Tuesday, December 20, 2011

MR25 Cross Country Ultra Marathon 2011...

Event: MR25 Cross Country Ultra Marathon 2011
Venue: MacRitchie Reservoir, Singapore
Date: 18 December 2011
Time: 7.00am
Distance: 10.2KM per loop(to run as many in 12 hours)
Shoe: Vibram FiveFingers TrekSport
By Frank

Last running event of the year and it has always been in my to run list each year in 2009. A no frills, no pressure and get together event, MR25 is where down to earth ultra marathoners gather together to celebrate running, at least for us from Malaysia.

I woke up real early on Saturday as I wanted to meet up with Geraldine who surprisingly make a very secretive trip back from the land of kangaroos. She arrived with Jamie at Bukit Aman at about 6am and after catching up for just about 15 minutes or so, both of them started their run while I made my return home to pick up my luggage before rushing off to Bangsar to catch my coach at 7.30am. I was in the same bus with Yip, Jeff, Maui, Chin Ann and Poh Chye. Journey was good and I was glad I had my tablet to keep me company.

5 hours later, we arrived safely at Novena Square and proceeded straight to the food court for lunch. We were just really hungry. Had my usual Korean Bibimbap before hanging out in the mall for a while and also catching up with my Singaporean colleagues at Running Lab.

This time round, myself and Yip chose to stay at Value Hotel, Thomson rather than our usual Fragrance Hotel, Oasis as the room is a little bigger, cosier and comes equip with Wi-Fi. Not to mention about SGD$20 more too. After unpacking and a little rest, I made my way back to Novena Square to meet up with Carey and Karen for dinner at a Japanese restaurant at United Square. Great to catch up with them outside the store and office as friends. Dinner was all right, but dessert was the bomb. Had awesome ice cream at a small cozy shop call Udder just outside the mall. Had Pistachio and Dark Chocolate although I still find the latter lacking the bitterness. From there, its back to Running Lab, Novena Square where we hung around for a little while more before parting ways. Thanks Marketing Department for the company and dinner, and not forgetting the shoes. :D

Back at the hotel, a last check on the race gear before turning in at about 11pm. Sleep wasn't good as the room's sound proofing was just bad that I could hear the neighbours chatting hence causing me to wake up a little late. But luckily, all morning preparation went smoothly and by 6.30am, myself and Yip were at MacRitchie Reservoir already.

Got our race number and the usual greetings with fellow running friends followed by photo sessions. At 7am, the usual siren went off to signal the start. Off I went starting from the center pack this time round. No hurry this time round unlike last year where friends said I zoomed out like a rocket. As it rained yesterday, the trails were a little slippery and therefore, I had to be careful with my each steps. Mid way through MacRitchie Trail, the urge to pee came. I swore I have made my deposit before the event started and why is there extras? Sigh... Had to detour to the ranger post at about 4KM to relieve myself and this wasted time and momentum. Not to mention company too.

My first loop was done in just slightly more than an hour. Second loop was still ok but signs of leg soreness is starting show. At halfway through the third, I took my first walk. To make matters worst, I was hungry, really hungry. I was thinking of Udder ice cream which I had yesterday, and perhaps a Mos burger will drop down from the sky some where. With this, I decied to stop for lunch after completing my third. Was joined by Razif and we ate together. I opt for rice which was a bad choice as not only it taste bland, it over filled me. Too heavy sitting in my stomach, I wasn't able to run hence I decided to walk till I felt better. Razif managed to run though and it was back to square one for me, alone.

Exiting MacRitchie Trail for the fourth time, I decided to run a bit. Rain clouds were forming and I knew a repeat of last year will be in the books soon. "Just let me complete my 5 loops in dry conditions please", I told myself. But then, I spotted my ex-colleague Blue at the ranger post and we had about a 15 to 20 minutes chat. Was great to catch up with him, and also glad that he came as a photographer. Thanks Blue!

When I started my fifth loop, the weather was still fine. However, when I got to the ranger post, a sharp pain on my lower back caused me to stop. I leaned against a signage pole there to stretch myself hoping to relive the pain. It did, although it took some time, just enough time for the sky to open up just after the u-turn. And boy, it was really heavy at least for a short while. And during this short burst of rainfall, was where I caught Yim red "legged" at the golf course area running his sixth loop when he mentioned that 5 was enough! Hahaha... Good for him though as I can see he is really enjoying himself.

Back into MacRitchie Trail, it was tough. The muddy and slippery condition made my run hard but I was glad that I did not slip over any loose rocks which may have been submerged by the rain water. Exiting the trail, the sun greeted me and with 1KM to go, I was glad I made this far. 5 loops isn't something remarkable, but this is one run that is meant to be enjoyed which I did completing my 5 loops in 09:10:11. Even my finishing timing number is in sync. Hahaha...

Was reunited with Paul and Tey before I found out about Yip. He again purged and managed also only 5 loops. He looked tired but wasn't as bad as the past 2 years. After collecting my finisher's vest and also the very unique cloth certificate, I rested and refueled before returning to the hotel with Yip to clean up and rest. However, Yip this time round wasn't as badly "damaged" as we both proceeded for dinner after a short rest. We met up with Lynette at Balestier food court and had barbeque steamboat buffet which was just nice after a tough run. I'm sure Yip had a wonderful meal too as he walloped about 3 or 4 bowls of ice kacang. Hehe... But most importantly, we had a great time catching up with Lynette who always had been a great host when we visit Singapore. Thanks Lynette!

Back at the hotel after cleaning up ourselves, we didn't even want to spend too much time packing as we just doze off pretty instantly. Even the noisy neighbours didn't manage to disturb this time round.

Next morning was a wet one too. Our coach back was scheduled at 12.30pm and it was smooth one too despite the long rainy journey. And with this, comes a close to 2011 racing calender. It was a tough MR25 outing, perhaps the toughest of all 3 I've ran. Perhaps was due to my lack of running now, but as Paul mentioned, weird pain on various parts is showing among runners this time round and for me was my mysterious lower back pain I suffered during my fifth loop. But you know me. Don't think too much about it and perhaps it will just go away. Till MR25 the next year!


deo said...

This year was my first experience in MR25 and as recommended by some friends, it was a wonderful events - low key, nice and encouraging people (or the ultramarathoners), well organized and of course the pokari sweat :)

I would certainly come back next year, if God permits. Well done to you Frank, I hope it wasn't as torturous as what TNF100 did to you, eh?

Eugene said...

Next year, i'll be back!