Venue: MacRitchie Reservoir, Singapore
Date: 9 October 2010
Distance: 100KM Duo - 50KM each runner for a team of 2 (50.7KM by Jamie's Garmin Forerunner 205)
Shoe: Salomon XT Hawk 2
My toughest running event to date, and I experienced it first hand with my team-mate Jamie and a whole bunch of Malaysian friends. Experience running like no other, The North Face 100 Singapore 2010, an extreme running event on trail!
9 October 2010. Pre race day...
Morning started extremely early for me. Had only 4 hours of sleep and soon I find myself sitting in McDonald's at Subang Skypark Airport having my breakfast at 6.15am. Jamie soon arrived and with company around, time flies. However, our flight got delayed and we had another hour to spent. While spending it on the couch, we bump into a familiar face, Lynn's brother Glenn who is making his way to Koh Samui.
At 10am, we left on board Fireflyz and soon arrived at Changi Budget Terminal slightly more than hour later. Made our way to Marina Square to collect our race pack. However, we got lost due to the word Marina as we opt to travel by train to Marina Bay instead. There, we had to walk at least a couple of kilometers to reach our destination. Though a long walk, both myself and Jamie did have a good time snapping photos at the recently open Sands (hotel, casino and shopping gallery). Soon, we arrived and met up with Matthew from BV Sport. Got our race pack, had our lunch and off we went to Matthew's office to try on our sponsored BV Sport Booster suits. We also met up with Karim before Matthew sent us to our hotel at Balestier Road.
Managed to get ourselves check-in in a small but yet comfy room. Just after checking in, both of us were already packing for our check-out the next morning. Hahaha... Packed up our race necessity and dump other items into our bag. At 6pm, Justin arrived at our hotel doors and we went to United Square for dinner at Pastamania. It's been a while since I seen Justin and it was great to once again catch up with him. He's currently recovering from a leg injury and surgery but it looks he's making great progress recovering. Am sure he will bounce back soon. With dinner done, we paid a visit to Velocity at Novena to check out some sport gears and to buy ourselves water and breakfast for the next big day. Then, it's back to the hotel for some final preparation before going to bed at close to 10pm.
"Ticket" to the jungle...
9 October 2010, Race day...
Despite having my alarm go off at 3.15am, I only woke up at 4am. Was kind of sluggish but eventually managed to climb out of bed to prepare all the necessities. The first time I'm sharing the room with Jamie, I hope I didn't disturb him with my "waking up early habit". At 5.30am, we were ready. Checked out of the hotel and travelled by taxi to MacRitchie Reservoir. Quickly enough, we soon bump into our Malaysian friends. All look so excited and we managed a few crazy and happy shots together before proceeding to check ourselves into the starting pent, of course having weight our hydration back pack. Mine weight in at 2.75KG! MY GOD!
Part of the Malaysia contingent...
Runners getting their hydration pack weight...
With Walter from Outdoor Venture...
At 7.00am sharp, we were flagged off. Was with Jamie, Yim and Haza that time and we wish each of us the best before I broke free. Then it's with Jamie, Poh Seng and Chin Chin on the road before hitting the MacRitchie trail. Familiar ground for me for the first 4KM before hitting the unknown. My pace was good and I managed to maintain my heart rate at about 75%.
I arrived at the 10KM mark in 01:06:58. Pretty healthy pace I would say but I'm feeling the strain on my right tiny toe already. It's starting to swell from the trail pounding and I was on 2 pairs of socks. Arriving at 15KM mark, I had to take off the first socks and immediately, I felt the relief.
We even had to tackle this...
Out of MacRitchie trail and into some neighbourhood and then to Mandai, things started to go down for me. I had to fight dizziness and my guess was my sugar level is dipping. At 18KM mark where the huge refreshment station was, I gambled and took down a banana with lots of isotonic drinks. Was hoping my tummy won't have any negative effect on it. Walked and jogged a little as I left the station but I wasn't myself. Shortly in front, Chin Chin and Poh Seng caught up with me. They stopped and accompanied me but I felt guilty about it. I restarted my run albeit the slow pace but at least that kept the 3 of us going.
Slowly, I was getting myself back. I took a GU Roctane gel at the 25KM mark where the "unrunnable route" was hoping to get the sugar level back up to a healthy level and also to slow down the lactic acid buildup. But soon after the climb, another nightmare for me. Tarmac and concrete. Hardly any trail and I had problems running it with my trail shoe. Chin Chin and Poh Seng who both are on running shoes, have their advantage here but we waited for each other. Let's call ourselves the 100KM Trio, I told myself.
My strength is with climbs and I attacked most of the climbs. Chin Chin and Poh Seng coupled with the running shoes are stronger with flats here and also downhills. With this, we made up with each other. At 28KM, I knew it was over for me. At this point, I just want to complete the race injury free and to concentrate on next month's Powerman 2010. Bumped into Walter of Outdoor Venture here and tried to pull him along but he was just too tired.
Back at the refreshment station earlier, this time at 32KM mark, I took a long rest with Chin Chin, Poh Seng and Walter. I even called Matthew to joke with him that I was getting burnt under the hot sun. Glad that I'm still able to to that!
Restarted and immediately got hit by side stitch due to too much of isotonic drinks. Darn! Tried to shake it off by mixing walking and jogging hoping to keep in touch with both my friends. I believe they slowed down for me. Feeling guilty again, I hasten up and was lucky my side stitch went away pretty quickly.
Back at Bukit Timah, there was a part where I followed the runner ahead. Instead of running the trail above, he opt for the below causing most runners following him including the 3 of us to climb up a pretty small and steep hill. Myself and Poh Seng cramped here! I had to paused halfway through the climb as my left shin was cramping like there was a mouse in it. ARGHH!!! Had to bear with it for a while before getting my leg back.
Hardly can run due to the loose and sharp rocks. Foot bed was already hurting like mad and I swear that the 3 of us is going to blow anytime soon. Just keep going and we were looking forward to the 38KM mark where refreshment station were. But it appeared later than expected and the marshall told us another 14KM to go. He must be kidding and we were sure he is wrong cause the return route is slightly different from the one where we came from. Stayed positive and resume our run.
Soon, we are back onto MacRitchie Trail. We are on our way home! Tried to run as much as we can despite the rocky conditions and was looking forward to the trail's exit which will mark 1KM to go the end. However, it took ages to appear. At 47KM, I wanted to refuel so I started digging into my backpack for my energy gel only to get my right arm cramped up. Weird place to have a cramp and even Poh Seng was amused. He helped me straighten it before we continued on. Finally oh finally, we saw the light at the end of the jungle. I hasten up, armed myself with my camera hoping to get some good shots of my 2 friends as they run towards the end.
After 50.7KM of trail running (30KM together with Chin Chin and Poh Seng), the 100KM Trio completed our race in 07:42:11. However, it wasn't over for me. I did not cross the finish line and a few eyes were on me. Instead, I turned my back on it, and walked back for 200M before waiting at the side for my team-mate, Jamie. A familiar face, Yim soon came into the picture. With his help, I roughly have an idea where Jamie was. While waiting, Raymond, Michelle, Shih Ming and Saya came by. Michelle asked me to cross the finish line first but I refused. Time was still available and this is a team game for me. I wanted to cross it with my team-mate despite not having run it together. I waited on. After about 29 minutes, Jamie finally arrived as we both ran together with our arms held together, crossing the finishing line officially at 08:11:05. We have done it! And congratulation to Jamie for his first ever ultra-marathon, one that he had to choose this tough one. Hahaha...
After all the running, most of us managed to regroup though there were still a few of us running. Though worried about them, we are all still being positive. With a plane to catch at 6.50pm, myself with Jamie and Poh Seng quickly showered up at the shower facilities provided before saying goodbye to others. Tired, burnt but not as sore as I would expect to be, I treated myself to a huge Mega Mac burger from McDonald's at the budget terminal. And finally at 9pm, we were back at our beloved country. I fetched both Jamie and Poh Seng to Sunway Pyramid before I made myself home for a well deserved rest. Despite after more than 6 hours after the race, certain parts of my body like my shin and toes are still cramping up even in my sleep. Argh... But I guess this is common for this is certainly the toughest race for me to date. A more than 10 hours at this year's Sundown Ultra Marathon was indeed a blessing in disguise. If I had run a sub 10 hours, I would have asked for trouble. If you asked me now if I would do it again next year, I guess most of you would have know the answer despite not having me answering it here. :D
Front view of the finisher medal...
Rear view of the finisher medal...
- BV Sport, for sponsoring our race suits. It really works!
- K-Swiss for allowing me to wear another brand of shoes for this race.
- Jamie, my team-mate at Team Runnerz Cricle for everything since the first day when we decided to team up for this event. Enjoyed it to the max!
- Chin Chin and Poh Seng of Team Tri-Ultra, for the training and good time together throughout the final 30KM in unexplored territories.
- Kash and Rais for managing our luggage before, during and after the race.
- Yim, Ian, Syah, Nik, Alexis, Haza, Pui San and a whole bunch of Malaysians participating in this race for the company did brought lots of memories to be treasure together.
- Yee Hua and Ben, for the advised on what to expect in the race, and not forgetting on the hamburger joke.
- And to everyone else from friends, photographers, volunteers and more who played a part in this adventure, THANK YOU! You know who you are.