I had always wanted to run an Ultra. I have been a runner for almost 30 years. I worked a schedule that did not allow for regular training. Over the years I would enter a race ever now and again. Anywhere from 10 to 26 miles. But the ultra always had its charm. Finally I made the decision to run one in 2015. A friend and I decided we would motivate each other toward this goal. We chose to run the Blue Cruise 50k. My work schedule changed and allowed me weekends off for regular long runs. I met some very patient and knowledgeable ultra runners who always invited me along to train. Even though these runners were far superior athletes. I learned a lot from them and worked hard. By race day I felt more prepared then I have ever been in the past. I had logged half a dozen 20+ milers. I learned one of the secrets in training from the seasoned trail vets, elevation. I had logged over 60,000 feet of climbing in those months of training and it was the difference in my opinion.
Race day came. I wore my vest with one 20 ounce bottle. I carried a few honey stinger packs, gels, and Tp. I felt excellent and there was no doubt in my mind we would finish at or under our goal pace of 6:30. I had heard so much about Blues Cruise and the support on the course. I started and felt super. Right on the pace we trained for. Then for whatever reason about mile 6 I hit a yellow jacket nest. I was probably stung 6 or 7 times. I felt okay, they definitely stung. But all seemed go and we continued on, trying to slip back into that relaxed running groove. We hit mile 10 at 2 hours. I stopped for about a minute for a drink and snack. When we started to run again my right leg was stiff and crampy. It was from my groin down through the outside of my knee. Now instantly, it hit me…..I had 21 more miles and things were not going as planned. My partner noticed immediately my gait was off. We tried to continue together but I couldn’t keep up. She went on to finish right on pace at 6:13. I on the other hand was in a mental fight like no other. At least 4-5 more hours of running and I was feeling worse each mile. I tossed around dropping for a few miles. I got my head back on straight and just focused on the next aid station. Breaking up the rest of the course into 4.5 mile segments.
There is no doubt in my mind that if the aid stations were not as incredible as they were I would have dropped. Knowing thatg every 4 miles i would be able to recharge was so nice. Had this been any other race there is no way I would have wanted to continue. The volunteers at each stop were awesome. And the food was about the same. I finished just under the cut off time. Each step afraid I woud l cramp again. My legs would just lock up. Making any movement impossible. I have no idea what caused the leg issues. I never had anything like that before. Especially after only 10 miles. Even with my shit finish he race was amazing and I cannot wait for another. I was very disappointed how I did considering many didn’t train even close to what we had been doing. but that is life and after a day or two I was planning the next little jog.