Monday, March 30, 2015

Twilight Ultra Challenge 2015...

Event: Twilight Ultra Challenge 2015
Venue: East Coast Park, Singapore
Date: 28 March 2015
Time: 7PM
Distance: 10KM per loop (maximum distance in 16 hours)
Shoe: Saucony Zealot ISO
By Frank

The illusive 100KM at Twilight Ultra Challenge (TUC). For 4 years in a row, I've failed to manage that distance. I came close last year managing 90KM throughout the entire 16 hours but was left in a slow recovery state that derailed last year's April training off in the early stages. Therefore, for this fifth edition, despite all the irritating reminders, I went into this run with one aim in mind, to run it as my last long run no matter the distance and time as part of my Comrades training.

It all sets to be a good trip with me staying with Ken this time at the plush hotel at Park Royal, Beach Road courtesy of his company. I flew down via JetStar on Friday morning while Ken was already there a day earlier. Everything went smoothly and I traveled to Novena to meet up with Ken there for lunch before adjourning back to the hotel for rest before dinner at Bugis.

I turned in at midnight after watching Man of Steel and on the comfy bed, I slept through the night and morning too, a total of almost 11 hours! The bed was just too comfy and Ken was kind enough to let me rest through without turning on the lights. Everything seems to be going well for a good night later. We managed to delay our checkout by 2 hours and so it was lunch nearby before hanging out at a Swedish Cafe for coffee and cake. Then it was at the hotel lobby for some last minute preparation before we made ourselves to East Coast Park 2 hours before the start of this year's run.

Race pack collection was the usual smooth process by Ben and his group, Yee Hua, Phil, Yek Bun and Tee Lee. Prepared my run essentials before friends like Junie, Hong Lan, Hong Chew, Carin and some others slowly arrived.

Fellow Malaysians.

Fast forwarding to 7PM, the run started after a 91 seconds moment of silence to remember and respect the late Lee Kuan Yew who recently passed away. At the signal of the start, I let the main group go first. No point in squeezing through with everyone trying to find space as eventually, there will be one as it's after all a 16 hours run.

Once I found my space, I also ran my intended race pace at 6.30 per Kilometer. It was going well with the excellent breezy conditions except for one thing, I didn't had the mood to run. The legs didn't seem to show interest too. And I know that time that this is just one of those days. No matter the feeling, I was determine to carry on running at least at the early stages of the run. And I did just that for the first 2 loops before I started to slow down though not much.

Took in some coffee hoping it will help to boost some mentality and the mood but to no avail. And upon completing the third loop, I was already feeling sleepy. Gulp down the remaining coffee and carried on. There were already some walks in between but it was fine cause after all, walking is part of the training regime too.

Upon completing 4 loops, I was surprised to see Nelly there. She bought some canned coconut juice for the Malaysian runners and we had a chat before I resumed my run. I took a can with me and slowly sip from it. It was certainly refreshing but as I made my turn at the 2.5KM point, my stomach felt uncomfortable as I detoured into the loo. My first big business in 5 years of TUC!

No big damage from the loo visit but I was feeling really sleepy already. Legs despite not wanting to move felt fine though except from the usual soreness. I continued with my run walk strategy till I hit 50KM and it's from here, that together with Hong Lan, we walked together. She needs 1 more loop to complete her intended 50KM and I thought it will be a good idea to walk with her hoping that I can recoup some strength and hopefully mood by catching up with this friends of mine.

We chatted and gossiped throughout the entire 10KM loop and was glad with that, time quickly passed. She stopped upon meeting her intended target while myself, drank my final can of caffeine, Red Bull hoping that it will help kick start me. And while it didn't help at all, I still managed to complete my 7th loop and thus made some calculation myself here. I needed half a loop more to complete a 100KM weekly mileage, which so far I am hitting throughout the month of March. And thus, I went for it.

And after 11.28 hours, I finally managed to complete 75KM and that was where I decided to call it a night. Not my best performance at TUC but I will take it with arms wide open. After all, it has been a tough month of March and what important is, I stood with my training regime and not getting injured in the process.

Enough for me.

It was a little too cold for me to have my shower and hence I took in some hot food and beverage while waiting for day to break. Hong Lan too awoke from her sleep and we accompanied each other while cheering for our friends who are still out there like Ken, Hong Chew, Phang and Poh Chye. I managed to shower up shortly later and just hung out till the event ended with the sky opening up. The record was broken too with 160KM coming from the champion. Amazing run!

Myself and Ken was the last among the runners to leave the run site as the rain came down furiously and we couldn't get a taxi. But in the, we still managed after the rain came to a halt and with 4 hours to spare, we hung out and rested at Changi Airport while waiting for our flight at 6PM which was delayed almost an hour. 

Anyway, yet another successful TUC by the team at Running Guild. Good job guys! Despite feeling a little bored of it already after 5 years of participation in it, I will still return for the sixth edition next year, that's if everything still goes well for me. It's no longer about the distance in this 16 hours of run, but rather as a gesture of supporting a friend's event, my Comrades training and also an annual meet up with my Singaporean running mates.

* All photos here credited to the respective photographers. Thank you.

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