Sunday, March 9, 2014

TITI 50 - FELT LIKE A NEVERENDING JOURNEY... @..@

#PrayForMH370 
Hi there, welcome back to my humble dusty blog... Before that, my heart, thoughts and prayers go out to all the families and friends of the passengers and crew of MH370 who was still missing till now. Stay strong and never lose your faith ya..  I would like to share my not so recent anymore TITI 50 Race Report with you guys, ladies and gentlemen out there, especially to my fellow followers and silent readers.

Running the route is believing! 
Yeah, I know, some people might call me crazy or insane, jenis x sayang kaki for committing a "suicide" by registering this race, which was co-incidentally happened a week after TNF 100 Thailand. It was my maiden 50KM Road Race too. Who could resist the urge to sign up and run at the most lovely magnificent slopes along Batu 14 Hulu Langat towards Genting Peres, Jelebu? Although by looking at the elevation profile alone it really gave cold shivers down my spine but the I was confident enough I could make it within the 9 hours cut off time. I wanted to gauge my endurance and mental strength by running this 50km Road Race. I do had faith in myself.

Fast forward to the race day itself, I attended Abang Din's running clinic on the Saturday morning. It was my first ever running clinic after being running religiously for almost 3 years now. We ran around Titiwangsa Lake for about 3 km.  Mr. Rashid, Ms. Izwah and I learned a lot on how to do a proper stretching up and cooling down exercises. I need to practise doing all these more often since I barely do proper stretching before and cooling down after any run lately. Met Redz and Azlan too during the session.After that I went back and I had my hearty breakfast. I took a power nap after I had my simple lunch. I tried to avoid any spicy, too fatty or oily food as I did not want to run on an upset tummy. Glad I had that nap on the evening, or else I might be experiencing a sleepy Zombie mode during the run.

Reached Riverview Thai Seafood Restaurant circa 10.30 pm. Did not have any trouble finding this venue because I've saved the location once my 100km running buddies checked in on FB. Went to the loo for my No. 2 business first before I started applying the Vaseline all over the chaffing prone areas. After reporting to the organizer, I pinned my bib number which I took from Sis GAI. Thanks Sis for the trouble... =D

Group photo to ease the jitters. Thanks to RayZeef for coming and your continuous support ya! 
Ultra Gai and Eizam In The Making... =D
With a reknowned Tri Doc Shah... Congratulations on your Ultra finisher doc! 
After the simple briefing at 11.10 pm, the 50km runner were asked to go into the starting pen by 11.30 pm. Exactly by 12 midnight, we were being flagged/honked off. Earlier on, I agreed to run along Sis Gai for this race, to be her pacer/companion/bodyguard since it was quite unsafe for a lady to run up the slope alone in the dark. The first 3km was practically flat route. Once we hit the 4 KM, we started to run uphill. At first I thought it was merely a 1 km of uphill climb only. I was dead wrong. We decided to power walk ourselves on the neverending 4km incline and tried to run whenever we felt the road was slightly flat-ish. Our strategy worked like a charm and once we reached at the top, off we went downhill at our top speed. The breeze was cooling indeed. The 3km++ downhill part was pretty steep.

Pacing this strong Iron Lady GAI half way through.... It's an honour, Sis! =D
I was relieved to reach the CP 1 (9.9 KM) at the t-junction. It was like a fiesta with a buffet spread consisted of some sandwiches, watermelons, jelly beans, OREOs, biscuits, candies and isotonic drinks like Revive and 100Plus, Coke Cola and drinking water. The Girl Scout was very helpful by filling in my water bottle with cold water. After refilling my water bottle here and went to the loo for No. 1 biz, off we went to the next CP 2. After 11 km, I felt a muscle pull at the back of my right knee. Decided to slow down and exchange my left knee strap to my right knee then. It was the wisest decision to ease the pain at that moment. Running alone in the dark evenhough with my headlamp on was still creepy. After 5.5 km or so, I reached CP 2 for a refill and ate some slices of sweet cold oranges. Yumm! It jolted my senses to stay awake and energetic. Little did I know of what I would be expecting on the upcoming route.

The Crazy Elevation... Gulped! 
It was the second neverending uphill climb again. This time it was more undulating spiral way up. From there on, it was up, up, and away. Luckily the gradient increased gradually and it was still dark to see. Else I will definitely be more mental and tempted to power walk all the way up again. I tried to catch up with Sis Gai and her friend, Rizal as I could still saw them 200 - 300m in front of me. They kept me going even it was getting tough. It was getting so windy up there, I could hear the trees howling so loud even with my earphones on. Running towards a strong headwind was quite difficult and such an experience. Things got a wee bit spooky and I could not dare to look at the jungles on my right side. Touch wood... =D
In my zone... Noticed a car approaching but I wasn't prepared to strike a pose... LOL
Once I reached the top of the incline, it was so chilly and I started to make my way down. Tried not to blazing my way down as my ankles started to feel sore and painful. It was cold and I started to see water vapour from my mouth. Thank goodness I was wearing my semi gloves to keep my hands warm. I reached the undulating u-turn point aka CP 3 at 26.5 km after 4 hours 12 mins. I took a long break here, applied some hot cream on my sore throbbing ankles. The impact on them was unbearable, especially during the descent. After binging on those mouth watering watermelons, a bite of Oreo and banana, I started my way back home. Tried to keep up with Sis Gai but once again she just went blazing in her element all the way. Truly amazing!
Sis GAI and I at the U-turn CP 3... Very cold here in this hour... Brrrr! 
I tried to run whenever possible and walk whenever I could not run, especially when I tackled the incline. Bumped into Norzana on my way back. She did not looked in her best condition either. The biggest obstacle was for me to power walk the steep incline at Genting Peres. It was still pitch black. I tried to catch up with other runners in front of me as I did not want to run alone, feared of the wreckless group of mat rempits and speeding car along the route. Once I reached the borderline of Negeri Sembilan - Selangor, I took a breather and managed to snap some pictures. Thanks to a generous runner. I took his pictures too afterwards.

These two pictures were priceless... Running interstate border... Never thought I could do this before!
Running down the same winding road again was really challenging for me. I wanted to run faster to make up for the long break and due to the gravity but my ankles would protest. The impact from pounding the tarmac after 5 hours was unbearable. So I resorted to small stride and shuffled my way down. Met Doc Shah Shazharn on my way down too. The eerie jungle was still on my left side but the night view was spectacular. It was a full moon with stars shining bright on the night sky. Felt like I`m on a shooting location for Twilight Saga or something. Finally I reached CP 2/CP 4 after the long running downhill. Did not waste much time here as it was about to break the dawn anytime soon. After refueling my hand held bottle, off I go.

Lovely golden forest...
I looked so blackie in this shady picture with my tahan teksi pose... Credits to Mr Tey ET
CP 1/CP 5 was not that far though but I took my sweet time whenever I met with an incline. Such a wuss... Huhuu... Many 50km runners were spotted along the route by this time. Some were walking while others were shuffling. It's ok as long as we kept on going. After a short break at the last CP, I mustered all the strength left to tackle the last mental incline head on. It was the steepest 3 km climb I've ever experienced in my life. I just power walked all the way up. It was started to get brighter  by that time. I did not want to be roasted by the morning sun on this hilly stretch, I said. Once I reached the top, it was another 7km or so towards the finishing line. So I just let the gravity take over my downhill run despite being very careful not to run too fast. Maintained my pace and kept on going as it was almost 8 am by that time. The view of KLCC and KL Tower perched  from the back of the hills was astounding! Once I reached the 50 km mark at 8.20 am, I knew that I still had to cover another 2 - 3 km within the 40 minutes time. The last 3km was insane. I tried to resist from walking as I knew that we were almost there. The sun was so bright and I did not want to be roasted under the sun. My pace was around 8:20++ when I crossed the finishing line in 8 hours 50 minutes (8:15:10 moving time). I was overjoyed! Yayyy...
Finally... I survived! Credits to Mr Khairi Muin... =D
The catch of the day.... Totally priceless... 
Received my hard earned finisher tee, pink trophy and a hand towel once I reached the counter. Thank you Mr Yim Heng Fatt for your courtesy. I would never make the same silly tingtong mistake ever again. *piak2 myself for that. Did not have the appetite to eat my breakfast, but I managed to have some Thai Mango Salad with some fish and fried noodles. Took some pictures with other finishers as well before heading back home. Luckily I did not experience any bad chafing or cramps. Just lack of sleep and rest.

TotisThoners Trio, Me, Zana and Gebs... Congrats to Gebs on his maiden 100KM Ultra Run! 
Well done to the organizer of TITI 100/50 for a well organized race event. The food and drinks were aplenty. So many choices although I  did not eat the sandwiches, afraid I might had to pangsai along the eerie route. LOL! To all the selfless volunteers, scouts, boys and girls, Rela officer, policemen, medical person in charge, I would love to express my gratitude. However there were some safety issues when some of the runners did not wear the mandatory headlamp due to the not so strict gears inspection done by the scouts. It was dangerous to run in the night without any headlamp or reflective band/blinker. A big congratulation to all the strong finishers of TITI 100/50 ULTRA. U guys were awesome and truly amazing on that day. To those who DNF/ could not meet the cut off time, fret not, do train harder and smart so that we could come back stronger next year ya... Honestly it got me thinking to reconsider my decision to sign up for  84 km Penang Ultra. Must train a lot harder, mentally and physically too for such an Ultra distance. Will I be able to meet the 15 hours cut off time? Sigh...
Thumbs Up To Mr Jeff Ooi, Race Director and the Organizer for the toughest 53km Road Race! 
Till then, toodles!

#PrayforMH370

My Garmin Data HERE. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The North Face 100 Thailand 2014 - My Maiden 50KM Trail Run, Part II (Race Report)

Hello there, feel free to read my TNF Thailand journey PART I HERE  if you want to. Let me continue with my Part II aka the Race Report first ya...

My Maiden TNF Thailand 50KM Finisher Medal... Hard earned with sweats and almost tears
Woke up around 3.10 am on that very morning. Yup, I was still feeling a bit sleepy because I slept around 11.30 pm or so. All my roommates were already woke up, had their shower and getting ready with their apparels and mandatory stuffs. We were very lucky to have an early breakfast on that morning, as they start serving breakfast at 3.30 am. I had some fried rice, some bull's eye eggs and took some bread with me.

Team Belmont Village Resort, 8 of Us, including Khairi Muin... 
Around 4.15 am, the free shuttle bus fetched us from the hotel and we arrived at Simalin Resort, the starting venue within 4.30 am. I immediately deposited my blue bag at the designated counter and off I went into the starting pen. Managed to keypoh for a while with other runners for a must group photo before the event, just want to ease the jitters inside me. And exactly on 5 am on the dot, we were being flagged off. I just took it easy since I didn't have time to do some warming up and stretching prior the race. Plus, I did not clock in any mileage at all before this event either after the tormenting Mount Datuk. My plan was to reach every 10km within 1 hour and 30 minutes to enable me to finish circa 7 hours and 30 minutes with some buffer time of 1:30.  Yes, it might sound easy but it was a hell of a 50km trail route on that fateful blazing day.

It was really dark when we started running. To make it even worse, we had to run on an uneven trail with lots of huge stones littered around. I hurted my left foot upon stepping on a stone in the dark. The dusty route lowered the visibility as the dusty sands were floating everywhere and it was difficult to breath properly too. all I could smell at that time was the sweet smell of the corn as we ran across the cornfield.

I`m still smiling because it's chilly and still looking fresh at 10++ KM (Credits to Mr Azim)

 

My cheerful expression picture... Thanks to Ultra Mohan Marathon!
As we ran towards the first incline, it was getting colder. I really thought that it will remain like this throughout the lovely chilly refreshing morning. The view of the hills was a spellbinding. I could not resist myself from taking a breather and took some photos along this route. I reached the CP 1 (KM10) after I did the mini loop. Met Azim Ashaary and Mr Mohan Marathon before the CP 1. From there, the crazy inclines started to pour in. I had to do my speed walk up the incline and managed to reach the black "Mount Doom" just like in the scenes from LOTR. Here running is impossible due to the loose sandy black gravel and too many huge rocks. From far, I could see my duo mate, Razinah up in front. So I tried to chase after her and decide to run along from that point on. The weather was still cooling as we were running in the shades. As soon as we hit the open space I could feel the heat started to build up and the our worst nightmare became reality! @.@

 

The stunning breathtaking view from the top of "Mount Doom LOTR"...  The searing heat awaits...  
As early as 8.30 am, the sun started to shine hotter and brighter than ever. I started to feel as if we were running somewhere in Australian outback since everything looked so dry and desert-ish. The incline started to increase slowly at KM14-15 as I entered the "project" site. I had to run a bit further from Razinah at this point to keep my momentum. I reached the CP 2 (KM20) and refilled my hydration bag with some cold water. I refilled my Gatorade bottle too with the cocktail of Thailand sweet isotonic drink. It tasted lovely, just nice! Ate several slices of cold watermelons and a half banana at this CP while waited for Razinah. As soon I saw her coming, I handed her a cup of cold drinking water and asked whether she was still ok at that point. We were sweating like pigs by that time. After that I continued my journey.

TNF Thailand 2014 Route - Red arrows are the 50 KM per loop, Elevation gain 2700 feet... @..@ 
I trudged on to the next CP 3, which located at KM 27. It was a very dusty trail road with many runners were seen running with buff covering their nose and mouth. I started having the desire to pangsai but I just could not find any decent outdoor spot at that time. So I kept calm and tried to hold on as long as I could. As soon I reach the tarmac stretch, I had to relieve myself at the nearest bush. Lucky I had a water bottle with me. It turned out that I was not that far from CP 3. Hahaa... After CP 3, I went on towards the right side and bumped into Kam Kasturie on the opposite side. He warned me about the killer elevation has yet to come inside the loop. He was not kidding about the Mother of All Incline. The gradient was sooo steep that I had to find a decent stick as my hiking pole to speed walk/hike to the top. It felt like forever. Luckily it was fully shaded and it was very windy at the top. The whole loop was 6 KM in total.

As soon as I came up from the tormenting loop, it was already 33 KM. I ran on the road towards the next CP. This stretch really pushed my limit and mental endurance as it I had to run on a open trail with scorching temperature up to 35, 36 degree Celcius. Thrown in some more inclines, confusing loops like a number 8, I had to walk uphill and jog/run downhill and flat route. It felt like forever to reach CP 4 (KM 40), which was located on a small hill. I had to run across tapioca plantations too  along the way. I still remembered I ate a lot of watermelon slices there and quickly refilled my hydration bag with cold icy water.

The barren land and hill... Dusty trail road... Open sky.. Gulped! (Pic credits to Azim)
This turqoise green lake was the only eye soothing landscape along the final 10 KM. (Pic courtesy of Azim)
It was another 10 KM or so to reach the Finishing Line. I kept on praying deep in heart that Razinah will forged on and braved the insane heatwave towards the finishing line too. I knew she's a strong fighter. The remaining route lead us back towards Nongtakoo Temple and I had to run along the tall dry grasses. Felt a bit creepy when I thought about some slithery creatures might be resting somewhere nearby. At 48 KM ++, I had to be really careful when I want to cross one dangerous stone slope before I reached the tarmac. From there I knew I was not far from the finishing line.

I tried to run but only managed to slow jog my way. I could not muster anymore strength to run under the extreme heat so I've resorted to a brisk walk once I've reached 50 KM distance based on my Garmin. The last 1 KM felt sooo far away. My hydration bag was empty after 48km. I guessed it was leaking or dried up quickly due to the merciless sun.  I had to stop at the shades I found on the route several times. Finally I ran with everything I had once I saw the finishing arch. The feeling once the emcee announced your name and category was indescribable beyond words The agonizing pain was finally over. I managed to cross the line in 9 hours, 21 minutes and 58 secs.

Authentic Thai massat.... Simply a bliss after a super hard run!
I was so thirsty that I drank a lot of water, watermelon and isotonic drinks. Still did not have the appetite to eat, I went for the complimentary Thai massage to ease up all the stiff muscles. I could feel my right stomach started to cramp during the massage. It felt so good that I experienced only a mild DOMS and sore shoulder the very next morning. After the massage all I wanted to do is I want to rest and sleep on the haystacks. Not long after I've arrived, Razinah crossed the finishing line together with a Japanese lady runner. They were so happy full of relief and hugged each other. Later on I did dozed off for awhile on the haystacks waiting for the other runners to arrive. Zzzz...

Razinah, my duo mate and her new friend, Mitsuko... Their companionship story was truly heart felt... Well Done Ladies! 
Me and Azim before the sunset. Congratulations to Mr Azim for your maiden 50KM Ultra Trail Marathon! 
My utmost respect went to those who had guts and determination to run the 100 km solo, especially in the extreme day and humid night. To those who's DNF, fret not, there's always one year to train well and wiser and come back stronger next year. The pain of DNF. It hurts. I would like to congratulate Razinah, my duo teammate on her first 50 KM Ultra Trail finisher and she has proven to be a true fighter and a great pacer too. Although we did not get the targetted 18 hours but we did our best and had so much fun and adventures in this event. Let's be my partner in crime for the gruelsome 100 km Solo next year, shall we? #coldshivers


More pics with other TNF 100 Thailand running buddies and Ultra otais...

Wajah - wajah penuh keinsafan terserlah di wajah kami, especially me... Muahahaa =(
Let's pose one for the album, shall we... Muka masing2 sunburnt to the perfection daa... =D
Here's what I've worn during this gruelsome TNF 100 Thailand 2014:

1) GoBionic Trail Shoe Size 10 - worked like a charm but I could still feel the lack of cushioning at the heel department. Whenever I stepped onto any shap stones, it hurts...

2) 2ndSkin's Hills Are Speed Work In Disguise - The Vaporskin Technology really amazed me for its breathability and I remained dry despite being sweating like hell during the extreme hot weather

3) Floral purple Buff from BUFF itself

4) PETZL Tikka 90 lumen headlamp - not bright enough but that will do.

5) GARMIN 910XT Watch - worked like a charm but unfortunately I failed to get a proper satellite signal.

6) UVEX shades - glad I wore it along the hot bright route.

7) Salomon 3/4 Tight - my favourite tight so far

8) CompresSport compression calves sleeves - No cramps issues on the race day. Glad I've survived!

9) Camelbak hydration bag - A gift from my dear friend Yvonne Teo aka Piffles Inc. Love the design n the 3L bladder tuh... Really handy to bring during the run... Thank you so much... =D


P/S: Next: my TITI 50KM Race Report - My Maiden 50KM Road Run... Definitely an unforgettable experience of a lifetime...




Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The North Face 100 Thailand 2014 - My Maiden 50KM Trail Run, Part I


Hello there folks! How are you today? I would to share my 1st part of my journey to Thailand for my debut TNF 100 Thailand. Being a novice in Ultra Trail race, Ray urged me to sign up for 100Km duo category. Dr. Razinah would my teammate for this race, and we only had the opportunity to train together once, at MARDI Trail. We really hope we could finish this race together under the cutoff time of 18 hours.


My Dynamic 100km Duo Team Genocide... 
My journey to Thailand began on the Thursday, 6 February when I took a flight to Bangkok at 1.55 pm . At first I thought that this would be my 2nd solo trip to Bangkok. Later on I found out that I wasn't alone. Met Mr Nik Nasrullah at the LCCT and he told me about his last year's TNF Thai experience.  He told me to expect a cold trail run like in Genting or Cameron Highlands. Wow... That would be a very good experience.

My 280 Baht Train Ticket for Second Class 
Bangkok felt like my 3rd home after Jakarta because I've just went there December last year for my Ayutthaya Marathon. Once I reached the arrival terminal, I went straight away to Dong Mueang Railway Station to book a ticket. Unfortunately there was no ticket available for 4.20 pm Left without any option, I had to take the 7.29 pm train to Pak Chong. There goes my chances to reach there early and soak in its atmosphere.

In the meantime, I just walked around the Don Mueang International Airport looking for something halal and yummy to eat. I had a microwaved rice soup with chunks of salmon for my late lunch. Not bad at all... ;) *Still hungry though but that would do for the time being.




Anyhow this was my 1st time travelling on a train in Thailand. The 2nd class coach was comfy, clean and it was fully air conditioned too.  They provided us with a blanket for our freezing cold 2-3 hours journey. At first, I couldn't afford to doze away due to the rockiness of the train hahaa...  Started to feel slightly dizzy due to rocky motion.. But somehow I fell asleep along the journey... Went a bit panicky when it was already past 3 hours and Pakchong Station was not in sight yet... Looks like I missed the station and the trainmaster officer stopped at the next station for me to hop in the incoming train... He was very friendly and helpful. Finally managed to reach Pakchong around 12 am and went straight away to the Pakchong Hotel to call it a day. The motor taxi ride costed me 50 Baht only... =D

The not so cozy second class coach... So freaking freezing though...
Finally, Pakcong Aku Datang!
Woke up the next morning and we had our breakfast at the cafe in front of the hotel. Since halal food was scarce at the cafe, Ray, Khairi and I requested for some toast with strawberry jam and our coffee. I had a nice strong mocha for breakfast. After that, it's time for us to scout around the small town of Pakchong. We walked around the local market and decided to buy some stocks for our TNF Thai race. Ray and Khairi bought some Coke, Gatorade, instant food and planned their drop bags at each CP. 
Enjoying our breakfast on the 1st morning in Pakchong... =D
Love my Mochalicious and toasts... 
My heavier breakfast meal - spicy chicken with sticky black rice and  seaweed chicken roll... Yummeh!
After we've checked out, we went to the nearest mosque, Nadun Firadoush Mosque looking for some decent halal food for lunch. Although we had some problems in communications with the local Muslim auntie, we had our plain rice with chicken cooked with Thai basils and bullseye egg. It tasted like heaven! Thanks to the kind Pakistani guy who helped us with the menu. We even decided to order 3 more for the takeaway since it will be very hard to find halal food around the resort. 


We took the open air taxi jeep to Khao Yai National Park and it costed us 150 Baht each. We had to take another jeep transfer (170 Baht) to Bonanza Resort Khao Yai for the racekit collection and the compulsory race briefing by the Race Director. 

Singgah2 di muka pintu saja sebagai transit ke Bonanza Resort Khao Yai... 
As we reached the venue, many runners from all over the world were seen to be there already for the racekit collection and drop bags arrangement. There was a mini expo from the sponsors and co-sponsors such as PETZL, Tiger Balm, Garmin and The North Face. It was havoc. We joined the other runners for our Malaysian contingent for a group photo before the briefing. Everybody seemed to be smiling happily not knowing the storm was coming on the very next day since it was a windy cooling afternoon that day. I was on the other hand, still feeling nervous for my maiden 50KM Ultra Trail Run, especially during the briefing.... I just could not look at the elevation map.. It's really mental challenging I must say hehee... Rather go with the flow and mustered every strength I had on the race day... hewhewhew...

Malaysian Contingent with Rayzeef as our Chef de Mission... =D



























After the race briefing, we checked in at Belmont Village Resort. I shared my room with Kam Kasturie, Khairi Muin and Azim Ashaary. It was a huge room, suitable for honeymooner with a elongated bathroom + walking wardrobe. We had a simple hearty Brahim's dinner, omelette and vegie soup together... Before I hit the sack, I ensured everything is in order, the timing chip on my shoe, bib number pinned to my running 2ndskinasia tee, filled hydration bladder and mandatory items such as headlamp, whistle and medical kit were in the bag. I decided to bring along 5 energy gels for this race. One for every 8-9KM. That should be suffice to sustain my energy level throughout the run. 
Kam, Azim, Khairi Muin and Yours Truly - Roomies for 2 nights... =D

Simple but filling dinner before the race day.... 
More on the race event in my Part II... Stay tuned fellas as the best has yet to come.... =D