|I am getting so fed up of this posing ...|
I didn't have much to do to get ready seeing as how I decided to go light for the run. With the run being a loop of 5k up and 5k down, with one water stop at the top and the main one at the start, I ditched the hydration vest and opted for the handheld bottle. I sufficed 500ml would get me up to the top, refill and head down again to the main CP.
|The GC Group prior to race start.|
Pic courtesy of Jamie Pang.
The flag off was right on time. We had 12 hours to complete a minimum of 50k to qualify for a trophy and get the finisher tee. The start was slow with the path being narrow. It was mostly a walking start up the inclines which I had no idea how steep they really were cos it was pretty dark. The runners spread out a little along the way and I started running a little, mostly on whatever descents I could find. I was practicing a little caution cos it was dark and I was unfamiliar with the terrain.
|Gulp, gulp, gulp ...|
Pic courtesy of Kelvin Tan.
Arrived at the first CP together with Jamie. I think both our strategies were to keep moving so there was no dilly dallying around. A quick bite of a curry puff, topped up my bottle and headed out back to the trails. Jamie was out a little quicker than me and I played catch up but by then the sky was brightening up and I was able to see just how steep the inclines I negotiated in the dark during the first loop was. My motivation level dropped immediately. 'Damn, I have to do this at least 4 more times!'
|Jason (the tasksmaster), Khairi (who tamed Nuang) and me.|
Pic courtesy of Khairi Muin.
I had on my Skechers GObionic Trail (GBT). It was a bittersweet feeling. Prior to the race, I was toying with the idea of either the GOrun Ultra or the GBT and opted for the GBT cos I wanted more control of the terrain and the GOrun Ultra wouldn't give me that. With the GBT, I had excellent control and traction over the loose and dry trail but the GBT being a minimalist trail shoe, I was taking a pounding from the huge and plentiful rocks along numerous long stretches. Like I said, it was a bittersweet thing.
|How long more is this going to take?|
Pic courtesy of Lina.
Pic courtesy of Tey EngTiong
I was thankful to see the CP at the top finally emerge. Now it was mostly downhill but let me tell you that by this time, with the feet in utter pain, going downhill was as bad as going uphill! The descents while welcomed was painful simply because they were steep. With fresh legs, it was bearable, but with shot up legs, it was hell. I had no choice cos it was the only time when it was possible to run. I shortened my cadence, took really, really small strides and made my way down slowly. Even then, there were time I had to walk downhill.
|With Richi who did a great job.|
Pic courtesy of Richi Lim.
I was a little hungry by then cos I didn't get any breakfast before the run. I was expecting something a little heavier on offer. I checked with Julie but she said I was a little too early for lunch. I grabbed a couple of slices of watermelons and bananas and some Mentos sweets on offer and headed out. I guess a much longer stop for lunch would have to be done at the end of the 4th loop.
|Stealing some of Richi's Success.|
Pic courtesy of Lina.
Lunch in the form of fried rice was ready and I wolfed down a pack, grabbed a few cups of coke, some watermelon and took a 10 minute breather before making my way for the final and last loop. I just wanted to reach the minimum qualification and that was it. I wasn't going to spend an inch further in the trail!
|No! Caught walking again.|
Pic courtesy of Aron Soo.
About three quarters up the skies opened up a little and rain came down. I enjoyed the coolness it brought but was worried about having to run down cos the path would be slippery as hell. I tried to quicken my walk to reach the u-turn so I could make it down before it got too tricky to negotiate. I reached the CP in close to 1 hour 15 minutes, yes I was that slow by then, and headed off almost immediately before the rain got worse.
|I hope no one will see me steal the entire bottle!|
Pic courtesy of Lina.
I was so energized that I was practically yelling at everyone on the way up to 'keep going' and 'good job'. Most of them gave me a thumbs up and a smile but some gave me nasty looks ... hahaha! I would have been pissed too if some idiot was yelling at me to keep going while I was struggling up the climbs.
And finally, after 8 hours 34 minutes (according to my Garmin), I finally completed 50k. The relief and joy was so apparent that I was smiling all the way to pick up my finisher trophy and tee from Jason who was trying his best to prompt me to do another loop. No way was I going to go up there and suffer for another loop but in all honesty, I had ample time to make another loop if I wanted to with 3 hours 25 minutes to spare for the attempt.
|Almost done with the torture.|
Pic courtesy of Jimmy Teh.
Before I end, let me say that the organization was simply first class. A huge thank you goes out to the volunteers on hand who did an incredible job of catering to each and every runner personally. Every time I was back at the CP, they made it a point to personally take my bottle and fill it up for me and offer me whatever food there was before I headed out. First class job, folks. You played a big part in seeing me through this as well.
A thank you also goes out the Subang LYNR group for cheering me on every time I passed their very vocal and supportive cheer location. And finally, to my fellow GC teammates, a damn fine job you all did! But please, the next time you fellows find an ultra to register, don't include me!
|Elevation that tops out at around 503m or so ...|