Sunday, December 26, 2010

MR25 Cross Country Ultra Marathon 2010...

Event: MR25 Cross Country Ultra Marathon 2010
Venue: MacRitchie Reservoir
Date: 26 December 2010
Time: 7.00am
Distance: 10.2KM per loop (to run as may in 12 hours)
Shoe: Salomon XT Hawk 2
By Frank

Here we go! The final race of the year and one that I'm really looking forward too. It's a revisit to MacRitchie Reservoir where my love hate relationship with it dates back to last year's edition and this year's The North Face 100.

It's Christmas and I'm spending it in Singapore. Took First Coach again from Bangsar with Yip. Arrived early and had breakfast at the mamak eatery behind before Poh Chye and Yip came and join me. Shortly later, Jeff and Tey too arrived. Our bus left at 7.30am and arrived 5 hours later. Pretty fast trip although I was uncomfortable with the driving style. The driver was zig zagging the bus too often and at one stage, his door came loose and it opened! I though at first it was a puncture before Yip told me what had happen. Luckily nothing happen or else I will be on newspaper headline on Boxing Day!

Quick lunch at Novena before walking towards Fragrance Hotel - Oasis at Balestier Road. Halfway walking, it poured and together with Yip, we both ran clumsily with our luggage. We were wet upon arrival at the hotel and immediately showered up before I met up with Matthew to restock my stocks for BV Sport.

6.15pm, we met up with the rest of the Malaysian contingent at Bugis Junction for dinner. Those that came were Ben, Yee Hua, Poh Chye, Jeff, Tey, Wern Tien, Chiu Miew, Wendy, Pui San, Lynette, Yip and 2 new friends Dennis and Mawi. Dinner tasted so so but most important, it gave us the energy and nutrients most of us need the next day. Then, it was dessert before we made our way back to our respective hotel to rest.

Christmas decor at Bugis Junction...

With everything packed, I turned in pretty early around 10pm. Fell asleep easily this time. Not sure whether it was the bed or I had a satisfied tummy with desserts in it. Hahaha...

Boxing day 2010, race day...
I woke up really fresh. 6 hours of sleep packed with a good hearty breakfast, I'm ready. With motivation through Facebook and SMSes from 2 Malaysian friends, I felt more than great. Left the hotel at 6am and travelled to the reservoir by cab. Upon arrival, collected our race bib which was really colourful and unique as it's made of cloth. No matter how you fold it, it will return to its original shape.

My unique and colourful race bib made of cloth...

Then all the race preparation before the entire Malaysian contingent grouped together for a photo session. At 7am, we were off! I started well and managed to pace comfortably myself. Quickly enough, I arrived at the exit of the MacRitchie Trail. Close to 4KM, appear the first refreshment station serving Pocari Sweat. As I drank my first cup, a runner could not stop in time and knock into me from behind. The impact cause me to choke and Pocari Sweat started coming out from my nose. Oh man! Nasty indeed.

Continued on, passed the ranger station and into a short destructive trail full of really sharp and larger rocks. Luckily, the turning point was just shortly and the few volunteers here was really energetic cheering for us while doing their job, manually taking down our race number. I nearly went straight though before one of the volunteer called out to me, as I was just following the 2 runners ahead, without realising they weren't participants. And from there, I made my way back through a slightly detour at the ranger station which was really steep. Otherwise, it was the same old trail back passing the same refreshment station. And before that too, I saw all my friends making their way to the turning point. I was kind of surprise the lead I had. Was I going too fast?

On my re-entry to the MacRitchie trails, I was surprised to see Paul. He started 15 minutes late as he got lost trying to get to the reservoir. Then Sallehan came by and I followed him. My pace increased here and I really hammered it. However, I still felt good, in fact great. Soon, I arrived at the start/finish area (pit stop) with a time of 01:02:27 for my first loop. With a time like this, I think I'm asking for it cause at that moment, I was in the top 20 position, according to Paul.

I slowed my pace down at my second loop. Still going great actually but then towards the end of it, my legs started to hurt. The ball on both my forefoot is hurting and my big left toe is hurting too. Back at the pit stop, I tape up my hurting toe hoping it will help cushion the impact. Honestly speaking, it didn't help. Arriving at 22KM or so, Ben passed me. I managed to catch up with Hong Soon wo passed me earlier the pit stop and we paced each other. Hong Soon is my Singaporean friend whom I met during this year's Sundown Ultra Marathon 2010. He was the one who kept talking with me. Hahaha... I managed to run with him just before the turning point as my legs can't take the pounding. At about 27KM, Yim passed me. More and more started passing as I reduced to walking on rocky areas. The pain made both my legs wobbly and I didn't want to get injured by slipping and falling. So, I took it real easy from here onwards. Anyway, this is a run to be enjoyed.

Back at the pit stop after my third loop, I managed to get a quick shot with Yim before restarting. And just before doing so, I stared sending SMSes back to my friends updating them on what's going on. Talk about live updates. Hehehe... I took a GU Roctane Gel followed by a banana. I was risking the banana as shortly after restarting, I could feel my gut spinning. "HANG ON THERE" I told my gut and slowly managed to shake it off. Phew... Was mixing walking and running here and upon arrival at the refreshment station, Jeff and Paul caught up. Jeff continued on himself while I went with Paul which was seriously a good idea. We both kept each other company by chatting on numerous issue like marathons, ultra marathon, triathlons and even about ourselves. We even paced each other. This is how an ultra marathon is to be done and enjoyed!

With the Yimster after our third loop...

At the end of my fourth loop, I bear with pain and sprinted to the pit stop as I though that each loop needed to be done in 2 hours. I did 01:59:13 for this loop. But later, someone explained to me that it was in fact the total 5 loops to be done in 10 hour. I had plenty of cushion! Sprinted for nothing.

Started my fifth alone but 2KM into it, I bumped into Yim. I stopped and walked with him and again like Paul earlier, we chatted, walked and accompanied each other. Paul too rejoin us and we walk till the refreshment station before the skies decided to open up. Santa Clause gave us a surprise here by treating us to a heavy downpour. We took it really careful here as the rocks were really slippery. I seeked shelter at a hut near the ranger station with Paul before deciding to go again seeing the rain isn't going to stop any sooner. The path leading towards the turning point turned into a river which I swear to be at least 1.5cm to 2cm high. Had to be careful not to step on any loose rocks here and slowly made our way out.

After exiting, the rain stopped. Eugene is catching up as we met him at the refreshment station. Chatted a while before parting and I'm on my way home. 1KM or so to the exit of MacRitchie Trail, Wern Tien and Chiu Miew caught up and the 4 of us walked together till the finish like bearing our Malaysia flag. We are calling it a day after 5 loops. I initially wanted to do a minimum 6 loops but due to safety issues, I think it's wiser to stop here. I don't want to get injured in the month of January again. And so, 5 loops covering 51KM in a time of 08:36:06. Slow but fun is how I describe my run. And it was made even better with friends. Here's my race splits:

1st loop :01:02:27
2nd loop: 01:15:09 (02:17:37)
3rd loop: 01:41:23 (03:59:00)
4th loop: 01:59:13 (05:58:14)
5th loop: 02:39:29 (08:36:06)

Collected my finisher's vest and the unique finisher's certificate which again is made of cloth. Tey then came to break a bad news. He told me Yip had quit and I was surprised to hear that as I saw him running really strong. He has return to the hotel. Though I wanted to go back to check on him, I still waited for few other friends to complete their run like Eugene, Shine and Jeff. While doing so, I shared the run experience with Paul, Yee Hua, Tey and some others before making my way back. Upon opening the hotel's room door, I was glad that Yip greeted me. He was literally fine actually except for his stomach. Again, he threw up. Hmm...

Finisher's vest and again unique finisher's certificate made of cloth...

Cleaned up and went for my post race dinner which I over did on it. Was eating like a glutton. At close to 10pm, I accompanied Yip out for some dessert. His gut wasn't ready to accept any solids and some fluid and fruits will be good. At 11pm, it's time to call it a night after a tiring and somehow painful day.

After effect of running an ultra marathin in the rain...

The next day, a quick breakfast and it's walk back to Novena to catch our bus back at 12.30pm. Bump into Jeff and had another round of dessert. Journey home was smooth and got back in slightly more than 5 hours. And it was made faster by snoozing for almost the entire ride. Hahaha...

Overall, I really had fun. This is certainly a tough run but if one wants to enjoy nature and seeing different kind of runners from those wearing formal clothings to run, with long beard, weird running style, one that blows the whistle (pun intended) and much more, this is the race I would recommend. As for me this time round, it was my legs that gave up on me, not my cardio. I guess I need more legs conditioning from now onwards to tackle my century distance. But all in all, I'm glad to completed my 2010 running year with fun and satisfaction!

- Yip, for being my travel mate again for this run.
-Tey, for making all the way down again to support fellow runners and snapping good photos of us.
- Hong Soon, for trying to pull me on.
- Yim and Paul, for the much appreciated company.
- Wern Tien and Chiu Miew, for completing our run together side by side with Paul.
- Ben, Yee Hua, Eugene, Dennis, Mohan, Mawi, Jeff, Shine, Poh Chye Pui San and Wendy, for participating in this run for your presence made it more fun and interesting.
- My 2 Malaysian friends who had kept company via SMSes through the trip and race.
- And many many more. You know who you are, THANK YOU!

No comments: