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Tag: Blues Cruise 50K

Blues Cruise 2019

What went right?

If you are going to run your first ultra, the Blues Cruise 50K is the one to pick. That’s just what I did years ago and I keep coming back. The vibe of this race is incredible!
This was my 7th time racing Blues Cruise and I had what I call “fun with race day friends”. That’s when you meet new people on the trail and have a great time with them!

Patrick Durante with Kate Sidoli and Jessica Gockley
Sharing the miles with some super fast ladies!
Kate Sidoli and Jessica Gockley
PHOTO CREDIT: Teodor Beekneeyosec

I meet an incredible group of very fast women, all of which won awards in their respective age groups. Making friends can lead to a better race, but its the type of thing that only happens in ultras. It’s the shared suffering that creates a sense of comradery with strangers. You get to take your mind off the pain and it makes the running feel effortless! It places a limit on your suffering and for myself, I seem to run faster! My times are varied for this race, but maybe its because I don’t meet the right people? I’m unsure, but I finished right at 5 hours and felt great. I gave the race everything I had and that’s all one can hope for, just doing your best.

Trailing behind Kate Crane… As she took 1st place Masters.
PHOTO CREDIT: Teodor Beekneeyosec

What went wrong?

I set the virtual pace on my watch at 9:20 and was going to stick to that pace. This was based on what I had done in years previous. While in the race I had more fun running with strangers than focusing on time. I dropped the time goal and just made it about having fun. The people you are running with are better company than the clock. Know when to abandon something that no longer serves you, especially your watch!

I felt a lack of strength in the last 3 miles, the race taking its toll. I still lack late-race leg turnover, which means I lack strength.  Next year I plan to incorporate more strength and signed up for CrossFit classes at CrossFit Kanna. If I had structured workouts with a group I think I’ll find the missing link to better performance.

PHOTO CREDIT: Teodor Beekneeyosec

Final thoughts:

10 minutes after the race, I’m in pain but sad. It went by so quick! I don’t want my season to be over! When you are having fun time flies. That night I couldn’t even sleep. I was excited about how well the race went and how much fun I had. I hate to think about the day when I can no longer do this. I just love these long races. Races are the easy part of the season. You are filled with such excitement and being in the race is pure joy. I hope I can keep running until I’m 90! If I can’t I will just find something new to excite me that matches my physical ability.  Keep moving, keep training and keep racing! I always say there will come a day when I can no longer do this. Today was not that day, but hopefully, that day never shows up… 

The loop!

Time for a change.

It’s common for runners to hit a plateau in their training and racing.  I’ve been stuck for a few years, and I was looking for a new training technique. I wanted to be injury free for more than a few months and also be able to break 2:59 in the marathon.  It would be nice if I could finish a long run not feeling 100% drained. I read this post from /r/running on, which help lead me down the correct path.

He hit on all the major points I felt I needed work. Pacing, diet, and how to recover properly. He achieved the target time that I was pursuing, 2:55-2:59.  So, I followed in his foot steps, in the hope of improving.  I picked up a copy of this book and started to make the necessary changes with my diet.  It hasn’t been easy.  Most will say you are crazy for giving up carbs as a runner.

The easiest way I found is to get a nice blender and start to make smoothies.  I don’t have the time to eat different fruits and veggies, but having them blended into a nice, tasty, and portable drink has made it 100x easier.  In just a few short weeks, I was down 10 pounds from cutting refined carbs.

I’m at 2 months and my MAF tests have been improving.  The MAF test gives you a way to monitor your progress, and it’s been a great training tool.  That, tied with the HR monitor, gives you all of the feedback you need to set a proper pacing strategy for training.  It should help you stay injury free, if you can stay under your target HR calculated by the 180 formula.  I will say, it can be frustrating at first, as it will feel as if you are running too slow.

The true test will be at my next three races, the Sloppy Cuckoo, Blue Cruise 50K, and Bucks County Marathon.  I’m hoping this strategy will give me the edge I need, to perform well and break my running rut.