Saturday, November 23, 2013

Putrajaya 50K: Run Report

The moment I got out of the car at the Taman Seri Empangan for the Putrajaya 50K, I had an inkling it was bound to be a hot day. The skies were brutally clear even for that early in the morning. Just how hot it was going to be was something I wasn't expecting.

The Putrajaya 50K, organized by the PACAT Adventure Team is a very small, niche event that's not a race but mainly an LSD around Putrajaya. Only a limited number of participants were allowed for control and safety reason. It was more of a fun gathering of people who enjoy running long distances.

The run was to be flagged off at 7am, something that I was grateful for cos that meant I didn't have to wake up at an ungodly hour. The run location was just a half hour drive away from my place. I had my gear and fueling all sorted out only the night before. Reached the run gathering point around 6.30am and the crowd slowly started coming in.

The staging point
The who's who of ultra running in Malaysia were present, the likes of Shine Teh, Jeff Ooi, Razif, Yimster, well just about everyone except me. I was the official noob among them. Upon checking in I inquired with Zinov on whether it was advisable to bring my rain jacket and he said it probably won't rain so I chucked the jacket bag in the car freeing up a lot of space in my hydration vest which was already full with loads of stuff. While the run would have support in terms of water, food and stuff, I was planning to be totally self sustainable, just in case, hence the packed vest.

The run was flagged off by Arman sharp on the dot and off we went. Seeing as how this was my first 50k attempt, I didn't really have a plan or strategy. We all need to start a benchmark somewhere, right? The start required us to head up a long flight of stairs and I knew this was going to be a problem during the finish. Started off at a reasonable pace. The first part of the run was on familiar ground so nothing much untoward to report.

Before the flag off.
Pic courtesy of Marlina
Was a little concerned though just after the PICC junction cos I wasn't running as efficiently. Something just wasn't clicking. Kept on going and came to the first water station, manned by Arman. Even though it was only around 8 plus in the morning, the sun was already posing a problem. Filled up my bottle and headed off towards the second part of the run (I broke the run into 5 parts). Like I said, the sun even at 8am in the morning was already blistering.

It was around the 13k point when I decided to stop and whip out my arm sleeves, shades and 'kamikaze' cap to get ready for the onslaught of the sun. It was just after this when I hit the motorcycle lane part of the run, one which was simply grueling (for me anyway) and one that almost had me calling it quits! This part was boring, shadeless, hot and absolutely mental.

Just before the first water station.
Pic courtesy of Marlina
For practically the entire race I was running on my own, no one in front of me and no one behind me save for the times when the front runners did their u-turns at the 25km mark and were heading back. Not a good sight to see people heading back while you still had a ways to go before even hitting the u-turn. This was really a mental torture for me. The sun was out in all its blazing glory. I could feel the burn even through my arm sleeves.

This was when I really missed the company I always have during my runs. With Jamie still recovering from illness and Kew opting out, I was basically all on my own and it really made a difference, in a bad way. The only company I had urging me on was the wife's constant text messages telling me to keep going and that she had faith I could pull this off. If it wasn't for her, I would really have just DNF'ed the run, especially around the 25k mark when the cramps hit me like a sledgehammer on my right leg.

The only fans I had cheering me on ...
The cramps were a surprise cos I was hydrating and fueling right on schedule. I had on me Anti-Fatigue Caps, Endurance Aminos, Endurolytes, Perpetuem, gels and isotonics in my bottle with a 1.5L bladder full of water. I was taking them as planned but the cramps still hit. Somewhere through the pain it dawned on me that though I had planned my hydration and fueling needs accordingly, I hadn't planned on the sun sapping my energy at a much faster rate than my fueling could handle. I need to re-evaluate all my hydration and fueling for running under the blistering sun after this.

As I said, the cramps hit me bad. I was reduced to a crawl after the 25k water station. It was so bad that I asked Zul who was manning the 25k station to give me a lift back to the start. He told me to hang on as he had to head back to the 20k, (now 30k after the u-turn) water station and would be back to pick me up but not before spraying my leg with a healthy dose of Salonpas spray. The spray helped heaps cos by the time he came back I was up and running, albeit slowly, again. Told him I'm going to carry on with the run.

The long and devoid of shade motorcycle lane stretch.
Made my way slowly towards the 30k station and took a 10 minute breather there. Gobbled down a couple of watermelons, bananas, sandwiches and topped up my fluids but not before getting a nice ice-cool hose down by Zinov. The sun was blistering by then as it was fast approaching noon. I wasn't looking forward to the trek back on the same reverse leg of the boring, shadeless motorcycle lane again.

My mind was weighing heavily to just call it quits, after all, there wasn't any shame in quitting, right? I think the wife could sense my desperation cos just then, I received a text from her telling me in no uncertain terms was I to take the easy way out. She was rooting for me. That got me going again at a snails pace. The sun and loneliness was getting to me and I was talking to myself to keep me going.

The harsh shadow cast by the unrelenting sun ...
By the time I passed the chicken exit, which was damn tempting mind you, I was resorting to more walking than running. The cramps were coming on and off again and I was sipping water at a more regular interval now. Reached the last water station just before PICC which was unmanned but still had loads of ice cold drinks available. Topped up my fluids, sponged myself down and braced myself to face the final onslaught of the busy prescint 2 and final section.

At this point, every single muscle in my legs were twitching like crazy and the possibilities of totally cramping on both legs were very real. I was walking at 9 minute pace at this point but had to switch to a 12-13 minutes walk pace to nurse the legs back to the finish. Now, those stairs that we had to negotiate at the start was going to be a killer to walk down with legs like these. I reached the stairs, looked at the skies, prayed and crab walked down those stairs one at a time. It took ages and then it was just a 200m to the finish and the end of this misery.

My 'finisher tee' ...
I did it. I suffered practically half the way but I didn't quit. I take away a lot from this experience. Running longer distances is not easy. It's a progressive thing. A lot of training is needed. I'm far from ready to run a real ultra and I recognize my shortcomings. I'm re-evaluating a lot of things concerning longer distances from now on. A lot of factors need to be looked into. I take this as an invaluable experience and will work on this and improve myself for my next challenge. I'm nowhere near being in an ultra class category but with lots of hard work and loads and loads of training, maybe one day I will be.

Before I end, a big congrats goes out to the PACAT Adventure Team for setting up this very well organized no frills event. Everyone was simply supportive and the camaraderie is something that cannot be put into words. Good job guys and I'm already looking forward to your 12 hour challenge next year. Yes Kew, I'm unremorseful ... LOL!

Footnote: I wore the Skechers GOrun 3 as my choice of shoe and it came away just fine handling the distance with no blisters nor hotspots. A highly recommended shoe for long distance running.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Fifty Under The Sun

The weather this morning was simply beautiful for running. The rains the past couple of days shrouded the place (well, my place anyway) with a layer of mist and running whilst shrouded by mist all around you simply puts you in a dreamlike state. Which probably explains why I wanted to pull the covers over my head and sleep the cool and cozy morning away.

It does't help when the wife is tucked dreamily under the sheets sleeping and my dog jumps on the bed and plants herself between the wife and me under the sheets and continues snoozing away. That's when all my lazy genes in me just cries out 'to hell with your run, just sleep in la!'. But it's a good thing the wife woke up and kicked my lazy butt out of bed cos otherwise I would have really missed the beautiful running weather outside.

In about 3 days time I'll be attempting the Putrajaya 50km (P50K), an unofficial, small scale run. Organized by the Pacat Adventure Team, a bunch of hardcore ultra fellows to give ultra wannabe pretenders like me a chance to feel the torture of a 50k run around the very hot, humid and almost devoid of shade Putrajaya area. Which is why I'm praying for weather like this morning.


The run starts at 7am and ends at 4pm and the temperatures would start soaring way before noon. I'll probably finish the run looking darker than a golliwog! While this run isn't really a race, it's more of a self-sustaining LSD, albeit with water and aid stations, there still is a cutoff time of 9 hours attached to it. If you're not back by then, you'll be shamefully picked up and dumped back at the finish and made to squat in an open field and have insults and rotten eggs hurled at you by these hardcore ultra fellows and then made to sweep a one kilometer stretch of Putrajaya on your own.

Okay, maybe I made that last part up but the 9 hour cutoff time is true. My training hasn't really stopped since the Standard Chartered KL Marathon, in fact I've upped the weekly mileage quite a bit but even then I'm not really too sure if I have what it takes for the P50K. I'm going to be doing this on my own without the company of two people I look up to and it's going to be a mental thing all through the 50K, that is if I don't take the chicken exit, catered for ... urmmm ... chickens who can't hack it. Yes, they really do have a 'chicken exit' along the route.

A lot of preparation need to be done for the P50K and I haven't even got down to doing anything yet. I've yet to study the route, in fact I have no idea what the route is like save for a few sections. I don't know where we'll be running and it's important to actually be familiar with the route cos the number of people running this is very low, this being a limited number of participants event and there'll probably be times when I'm unable to follow these runners and be on my own. Not knowing the route is not an option. I don't want to end up in Sabak Bernam or something.

My gear, hydration and fueling needs still need to be looked into as I'm using this event to gauge what I would need for next's years TITI 50K road race, yes I've signed up for another equally grueling 50k next year. That's probably even worse but we'll leave that for another blog post. Maybe I should just stick to 10k races, so much less things to prepare.

Next year's race calendar has more or less been planned, the main ones anyway. I don't intend to take part in many races next year cos the ones I'm targeting are already going to cost a lot just to take part in. I can't afford to be running every single race that crops up. A lot more emphasis will be put on training and really, really long runs on both the roads and trails. I'm just hoping no downtime (or at least not too much anyway) from injuries or sickness will arise to ruin my plans.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Skechers GOrun 3: Initial Review

I first got wind of the Skechers GOrun 3 was while surfing and came across a tweet from Madi Serpico (a Canadian Skechers sponsored triathlete) and her pair of Skechers GOrun 3. That got me excited, then again, just about anything running related gets me excited! From the look of the shoe, which was in vibrant pink, it looked pretty interesting. A few quick text exchanges with Skechers Malaysia and I found out that it'll only arrive on our shores late December/Early January.

The Skechers GOrun was what got me started with the Skechers brand of running shoes. So, a third edition of the shoe really excited me but the thought of having to wait till year end before I could get a feel of it dulled the excitement quite a bit. Which was why I was as giddy as a school boy out on date when I got a text from Skechers Malaysia saying that they've got a pair waiting at their office for me to wear-test. I wasn't expecting to test the shoe that early but I wasn't complaining and headed right over to pick up the shoe.

The Skechers GOrun 3
The original Skechers GOrun was launched here way back in March of 2012. The GOrun has gone through two iterations with this being the third in the series. The GOrun 3 (GR3) is the next generation of running shoes from Skechers and is made in the same mould as the previous two in a sense that it is designed for speed and still promotes the midfoot strike technology.

The shoe I have for wear testing came in the blue/green color scheme and while it looks a little bulky outright, it's still surprisingly light though a little heavier than the GOrun 2 weighing in at 7 oz for the men's size 9 compared to the GR2's 6.6 oz. The flexibility of the shoe still remains and you can squish, twist, pull, bend or squeeze it any which way with ease.

Still as flexible ...
Now, I'm not too sure as there is really very limited literature for the shoe, both online and on hardcopy but the stack height of the shoe looks to be a little higher than the GR2. The GOrun 3 comes stock standard without the insole (the insole comes separate as a custom fit 2-in-1 option) and actually caused some confusion for me.

The shoe is promoted as a 4mm drop shoe and I reckoned that was without the insole cos upon slotting the insole in, the GR3 seems higher as if it had a 6mm drop. But I was still not happy with  that assumption. I felt something was not right. I shot Skechers USA an email (which was also confirmed by Skechers Malaysia) about the specifications of the shoe. The reply was kinda surprising cos the shoe is a 4mm drop WITH the insole and without the insole, you get a slightly lower drop shoe, not zero drop, just lower.

Note the slightly taller look ...
Ok, that put my mind to ease, well kinda anyway. So, the shoe is a 4mm drop minimalist shoe with the insole on, which by the way is pretty cushy. In fact I felt it was way cushier than the GR2. Taking the insole out gave it more ground feel and if you're like me, who loves more ground feel, then I'm betting you'll be running without the insole most of the time. Even without the cushy insole, there was still just enough protection for your feet that you could take it for a long run with no issues.

The Skechers GOrun 3 retains the same proprietary lightweight Resalyte™ injection molded midsole with memory retention that assists with impact absorption, albeit with some 'splashed dots' (for want of a better word) pattern imprinted upon it. Nice touch if you ask me. The independent circular GOimpulse sensors offer the same flexibility and feedback for a more responsive running experience as before with no changes at all to the position or number of pods. Not a lot has changed construction wise for the outsole, after all, why change a good thing, right?

The same circular pods is retained ... dog in background not included with shoe.
The upper on the other hand has been worked on and improved from the previous edition of the shoe. What we have now is an even more breathable upper with an extremely flexible Power-prene mesh for forefoot support and toe splaying. I found the previous GOrun 2 to be a narrow shoe but this time around, the GOrun3 seems to offer a wider fit. It feels much roomier upfront, giving your toes a lot of extra space to spread, grip and toe off.

The nice flexible toebox ...
The breathability of the upper was simply awesome with improved air-circulation and I hardly felt any hotspots at all during the two short and two long runs I did in it. The Power-prene mesh is so flexible and non-restrictive that you could wiggle your toes with ease, which is something that I like a lot seeing as how the Nite Owl™ seem to be a little restrictive on my toes during the longer distanced runs.

This time around, the heel counter has been given some tweaking making it a little more sturdier than the previous version. The added material with the Skechers logo that has been stitched on the heel cup seems to hold the heel in place nicely though it's still 'soft' in terms of flexibility. On a personal level though I still prefer the soft heel counter of the original Skechers GOrun.

The stiffer heel counter ...
Another change to the GR3 I found very welcomed was on the tongue of the shoe. The two previous editions of the GOrun sported thicker tongues but this time around, the tongue is way thinner ala the GObionic which helps to keep the shoe light weight. In addition to that, the thinner tongue helps keep the shoe cooler and retains practically no water or sweat and for someone like me who sweats buckets, that's a good thing. The tongue is also stitched on to the shoe to keep it from moving around as you run and helps keep annoying pebbles from sneaking in your shoe. The lacing is the same ribbon type as the GR2.

The thinner tongue and I have no idea what that dog is doing in the background ...
The flatlock stitching gives the interior of the shoe a smooth seamless feel, making it sockless running capable or at least I think so cos I don't run sockless. I'm sure those of you that run sockless might appreciate the smooth inner fabric feel of the shoe.

As mentioned earlier, the shoe can be worn either with or without the insoles. The custom fit insole comes packed separately and feels a little thicker than the GR2's insole. Removing the insole definitely gives the shoe a lower drop with a lot more ground feel and makes the GR3 a lot more roomier too. Four reflective markings, two on the front and two on the back completes the shoe.

The 'splashed dots' pattern ...
I've currently ran in the shoe for over 50k both with and without the insole and both options didn't pose any problems in my run. Personally I prefer ground feel so my preferred option would be without the insole. The GR3 were extremely light weight (despite looking rather thick) with adequate protection and is just perfect as a transitional shoe to foster a barefoot running experience.

The separate insole ...
The most important thing that I noticed about the shoe during all my runs was that I didn't even notice it on my feet. I thought the GR2 was a big improvement from the original GOrun, this one simply hammers both of them flat. I'm simply loving the shoe and will use it to serve as my training shoe for longer runs cos it's so easy and forgiving on the feet. I'm going to give it its baptism of fire during next week's Putrajaya 50K ultra and I'm sure it'll come through just fine though I can't say the same for its owner!

One negative aspect of the shoe I noticed is that it tends to discolor and stain my socks around the top of the foot. I've experienced this discoloration issue with the GObionic as well and suspect it has something to do with the construction and dyeing of the thinner tongue. I sweat a heck of a lot on my longer runs and most times my shoes get the brunt of the dripping sweat and once I remove them, the socks are totally stained. The picture below shows what the GR3 did to my white socks after a 20k run in it.

Notice the square like stains and blueish patches of the discoloration on my socks ...
I don't know if it's just my pair or if it happens across the board but like I said above, it probably has something to do with the thinner tongue fabric. It doesn't affect my performance in any way but it doesn't help with my white socks though. The wife always gives me the eye and asks me if I've been playing in dirt with my socks on every time she does the laundry ... LOL! Well, at least now I've got a reason to go sock hunting.

The three generations of Skechers GOrun ...
The Skechers GOrun 3 comes in 3 color schemes at the moment, the NYC Marathon edition, blue/green and black/red. It's currently not available in these parts of the woods just yet and will see it launched somewhere around December. The Skechers GOrun 3 will be priced at RM399 for the men's and RM369 for the women's version.

Note: The pair of Skechers GOrun 3 used for this review were kindly provided by Skechers Malaysia for wear testing purposes. This review is based on my own personal experience with the shoe and is in no way influenced by Skechers Malaysia whatsoever.


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Salomon X-Trail Run 2013: Race Report

It was perfect weather this morning with the stage being set up for a nice, wet, muddy and dirty Salomon X-trail race in the trails of MAEPS (Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang). And it would have been a nice run too if not for the totally under-distanced race.

The skies opened up around 4.30am with strong winds and heavy raindrops pelting our roof. The wife and me were contemplating whether to go or not but we both agreed that it was still two hours to race start and it would stop by then. I instantly checked the weather updates from the rest of the gang who were reporting the same rains in their area. We're much better than AccuWeather, mind you ... LOL!

This run was a stress free run for me. I didn't have the usual competitive must-run-fast-like-a-jungle-man thoughts this time around. I was just coming back from illness and wasn't at my best yet. My plan was to just take it as a training run. I was more excited for the wife, who was running her first trail race.


We reached the race location slightly over 6am and saw Jamie walking to the start location. The rains had already stopped by then with a very light diminishing drizzle. Got race prepped and headed to the start area to meet up with Jamie and the rest of the gang. The crowd were slowly filtering in one by one but I think a lot didn't turn up or headed over the many numerous other races in town. It was said that entry was capped at 2,500 slots that were all taken up but judging from what I saw, it didn't reach anywhere near that amount. I could be wrong though.

The men were to be flagged off first. Jamie and me made our way to the back of the start area with the rest of the GC guys abandoning us and heading straight to the front. Obviously their strategy was based on a speed run. I wasn't sure what Jamie's plan was but mine was to go easy. I had on my Skechers GObionic Trail, giving it its first taste of an actual trail race.

The horn blared indicating flag off and off we went, at a snails pace for the first kilometer anyway. The route was a little narrow and since we were way behind, there was a horde of runners to start overtaking. No rush, since it was a 10k trail (or so I thought at that time), conserve the energy and pace for the later stages.

The road stage was short and we hit the trails and the first incline which was pretty steep. Kept to smaller and constant strides and managed to easily tackle that first incline. It was long, steep but doable. The Skechers GObionic Trail worked really well, gripping the terrain with hardly any slippage safe for a loose rock or two. It gave added confidence for me to bolt down the downhill stretches.


The pace increased on the flat sections and by the time I hit the second incline, the recent bout of illness was beginning to hamper my performance. Stopped at the second water station, took two cups of water, decided to run/walk that section of the incline. Jamie pulled off ahead, still running strong. I knew I wouldn't be able to keep pace with him anymore and decided to just keep him in my sights as an indicator for me to keep going.

By this time, the first male runner was looping back to the finish with breakneck speed down the slopes ahead. That section of the race was tough for me. I couldn't walk too much cos then I would lose sight of Jamie but the inclines were also pretty steep. Heard my name being called out and saw that it was Eugene. Chatted for a bit and got down to the business at hand which was trudging up the blasted hill.

Caught up with Andrew at the top summit and both of us ran down the rest of the way. At the junction of the incline, the women who were flagged off 15 minutes later were already making their way up and my strategy changed to 'make sure no woman overtakes you' mode ... hahaha! By then it was around the 5k or 6k mark and I was getting into a more comfortable pace to face the rest of the 4k left.


Boy, was I in for a surprise. By then we hit the road and I was a little puzzled cos from a route recce report I read a week or so back, by the time you hit the final tarmac section, it was close to the finish line. I upped the pace and tried to reel in Jamie who was a distance away but still in sight. Sorry Jamie, I used you as bait in the second half of the race today ... LOL!

Then when I heard music blaring and a volunteer told me the finish was just down the road, I thought my Garmin was going bonkers cos it was only showing 7km and the Start/Finish gantry was already in sight. What happened to the 3k? I crossed the line and clocked in at 45 minutes, not great but decent enough for me considering the illness.

Picked up my medal and true enough, after checking with the guys, we all showed similar distances and it was only then I found out that they changed the route at the last minute cos of the rain. I guess I never heard the announcement prior to race start. The reason was for safety cos the route was slippery or something along those lines but personally I would have preferred if they stuck to the actual route, slippery or not cos it would have given me more opportunity to blood the GObionic Trail but I guess safety above all else.

Picked up my goody bag and medal and caught up with the rest of the gang while waiting for the wife. The gang went off in search of breakfast somewhere while I waited for the wife who came in shortly. For her first trail race, I must say she did extremely well considering the terrain she had to go through. Good on you, babe!


Overall, I'm a little disappointed for the under-distanced race though I know it was done for safety concerns. It was such a beautiful morning to be outdoors and 7k simply doesn't do justice to the weather. Looks like I"ll have to squeeze in another run this evening just to get in the mileage I missed cos of my illness this week.

The Skechers GObionic though, worked way better than its owner simply proving itself in wet trail racing conditions. The grip was exceptional on the slopes and downward stretches. Like I mentioned earlier, hardly any slippage. No pebbles or debris got lodged under the soles and running through mud didn't hinder it in anyway. I'd give it six thumbs up if I had six thumbs to give.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

2XU Compression Run 2013: Race Report

I signed up for this race way back during the StandChart expo. Back then I was looking forward to running this cos I've only run one other 15k race in my entire life, yes, pathetic I know. This seemed like a good choice for a second try.

Due to the haze and postponement of the SCKLM, this race was also re-scheduled to this weekend from an earlier planned date. Back then not much info was forthcoming such as the all important route for the run. But then, how hard could a 15k be, right? Especially one starting in Padang Merbuk. Boy, how wrong I was.

The route info was only released a few days prior to the race which I thought was seriously unprofessional of them. Sounds petty I know but I like to analyze my race route and plan my strategy accordingly and please don't tell me to expect the unexpected. So with the route info only being released 3 days or so prior to the race, I decided to just treat this run as part of a training run. No expectations, no goals, no nothing.

My dog decides that a sexier pose is needed this time around ...
Arman did give a little warning a week earlier that it was going to be hell, so a day prior to race day, the wife and me took a drive along the race route and what I saw had me wanting to cry. I used to curse Ammah hill but not anymore. The incline that I was looking at around the 8k mark seemed to reach the heavens with no respite. The other inclines littering the rest of the route was no slouch either. It was going to be hell, that much was guaranteed.

Come race day, the weather was simply awesome with heavy rain just before the start which saw the start being delayed by 10 minutes. Any other day, I would have used the weather to my advantage and put pedal to the metal but not today. I was going to stick to my plan of a training run. I just didn't have the heart or energy to attack those monstrous hills awaiting me.

Started the race with the usual suspects from the GCAM Alumni, Choon Yuen, Kew, Piew, Yan Leng, Zane and YeeHoo. The guys and lone girl decided to take off on a faster paced start. I hung back and ran with Choon Yuen, who was nursing an injury. Like I said, I didn't have a target or goal. The only thing I wanted was to finish, head back home and sleep!

The scenery at the top of the second crazy incline.
Pic courtesy of the wife.
Both CY and me trotted ahead at an easy pace chit-chatting and making fun of people as we ran. Ok, ok, we were a little evil in that way but heck, I'm sure there were people making fun of us, so it's only fair, right? LOL! The weather was simply divine for running and we were pretty familiar with the first half of the route.

Skipped the first two water stations, wasn't thirsty at all cos of the cool weather. The first two inclines, the KTM station and the long stretch after that was easily tackled. Stopped at the 3rd station to get a quick sip before hitting the third incline just before the reverse double hills. Around this point, CY told me to go on ahead cos his injury was flaring up.

Was sad to lose the good company but I went ahead on my own. I upped the pace and thought of trying to catch up with the rest of the GCAM guys and gal but they were on a blistering pace today. No sign of them up ahead and I decided to tone back the speed, save the legs for the crazy inclines which were looming just a kilometer away.

I had a little spat with the guy manning the water-station just before the Jalan Duta stretch who was scolding runners and telling them not to pick up the cups of water which had me sarcastically telling him to just close shop and go home instead. A few other runners told him off too, some in not so nice words, which I thought he totally deserved.

Anyways, the crazy first incline leading to the heavens turned up and I ran up as much as I could, which was about halfway and walked the other half to the top. Then it was thankfully downhill but another incline was just around the corner. This one was manageable and I ran up all the way, which was where I met YeeHoo and then Andrew soon after.

Just at the top of this incline came a warning to lookout for steep down slope, which was actually really steep! Trudged downhill real slow cos it was wet and slippery and rolling down this hill wasn't an option. Just about 300 meters from the foot of this down slope came another killer incline with one kilometer up and another kilometer down. This was made worse cos it was a u-turn and seeing others run down while you were suffering was not a good thing. I managed to run up almost all the way but had to stop to walk up towards the top.

Pic courtesy of the wife ...
Took a sip of water at the water station there and seeing that I was surprisingly still fresh albeit a little out of breath was my cue to ramp up the pace. So it was a sprint downhill and all the way to the finish which saw me hitting a 4:30 - 4:45 pace for the final 3K. Even then, I still couldn't catch up with the GCAM fellows, so you can imagine how fast they were running today. Kudos to all of them! Everyone of them has improved tremendously.

I crossed the finish in a respectable 1:38 (to me anyway) to cap a satisfactory run for only my second ever 15K race, though no PB for it cos the first one was done a lot faster than this one. Caught up with the gang for our usual after race banter while waiting for the rest to arrive and also for the wife who was still gamely slogging it out on the route finishing her run.

Would I run this crazy route again? Nope but then, ask me again in a week or so and I just might say yes ... LOL! As much as I hate this route, I just might agree to getting Jamie to plan a training run session here again one day!

Aside from the water-station incident I thought it was a well organized event. The medal looks cool and is one of the better medals I got this year. Hope to see this around again next year cos as much as I bitched about route, I did enjoy the early morning run along with the rest of the equally insane bunch of runners who wake up at ungodly hours, look for very limited parking and run in the cold early morning rains.

Now to go de-stress with a nice long run along my now favourite Ammah hills this Tuesday :D