Wednesday, September 21, 2016

LANGKAWI ULTRA MARATHON 2016 - MY FIRST BIRTHDAY RUNCATION!

Langkawi Ultra Marathon 2016 was an inaugural running event. There were two categories for this event, 50km and 100km. Once the elevation chart and route map were uploaded, I fell in love instantly with the 50km category. This was because I did my 17km long run once along the same route. So I was very very excited to fullfill my Ultra dream... Hehee...  
Langkawi Island - my favourite getaway island in Malaysia.... Mesmerizing!
Actually I was aiming to join this event ever since they announced that it was open for registration but everything was still uncertain at that moment. The idea of running for my 34th birthday went through my mind at that time.
Happy Birthday to me.... Let's have a fun fun ultra run!
Thus the date of the event was just 3 days after my birthday and 12th day of Syawal. Just nice timing. I was afraid I could not perform well due to under mileage and lack of training. I tried to cram in some last minutes trainings and long runs around Bukit Cinta loops in UM. Hopefully that would be suffice for my long journey in Langkawi hehee...

By the time I wanted to sign up it was already too late since I had no running event on that weekend. However my prayer has been answered when one of my running friend could not run due to medical conditions. Blessing in disguised, perhaps? I've spent a lot for the preparation for Eid and could only afford to buy the running bib. Once the deal is sealed, I immediately went to book my air tickets. Luckily Airasia tickets were still on promotion. Double Yayyy!
The map and elevation profile... Sakitnya tuh di sini hohohi!
The plan was simple, since I was travelling on a tight budget. Went to Langkawi on the Saturday evening, 5.30pm and went back to KL on 9pm Sunday. Easy peasy, just Touch and go... No need to spend much on the accomodation and food

Went to pick up the racekit at 1Mont Kiara on 3 July before our sumptous Buka Puasa buffet with my running buddies. Thanks Lisa for the early birthday treat. REPC was done in a jiffy. I even requested for a legal bib transfer and the organizer allowed it. Yayyy! Could not be any happier than this.

Fast forward to the most anticipated weekend Raya Ultra getaway. 

I was very very nervous to run this event. This was because I was having a very painful around my ankle after attending Metafit Force 10 HIIT Session. On and off throbbing sensation. Even walking and standing was so painful. I decided to rest from running and started icing and applying some hot cream on that affected area. However the pain went away temporarily. Sigh...
LGK Aku Datang Lagi Buat Kali Ketiga Tahun Nih... Powered by Marathon Baker!
Thank goodness I felt much better on that Saturday morning. Packed my stuffs and all the mandatory items. Went to the airport during the torrential heavy storm and luckily my flight was not delayed. 

Selpie dulu sebelum bersantap besar ehh... It's a hot day in LGK!
The moment I touched down LIA, my friend fetched me and we went for the Laksa Kaw and Ice Jagung. Thanks Ridzuan for the ride and treat. I was kinda starving actually... LOL! It was the best laksa in the whole Langkawi, hands down! Tapau-ed some fried crunchy banana fritters and pattaya fried rice before heading to the motel with my running buddies. 

Delicious laksa kaw pekat ikan berekoq ekoq rasanya nih eh
Creamy sweet Ice Jagung... Divine!
Seriously delicious crunchy sweet banana fritters... Siyes tak tipuu..
It started to rain on that night. I was feeling a bit tired and sleepy that I need to have a good rest before the race started. Thank goodness Baha and Zam Zam arrived back at the motel at the right time.  

Unpacked my stuffs and I tried to get some sleep. It was a humid day and I had trouble to doze off that early night. Tidur-tidur ayam je lah nampaknya... Somehow I managed to had a power nap on that night. Woke up around 1130pm when Lisa knocked our motel door. 

Three of us were frantically woke up and getting ready for the event. Zam Zam need to be there early because he had to wait for any extra uncollected bib from the organizer. 

Picture with Asrul, a Navy based in Langkawi before the flagoff... Sleepy mode lagik time nih hoho...
We arrived at Resort World Langkawi, the venue by 12.10 am and bumped into those 100km participants were running after the flagoff.
Thanks for your support bro Asrul - Marathon Baker is the best natural homemade energy bars n bites!
 There was still plenty of time to do some final preparation and after I deposited my baggage, I joined with the rest of 50km participants. Met Asrul and Razak just in time before the flagoff to deliver their Marathon Baker homemade energy bars. Thanks guys for your order & support ya! 

It was a cold night, thanks to the light rains. I was still feeling a bit sleepy. Tak puas tidur la katakan.. LOL! This reminded me of running Condura Skyway Marathon 2015 that it was being flagged off around these same wee hours. My strategy was simple. I had to aim for 4 hours to reach the U-turn point so that I could have ample of time - 5 solid hours to reach back at the FL. 

There was around 101 participants for 50km category. Not bad for the first edition of this race. We were being flagged off at 1 am. I started running slow just wanted to see the condition of my right ankle. So far so good ans I ran at a constant pace and right before I knew it, I was at the back of the pack LOL... 

Running towards Cenang Town at these wee hours. Felt so peaceful with less traffic. Just tried to keep up and stayed not far from the runners in front. I followed their colourful blinkers. That was my only motivation at that point hohohi...

Once my leg muscles were already warmed up after 4 - 5KM, I increased my pace gradually. I love running in the darkness especially at the airport stretch. Lucky we had our headlamps switched on. Felt good running at the windy road. 

I reached the first WS around 8.5KM. Refilled my water bottle, sipped some Lucozade and kept on going. Really had to run on these flat route so that I would have some buffer time tackling the hilly route soon. 

It was a simple route and it was impossible to get lost. Went up the bridge and down in  a jiffy. Just followed some other runners in front of me. 

After KM14.5, we started to run towards the hilly route towards Petronas Quay near the marina. It was a runnable rolling inclines. Right after 15km, it started to drizzle again. The cooling twilight was definitely a blessing. Luckily it was not a heavy downpour but the tarmac was already wet. 

Catched up with Apeng on the rolling hills. Surprised to see her at that point. She said that she was not feeling well and vomitted twice already. Felt sorry for her. I was on a good rhythm so I kept on running. 

Some of the route was clearly lit. Thank goodness! No need to light up my headlamp and less chances for me to bump into those entities there... Fuhhh... 

Well not for long as I was running in a pitch black halfway on the hilly route. Yikes! Not long after that I reached the second WS near Petronas Quay (KM18). Stopped there for a while to topup my drinks, sipped more Lucozade and applied some vaseline on my chafings prone area. Downed one energy gel and Runbananaz and I was good to go. 

It was a downhill run towards the flat stretch and T-junction. Loved the windy part from the jungles/hills near the open field area. 

Kept on running slowly at pace 10ish right until I reached the next rolling hills section around KM 19++. We were running towards Teluk Datai and it was a dark section at some parts. The rolling hills was still run-able and since it was dark, I could not see how steep was the undulating hills. 

Need to run faster here especially at the darker stretch. Hoho... Heard so many noises from the jungles, just ignored them. Animal noises I thought so. Once in a while I saw some bats were flying right in front of my headlamps. 

The dark stretch felt like forever to pass through until I saw some street lights. It means that there was some village nearby. Once I was done with the neverending dark hilly part, I saw a big signboard for Crocodile Farm located 2km inside. Looks like I've covered 23km by now. 

When I thought the suffering was over, I was dead wrong. The 2km stretch towards the u-turn 25km Check Point was really really tough, physically and mentally. Hahaa... The unforgiving undulating incline all the way and the final climb was the most dreadful of all. I had to resort to fast walking whenever I found that the hills were so steep! Nokharom steep kinda LOL! Could not afford to get some cramp on my hamstrings here. 

Since it was a loop route, I started to meet more and more runners, both 50km and 100km running back towards the small T-junction. Yim said hi to me, while other familiar faces said not far already, less than 500m or so. I just kept on going as I could feel the  u-turn point was so near! 

Felt so relieved to reach the checkpoint in 3hours 55min++. Stopped here for a while to get my bottle filled up, had one Runbananaz and M-Prolabs alpha capsule. Applied more Vaseline just in case. 6 minutes later off I go running back towards the way home. 

At that point I was running alone. There were some runners overtook me. 100km I thought so. That was fast! They had covered 44km++ after the checkpoint. While I was running downhill, I had these goosebumps in the dark stretch. Looks like I had crossed their "territory". I kept on chanting some Zikr and Ayat Kursi to calm myself up. Thank goodness there's no entities showing themselves up, unlike some of my running friends that encountered some white cloth and  heard some manly grunt/chuckle from the jungle. Creepy much... Erk...

On our way back, I had to run walk run all the way until we reached the main road heading towards Cable Car and the T-junction again. It was a relieve when there were a few runners around me at that time. I hate running alone especially in the pitch dark hahaa...

Stopped at the 4th WS (Petronas Quay), refilled my water bottles, gobbled the sweet juicy watermelon slices there and off I go to finish what I've started. It was still a long way to go. 

Need to tackle those rolling inclines asap before the traffic started to build up. Plus the monkeys or macaques along the hilly stretch were not that friendly either. Just keep on going and I managed to cover the neverending hilly bit before the day was getting bright. Once I hit KM34 I was grinning to myself since I've planned to do my long birthday run 34KM on my 34th birthday. Better late than never, yes?
I am a sunrise and sunset lover.... Cannot resist stopping here for a while...
Witnessed my sunrise moments when I ran up the only bridge along the route. Snapped some pics while pouring some ORS in my drinking bottles as I could feel the cramps were started to build up. The view was awesome.
My only selfie during the race... Time is ticking and I don't want to finish late hohohi!
At this point, all I want to do was to keep on moving and tried to cover the long airport stretch before it was getting brighter and hotter. Hehee... Stopped by at the final fifth WS and munched on my Runbananaz and Gardenia bread, refilled my bottle and did not waste any more time. Must keep on going, no matter what.
Me with two other participants walked ran walked the dreaded airport strip before we reached the villages before we could see Cenang town. I swore that felt like the longest stretch in my whole life. Luckily there were some shades along the straight road. Braved on and kept on moving, the cramp subsided at this time. Fuhhh...

It is so hot and bright already at this point... Pic credits to WK
Once we reached Cenang town, it's all in your mind. I just jogged and fast walked whenever I could. We still had to find our way back to the Start/Finish Line at Resorts World Langkawi. Bumped into Tokdad Romzi and Shamroslee at Cenang town before I made my way towards the FL.Felt like it's a long way to go... Felt some blisters in my wet socks but I just had to shut down the pain for a while and kept on running.
One of my running photos taken while I was running downhill towards the FL... Credits to WK for all these stunning pics...
Down down down and down some more....
 I was a bit panic when the support crew van went passed me and said I had the final 3KM to cover within 10 minutes to go and I still have not reach the final bloody hill yet. So I started running. I ran with my heart out tackling the steep incline towards the FL. Once I passed the mini hill, it was all the way down before I could see the main gate. It was already hot and bright too. I made my way and crossed the Finish Line in 8 hours 51 minutes 52 seconds, 2 minutes faster than my Route 68 Challenge 2016 timing hoho. Yeahhhhh... So glad to reach the FL within the cutoff time hohohi...
Yatta! Pic credits to Ms. Lisa Chew... =D
Once I went to collect my hard earned finisher medal and finisher tee, I hang out at the venue cooling down and gobbled more icy cold Coke and 100 Plus hehee... Felt hungry too, luckily there some Gardenia bread. Not long after that Tokdad Romzi and Shamroslee came with a surprise birthday cake for me... Awwwww.... Thank you so much guys... Really appreciate it...
Yayyy... thanks so much guys! Did not see this coming here...
Birthday Boi with Ultra finisher medal & finisher birthday cake... I`m so happy!
Thank you so much guys for this surprise party.... Congrats to all the finishers!
Nothing beats celebrating my belated birthday with all my running friends in Langkawi Ultra. The orange cake was delicious. Too bad I still did not have the appetite to eat due to my dry sore throat after the harsh run. Looks like I was dehydrated after my birthday run. Took some pictures with my friends before we headed back to our motel and freshened up ourselves. The boys dozed off once they landed on their comfy beds while I still cannot sleep because of the heat inside my body. Took a shower and drank lots of mineral water to cool it off.
Teman seperjuangan sepelarian semotel sekereta.....
Stunning finisher medal cum bottle opener.... Love it!
Reminiscing my Langkawi Island Ocean Marathon 2013 finishing here.... What a lovely place!
Went for a lunch at Kedai Kak Yan Nasi Campur in Ulu Melaka. I had a feast there. Ikan Keli Bakar, Ketam and some delicious ulam and vegetables. On the way back to our motel, we decided to go to Dataran Lang for some photo session and went passed by the famous dreadful Bukit Malut. We cheered some of the 100km runners who were braving the blazing sun, bloody heat and rolling hills there. Kudos to them!

Beast mode activated.. LOL!
I felt so sleepy and dozed off once I reached the motel. Had my rest before I packed my stuffs and went for a quick dinner. Thanks to Zam Zam and As Bha for sending me to the airport just in time for my flight home. 
Bumped into Sifuu Gebs at the airport... Congrats bro for the podium finish! As always...

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