Sunday, March 27, 2011

Twilight Ultra Challenge 2011...

Event: Twilight Ultra Challenge 2011
Venue: East Coast Park, Singapore
Date: 26 March 2011
Time: 6.00pm
Distance: 10KM loops (maximum distance in 16 hours)
Shoe: K-Swiss Blade-Light Run
By Frank

Twilight Ultra Challenge 2011 was an event I was so looking forward too. But it soon became one that I was really upset with that I wanted it to end so quickly so that I could get home.

I couldn't get myself to sleep and only manage 2 hours before the alarm went off. I was up at 4.30am, got everything ready and at 6am, I was off to the airport to catch up with Jamie. As I've already performed the web check-in, I've saved a lot of hassle. With about 2 hours before boarding, both of us caught up with Paul, Poh Chye, Pui San and Julie at an eatery outlet to spend time.

Fast forward, flight was delayed for about 15 minutes. Landing was pretty horrible with the air plane swaying left and right before coming to a stop. Arriving at Changi Airport was one pretty cold affair. I was only in a tee-shirt and bermuda shorts and thus I was freezing. Made our way to Terminal 2 to hop on to the MRT to get to the city. Pui San got off at Bedok leaving the rest of us to get off at Raffles City which was a bad mistake. Got ourselves lost there and it took us a long walk to get to Marina Square. Julie and Poh Chye did not follow and went straight to Bugis though.

With Jamie and Paul, we finally got to the comfort of Marina Square but to our horror, the food court which we all thought serves pretty good food has ceased operation. With no other choices and 3 empty hungry stomachs, we decided to have shabu-shabu buffet below. Although the food was great in taste, it wasn't satisfying for me as it lacks the carbs I needed. After lunch, I met up with Matthew, Karim and Kevin to perform some product exchange before hanging at Starbucks Coffee for some needed caffeine. Another bad mistake where I ordered cappuccino which was basically half foam. Not enough coffee in it!

At 4pm, we hailed down a taxi and made our way to Eact Coast Park only to be delayed by a traffic jam caused by an accident. Paul and myself saw the lack of time and quickly try to get into as much of our race gears as possible while in the taxi. With 30 minutes to go, we all rushed to get our remaining race gear from the organiser and I was SHOCKED to learn that my race number is number 1! A tough number to live through the 16 hours as it was called out at each support station. Yikes...

As I rush to gear up, I miss so many usual rituals like lubricating and taping certain hot spots. Got everything on, took an energy bar and at 5pm, the event was officially started. I started with the Malaysian group and had lots of fun then while we were all still pretty energetic.

Arriving at the first turning point at 2.5KM, the group split up a bit and my pace was building up till I met Khairul. I spend most of my first 10KM with him and enjoyed most of out it chatting with him. Then came Karen. We ran together for till about 30KM before I drop out. The earlier pace was pretty fast, but soon disaster struck me. Rich took over to accompany Karen while I battled headache. The lack of sleep took toll on me and with every foot strike, a hammer came knocking on my head. I was seeing stars. While Karen and Rich took off, I waited for Jamie at the base station. We both decided to walk 5KM together before heading for dinner at Burger King.

At about 11pm, Jeff too had call it a night. He stopped at 40KM and while I was tempted too, I told myself not to give in just yet. With Lynette, the 3 of us went for dinner. Though looking forward to it, I couldn't get the food into my system and only managed half a burger. At mignight, I continued on with Jamie and soon after, Cynthia came from the opposite. I passed her my remaining Coca-Cola and she gulp it down. I guess it was heaven-sent for her.

My system downgraded after the meal. I was loosing it. After the turn and on the way back to the base station, I had Paul to accompany me. I appreciate his company as I was struggling to get my head together. Back at the base station, I decided to take a break. I sat at the side with Jeff and Khairul to put the pieces back together but it came crumbling down.

After 2 hours of rest, I decided to attack the remaining last 5KM and to get over with it. I don not want to come all the way to run under a marathon distance. Held on to the pain of every hammer strike, I went at my race pace. Coming close to 10 hours at 09:50.31, I've managed to run 45KM and this is where I called it quits. As much disappointed I am with this, I guess this isn't my night and my run.

After showering which was kind of an embarrassing moment for me (4 big men showering together clad only in our underwear), together with Jamie and Jeff, we proceeded to McDonalds for breakfast. Again, I struggled to get the food in. Soon later, we found a bench to take a really short nap. I did not, as I look up the sky and though of the run. I cried a little over the spilled milk. "Are my ultra days numbered?" and "Is Sundown 100KM my cup of tea?", I asked myself. No answers but instead, Jeff woke us up and we proceeded back to base station to catch up with the others.

I caught a glimpse of the remaining runners still running and I'm happy to see both Karen and Yim to be in that field. Victor and Poh Chye too. Shine has already completed his 100KM in about 12 hours and still looking great. After a while, I fell back again on the ground to take a rest before waking up at about 6.30am to catch a taxi to the airport.

Although our flight back is scheduled at 12.50pm, I guess the airport was a better place to rest. Nothing much to blog about here from now, as I was just happy that it' all over and that I caught up with 15.5hours worth of sleep back home. If only I could have run that long.

Signing off from this grueling event, I would like to congratulate and thank the following people:

- Ben Swee, for successfully organising this event near to perfection with him team from Running Guild, Singapore,
- Lynette, for all the kind support and assistance given throughout the entire event,
- Jamie, for being again my travel mate and someone I really enjoy to be with during my trips,
- Paul, for being travel mates the first time and accompanying me when I needed someone during the run,
- Karen, for being part of my running adventures and running with me till I drop off. And many congrats on an awesome feat,
- Khairul, for being there during the early part of the race and also catching up mid span of it,
- Yim, for being the runner who had set an example that to defy the odds, it's up to one self. Congratulations too on an amazing feat,
- David, for the heavenly sent red bean ice stick and all the photos taken,
- Mohan, for being the happy go lucky runners and for taking care of my luggage,
- Kash, for arriving at the most critical time to support the runners with running and fuel,
- Meng Wai, Victor, Shine, Poh Chye, Cynthia, Adeline, Alexis, Pui San, Julie and the rest of the Malaysian contingent for making this trip even more memorable,
- To the rest whose name isn't mention here, you know yourself. A huge THANKS and CONGRATULATIONS for everything!


Anonymous said...

up and down, heaven or hell, we all runners have experienced em all.

You did great under such condition.

Try another time.

Time to visit your shop again for my next pair of shoes hehe


Frank@Runnerz said...

Thank you Shine. It's too difficult to swallow but time will will soon heal the wounds. Thanks for the positive note. Appreciate it.

Tweet @ Chin said...

It was a good effort. You live to run another day!

cRAzYtoMatOmaN-D said...

Chill bro. It's just 1 of those bad days.
Look at it this's your lowest ultramarathon and next race, there's only 1 way to go...UP!

Cheer up ya :P

Khairul Anuar said...

Given the circumstances most of us were under, u still did well. It was indeed tough, running on concrete, boredom and the narrow route etc. Excuses they may be, but I share the same problem with u, lack of sleep.

I look up to u, I'll always do. Your Sundown 84km (twice!) records never lie. Rock On...and Run On!

Frank@Runnerz said...

Chin Chin: True indeed. I'm alive, walking well and tomorrow is always better, I hope.

Ray: Thanks. Bad hair day, bad run day.

KA: Commando style has been removed from my dictionary. Haha... It was nice to share some running moments with you early in the race.

Tekko said...

Hi No 1, you still No 1 as far as I am concerned. To complete in such a mentally challenging route is not easy. That's why coward like me choose to serve drinks rather than run. It's much easier:)

Frank@Runnerz said...

Thanks Tekko. All volunteers are heroes in the eyes and hearts of us all runners. Without you people, I wonder how are we all going to do it. Our THANKS to you all! Certainly more than a number 1.

* have been following your blog for a while now and yet to meet you in person. Must do 1 fine day.

Anonymous said...

Dear Frank,
I enjoyed reading your blog post. I'm astounded you actually didn't book a hotel room to stay for the whole trip! The lack of sleep and fatigue much have been tremendous!

Anyway, good luck for SD100km (if you are going).

TUC runner #76 (CH)

Frank@Runnerz said...

Hi CH. Yes I will be participating in Sundown 100 hence TUC is part of my training for it. Did not book any accomodation as wanted to save on $$$ and also time, but now the word "commando" is certainly out of my travelling dictionary.