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...




18 comments:

  1. Thanks Kam! Banyak lagik ilmu2 yang perlu ditimba dari runners/ironman yang berpengalaman nih... ;D

    ReplyDelete
  2. Tahniah, great job completing this brutal race.

    I had great time with you and the others travelling to Thailand.

    Stand tall and be proud, many strong runners DNF.

    Take the experience and learn from our mistakes. It's the only way to move forward :)

    ReplyDelete
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