Thursday, April 04, 2013

Twilight Ultra Challenge 2013...

Event: Twilight Ultra Challenge 2013
Venue: East Coast Park, Singapore
Date: 30 March 2013
Time: 7.00pm
Distance: 10KM loops (maximum distance in 16 hours)
Shoe: Sauvony Virrata
By Frank

The first of my 2 long runs in preparation for the Comrades Marathon 2013 will fall on the Twilight Ultra Challenge, an event which I did not perform well for the past 2 editions due to insufficient sleep from travelling commando style. This year round, I traveled down a day, or shall I say a night earlier to get some proper rest before race day.

Flew down with Roy and Lai Ling on Friday night and without any delays, we arrived at Fernloft Hostel at East Coast as per recommended by Chee Kong close to midnight. After checking into our dorm of 10, we proceeded to the bar below to get our welcome drinks and also to have a little snack which turned out rather huge but tasty. And while munching, we watch the Hungary circuit race on my mobile phone as per posted by Eric before going back up to clean ourselves up before resting up.

Everything was perfect except one. It was a mix dorm of 10 person and we were unlucky that 2 of them were snorers particularly one which is a very loud one. Had difficulty sleeping through the night and when I managed to doze off, I woke up with a tummy ache at about 9am. And from then on, I can't get myself back to sleep due to the "surround sound system".

At 12pm, we checked out, had lunch with Lai Ling's friend before hanging out at a cafe waiting for time to pass. The sky opened up in mid noon but stopped a while later. We proceeded back to the hostel, freshen ourselves and geared up before taking a warm-up walk to the beach, the race site.

The race site was already alive with runners arriving one after another. Took our race number, hung out with friends and prepared ourselves while waiting for the start time of 7pm. And after the lucky draw and briefing, we were let off sharp at 7pm.

With the nutty race director, Ben.

I was feeling good at the start of the run and the all new Saucony Virrata which makes its maiden running mileage is awfully comfortable! And pairing up with my Falke compression socks which both are neon yellow in colour, it sure made the surrounding very "bright"! Feeling so good, that I actually hammer my pace.I took flight and for the first 30KM, I was running below 6 minutes per kilometer pace! I then realised that I was too fast and slowed down eventually.

Setting the pace too early at the first 30KM.

I was getting a bit lonely as it got late. And with my earlier pace which was too fast, I slowed down hoping some friends will catch up. At the 40KM u-turn point, I took a rest there as I chatted away with a Bill Rowan medal finisher at the Comrades Marathon. I think I spent around 15 to 20 minutes sharing our Comrades story before Roy arrived and I took off with him

I've spent the next 20KM with Roy by running and walking with the exception of a long stop after 50KM. We took about 20 minutes break at the main site before resuming together. We had our strategy of walking a certain distance before running again. 

At 55KM, I eventually slowed down after munching in a banana. Caused a little tummy discomfort and slowly but surely, Roy disappeared into the distance. I continued on with the run walk strategy till I hit 70KM in total before taking a long break at the main site. I started yawning and the sleepiness is starting to bother me. As for Roy, out of a sudden, he suddenly felt "awake" and started hammering the distance. Good for him as his monster March is looking exceptionally promising.

At 70KM, I was at the brink of bonking. Sleepiness is taking over Took a long break before deciding to go on for another 5KM. And once I am back with 75KM under my belt, I told the volunteers that I will call it a day. At 12:28 hours, I've completed 75KM (77KM in total base on actual distance). I may not have hit the 87KM distance as planned but I am really happy with my performance this time round for it's my best thus far for the 3 editions I've participated in. Most importantly for me, I ran without any injuries and tested my gears for Comrades Marathon. At least, it now gives me an idea on what to expect from them during the actual race day. The Saucony Virrata performed very well indeed but I am still worried on how the 0mm differential will play a factor at the second half of the Comrades Marathon. A few more strategies will have to be plan for this. As for the Falke compression socks, they were actually good though I guess I will go back to the BV Sport Booster for reason that the compression was better and I will have the option to wear my favourite Drymax socks.

Yours truly conquered 75KM.

Roy was still running and he eventually completed 100KM, being the fastest Malaysian (considering that we have to travel in) to achieve the distance. Lai Ling herself completed 80KM. And so after cleaning ourselves and resting up, together with Bryan Kho, we headed to the airport for lunch before finding a place to doze off. Yes, we doze off at a bar (of course we ordered some drinks), as we had 6 hours of waiting time before our flight. We soon boarded our flight at 7.10pm before arriving safely back home.

Overall, once again my friends at Running Guild organised the Twilight Ultra Challenge to a very satisfactory level. Not only we runners enjoy the run very much, but also the friendship and bond that we all enjoyed together. And it has been proven that outstation runners will need to arrive a day earlier to rest up. And in my case, everything was almost perfect if not for the snoring part. Till the 4th edition!

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