pack is so damn hard! Once I'd put in a good 2-3 hours I'd stop and make a Coconut Protein+ shake and crack open a bag of Runder Biltong or slice off a few strips of the Whole Biltong with Fat (that stuff is fucking awesome!). Then another couple of hours, find somewhere along the route to refill my water bottles - maybe a Snickers or Mars would go down the hatch in this time - and I'd stop and make my 1000 calorie Freeze-Dried Trail meal, try and dry out my sweaty base-layer a bit, regroup and go again. Every night I was pitching my tent and making my evening meal in the dark by the light of my head torch. Long, hard days and freezing cold nights was the name of the game.
Kyle: What was the number 1 take away (or lesson) you gained from this solo-expedition? Was it something you expected you would get from completing this or was there anything unexpected that you gained?
Felix: Don't give up. Keep on pushing. Like I said, I was ready to throw in the towel on day 4. I pushed through and Day 5 was my 2nd best day after Day 1....it was actually quite enjoyable. Especially the last 30km or so into Avignon where my wife and son where waiting. Ah man, that first beer!
Kyle: What advice do you have for our readers who may be intrigued to also challenge themselves in some gruelling way like you did?
Felix: Do it. It doesn't have to be as extreme as the FFFRiverRun. It could be signing up for a Half Marathon or learning to swim or completing a sprint distance Triathlon. It will teach you a lot about yourself but more basic than that is just the discipline of the training is very good for all aspects of your life.
Kyle: Is there anything else you would like to share?
Felix: Yes. A massive thanks to Runder Biltong for providing me with all that nutritious, beefy goodness! Not only did it provide me sustenance during the whole FFFRiverRun (even on Day 4 when I felt sick all day - it was the only thing I could comfortably eat) but like I say, without that support, encouragement and trust I'm fairly certain I would have quit on Day 4. Also - watch this space for FFFRiverRun 2024!
Felix is busy working on a video that will showcase his expedition in visual form, stay tuned for updates as we will be sure to share this with our audience on our blog and social channels.
Felix you are a legend, well done bru!