Sunday, August 22, 2010

Eight Four Kay - Lap 1

To cut the long story short, took the courage to sign up for the Sundown Ultra 2010 sometime in Oct/Nov 2009. I know wats in it for me but this will probably be one of the achivements that will be cast and stoned in my life chart. So wat the heck, go train for it I told myself. So training start way back in Nov/Dec 2010 and I have a few marathons that were lined up till race day as my preparation. The marathons are

1) StanChart HK Marathon 2010
2) Putrajaya Nite Marathon 2010
3) Energizer Nite Race 2010

And then to wrap up my final training with a 40k run that will be the prelude to race day. I must said there are lots of ups and downs throughout the training where at one time, i almost give up training for the event due to an old injury on my back shoulder that was acting up. With more rest and encouragement from fellow runners, the injury sort of subside and turn for the better.

And so my journey towards south finally came. Boarded Tiger Airways and arrived safely in Singapore where I will be staying at the Changi Village Hotel. A little bit pricey but thats the nearest hotel to race site. The reason for choosing this hotel is basically to travel back to hotel at the shortest time after the race and have maximum rest. PERIOD.

Come race day 29th May 2010, where the race will start from The Changi Aviation Exhibition Centre at 7pm, so have to depart from hotel to race site at around 5pm. Food before race was some buns and a bottle of electrolytes. Once at race site, met up with my friends from Singapore and Malaysia, as well as a group from Taiwan (which are Gege Tey's good friend) In this group, there is a unique runner that will be running backwards for the entire ultra. His name is Hsueh Ching-kuang aka BackMan Tony.

A picture taken with Backman Tony

Group photo with Taiwan gang

With Dr Pui San

Didnt expect too much out of the race except that I can complete it within the qualifying time will be an achievement. Not much pressure on my side but only doubt was dont know wat to expect in the race. To ease that tension I keep chatting with all the running friends around me. As the clock ticks closer to 7pm, the atmosphere is getting more hype up with the race MC giving encouragement and motivation to all the runners.

A group photo of Malaysia and Singapore runners

Its 7pm and gun off. Everyone sent their GOOD LUCK wishes and off we go. I was running very slowly, almost 9min pace as there is nothing to rush. My plan was to run ard 6k and then walk 1k in the very beginning just to conserve energy. This continue until the 6k mark where I bumped into Jeff Ooi. We continue to run together and our run was stretch up to abt 7k to 8k before stopping for a walk break of 1K. Along the way, we also bumped into Weng and wife where husband & wife is attempting the ultra.

Pacing with Jeff Ooi

At the 15k/16k mark where we are along East Coat Park which is full with activities, Jeff Ooi seems to struggle abit and dropping off away from me. I continue to gallop on with the same technic of run/walk strategy and this give me a great running momentum althoiugh its not fast but I knew its helping me to conserve energy for the 2nd lap which can be very torturing due to tiredness, low in energy and sleepiness!!!

As I was approaching the U-turn where the 21k mark is, I saw Amelia together with Terence Poon Gang, Mohan and Dr Pui San. Wow they are fast and is at least 2k away from me. I must be running darn slow with my run/walk regime. Never mind I told myself.....I will try to catch up.

And soon I reached the 21k mark.....sigh!!! At this mark, I am feeling very fresh, doesnt seems to have any fatigue and tiredness creaping into the body and legs. The Run/Walk regime seems to be working so far. I continued to run at a very easy pace and eventually saw Jeff Ooi coming on the opposite end. Told him the 21k mark is about 1k away. Then I bumped into Gary (from Terence Poon group) which had dropped of and running slowly. Walk with him for a while and chat along. Starting to enjoy the run and atmosphere whereby you see some familiar faces, stop by and had a chit-chat while walking or running. After awhile I moved on leaving him behind to savour the calm nite.

From the 25k mark onwards, I was mostly running alone and to calm myself down, I pray to Guan Yi Ma for a safe race. I saw sis Haza and Cheang at certain point and yelled out to them, not sure if both ofthem heard me. Soon the 30k mark come into sight and it was a blessing. Until this point I am still adopting the run/walk regime but with a shorter run cutting down to 5k and a 1k walk.

At this point, it will be a very straight road leading back to the Start/Finsih area. At about 32k mark, I caught up with Backman Tony. It was very easy to chat with him as he was running backwards with his front facing me. We paced together for the next 6k to 7k before he moves on. His pace is very fast eventhough running backwards. I have to slow down abit to reserve energy and not get caught into pacing with him although I have no problem doing that.

Reaching the 40k mark and from afar I thot I saw Dr Pui San and Mohan pacing together to complete Lap 1. I increase my pace abit and caught up, and indeed it was both of them. The sifu is guiding his pupil to complete this ultra. Mohan slowed down and said he wanted to rest for a while, and got me to pace with Dr Pui San. We ran together for the last 2k and stright got into the Pit Stop prepared for the runners. Time to complete Lap 1 was 5.47, not bad.

Hit the pit stop immediately and already saw familiar faces resting around. Terence Poon group was already there, Chap Ayam group was there too (likes of Zul Hassan, Hailmi, etc). Went to collect my stuff and first thing was to gulp down a bottle of water. Next is to munch down 2 soft buns just to fill up my stomach eventhough I am not hungry at all. This will at least give me some energy in Lap 2. After all these chores the next most important thing was to lubricate my body again with SportShield to prevent any chafing and change to a new pair of shoe. All these was done in a spate of 15 to 20mins and I was out of the pit stop getting ready for Lap 2. Terence was like a mother hen chasing his group out as he doesnt want them to rest too long and allow the body to get cold.

I started Lap 2 with Dr Pui San ........

Note: Pix courtesy from Lynette, Pui San, Gege Tey & Weng

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