Blues Cruise 50K 2014 – Let Me Cruising

Distance : 50K
Finish : 4:56:49
Rank : #32 (overall)

This was my second year of doing this race. Blue Cruise 50K was a really good race, not too crazy or too technical, but still not easy by any means. The course had enough hill that you would curse your legs 2/3 of the race, especially if you did not pace yourself. This race also one of my favorites, the RD was awesome, the aid stations were stocked (they had bacon at the last aid station), the volunteer was very nice and always lifted up our spirit, and the best one was the swag; the best swag ever.


I was planning to use this race as my training race towards the Pinhoti 100 in November, but as always, I did not follow my plan. I started on the second or third layer at the starting line. Somehow I got a terrible idea that I could try to race it. So I ramped up my pace and started to get into the single lines of loneliness of the race.
Actually my first 10 miles was awesome. I was running on constant pace on these rolling hills. It was pretty chill, and it motivated me to keep moving. I did not want to backdown on those hills, I think I was trying to run the same pace on flat, uphill and downhill. When I got to the aid station on one of the hill-top,  probably almost half of the race, the volunteer told me I was in the top 20. And I knew at that moment I was running a little too aggressive. So, I tried to be more conservative. I slowed down or did a power hike on the uphill and made up my time on the flat or downhill.
You know, I think I had never got a perfect race this year. There was always something happened, something popped, something twisted or something broken in my body. This time, my hamstring on my right was just busted on the mile 20 or something, where we hit the Ski Slope hill. It just  did not want to move. It was not cramping, my body was doing ok, it just the muscles did not want to follow my order. I wished I could bring a spare hip.
It was really frustrating when millions runners started to pass me. I was pretty frustrated in every uphill, I could only walked on those hills, even the small one.
But I did finish. And I was 40 minutes-ish faster than my last year finish-time. And I got a free folded chair as a swag. Finishing any trail race was always a good day, what a happy monkey day.


Course Description (source)

This race is a good start to enter the exiting world of trail ultra-running. That does not mean this course is easy!!!! This course is not very technical, but features some rocks and roots ( this is not a rails to trails type of trail). Experienced trailrunners can run the entire course but it might be a little intimidating for a road runner ( train on trails!!!). Total elevation is a little over 3000ft, which is by no means flat, but quite fair for a 50k. Our aidstation are usually located within 4 miles of each other, very well staffed and stocked and considered the best in the world of trail ultra running. If you come from a road marathon background, you have the necessary fitness to endure this race, but you might be caught off guard by the fact that this takes much longer (it’s not just 26.2 plus 5 extra miles), takes more energy and concentration ( hills, uneven footing, natural obstacles) and you need to be more selfsufficient ( carry at least 16oz of fluid with you at all times) because aidstations are spaced 4 miles apart. This is a fair challenge that can be tackled by most if you put in the necessary time.

M0 – M0.3: Paved park road
M0.3 – M1: Single track with 100 ft climb
M1 – M2.5: Downhill, mix of single track and double track
M2.5 – M4.5 Flat or minor hills, mix of single track and wider gravel sections
M4.5 – 17: Mostly single track. Entire section is rolling and features many hills. Most of them are less then 100 of elevation. By itself non of these hills are a major challenge but because there are so many of them it will be quite a challenge especially if you do not pace yourself.
M17- M21: Mix of single track, wider gravel trails and open fields. Multible smaller steep but short climbs.
M21- M22: Big hill. 300 ft of elevation. Skislope Hill.
M22-M26.5: Mostly flat and fast single track.
M26.5 – M31: All single track, rolling hills. Last 0.3 paved to the finish