The North Face Endurance (TNF) is coming up in a month and I have yet to attack the trail. Today, being Malaysia's first Malaysia Day (celebrating the merger of East and West Malaysia), I took the opportunity to have it done at the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM). And this is my second ever trail run, my first being at MR25 Ultra Marathon 2009.
This Progressive Outdoor Run is organised by Ian of Corporate Athletes. This is actually the second run in conjunction for the preparation for TNF. Turn out was great where 10 including me showed up. 2 of my fellow friends I knew were Jaime and Yim. Sadly, I totally forgotten about my camera hence no pictures for this entry. We did a short warm up before some stretching. A simple ice breaking session and we are off.
Started about a kilometer on road before hitting the trails. Upon hitting it, it reminds me of the Mount Kinabalu climb via the Mesilau Trail. Not as tough but still pretty technical. And trust me, the trail at MacRitchie Reservoir is actually easy compared to this. Up and down we went and my heart rate was unstable for the first 4KM. Was hallucinating a bit too due to the canopy where some areas were dim while others bright. I also felt a sting on my right ankle. Took a look at it and saw a little black worm crawling there. First guess was a leech. I've never seen a leech before though. Shook it off and continued with my run.
We reached a point where runners were prohibited from entering as it's made for mountain bikers. Therefore, we detoured to another place where the scenery was really nice. We rested at a point ahead and we eached checked our socks for any leech bites. Confirmation of the earlier worm being a leech as there were blood stains on my socks. Jaime had a HUGE one where his socks were soaked in blood. Apparently, the leech bit through his socks too. Yum yum... After a while, we pop back at the exact same place and made our way back. We bumped into Yip and his brother, Raymond and Michelle here who started an hour later. Nice to see them there.
We got back on road from the 13KM mark onwards and ran back to the car park for some light refreshments. Bananas, watermelon, Raya cookies with mineral water was served. Hats off to them for bringing them. Refilled my hydration pack and resume my run about 20 minutes later. This time, only myself, Jaime, Yim, Ian and Syah followed hoping to meet at least 22KM.
I was already tired at this point and my legs were already giving way due to my zero mileage the past week, but I know it had to be done. It was basically soreness and not pain so there shouldn't be any problem. My pace slowed down at lot and at certain point, I had to walk. I even let all of them pass me for I do not want to slow them down.
Back on road, myself and Yim decided to detour back to the car park as we have met the 22KM distance in close to 3 hours. The other 3 went for another extra 2KM before we all gathered back at the car park to refuel and catch up. A quick one for me as it was already 11am as I need to return home for shower and then to open my store for business at 12pm. I was 8 minutes late. Hehe...
Overall, a great run. Tiring, torturing but productive. I will return to FRIM for sure. As for TNF, one good choice I made was to purchase a trail shoe. I'm glad my sponsors allowed me to wear another brand as they understood the situation as they do not have trail shoes in their arsenal. The trail shoes helped a lot with the terrain and I managed to grip on certain surfaces really well especially on downhills. I don't want to roll down the hill. My advice for those taking part in TNF, do invest in a trail shoe, even if it's a cheap one.
Last but not least, many thanks to Ian for having this run organised and also Jamie and Yim for letting me know. And to the others, thanks for snacks and refreshment. It was heaven sent. Till then, happy trailing...