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Saturday, October 09, 2010

A Series of Unforeseen Events - TNF 100

A friend I talked to was in awe when she heard I was doing the TNF 100. Aiyah, I told her, only 25km lah! No big deal. Today, after completing the TNF 50km duo, I would like to change that to "Freaking 25km. Can die!". Yes while a friend of mine is happily traversing 250km in the Sahara Desert without a complain, here I am just  doing 25km and whining like a baby!

I had trained adequately or so I thought. I done so many runs in MR that the total number of runs this year exceeds the total number of runs there over the past 5 years. I ran the Rifle Range Road, Zhenghua and even went up Bukit Timah Hill. I also went to Lor Asrama even though I knew that we the 25kmers were not running there. I thought I did enough but unfortunately, it fell short, very short.

It all started well enough though. 4 pairs of us started together. My partner was of course M. In fact, I did I was the last one to cross the start line and remained so until the ranger station. I ran at a very comfortable pace. The target was to finish in 3 hours 30 minutes which could mean a 8.25mins pace; more than sufficient time to complete or so I thought. First 5 km - 35 minutes. 10 km - 1:11. A 7 min pace. I happily told M we were way ahead of our target time and if this continues, we could possibly finish in 3 hours! But I spoke too soon. We were out of MR by then and running on this mountain bike trail which we have not done before. It was narrow and had a lot of up-slopes. Needless to say, by now we were tired and like most of the other runners, we took to walking whenever we encounter an upslope. Actually not just that, I walked at upslope, walked when the ground is too rocky and walked when the downslope is too steep. The next 5 km took us 52 minutes! That was how slow we will! So the 3 hours was not going to happen. Back to 3.30 then. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, it should still be achievable.

The Bukit Timah Quarry

I was so happy when we hit the
 by now very familiar Zhenghua pipeline reserve there. We were finally on the return loop! But out on Rifle Range Road, the first of the unforeseen circumstances struck! I suddenly felt the presence of an old foe - the dread cramp! Coming up on the right calf! I immediately switched to walking and continued this pattern - walking whenever I feel the cramp coming and so I slowly plodded on until Rifle Range Link just after the stream when finally the cramp hit hard. And so I was forced to walk from that point on until the Ranger Station when I took a chance and tried to resume running. 20km done 2 hours 53 minutes. In my current condition, 3:30 looks very remote.

5 more Km to go!
And then out on the road after the ranger station, I went dry - my water bag that is! Unused to carrying a hydration bag, I thought I still had water but there was no more! What the shit! I had passed the ranger station and there was no water point at the Island Country Road. Looks like it going to be a long long 4km! I run walked and continued with this and at one point was recovered well enough to  run at a comfortable pace. And then the last of the unforeseen event struck! Or rather the MR jinx struck! While trying to give way to a group of runners coming up behind me and avoiding a group of walkers, I somehow lost my balance and took a tumble.Immediately, both right and left calves went into full blown seizure! Apart from some surface bruising, I think I hit the hip hard cos now it hurts like hell whenever I walked!

My first souvenir from the race
But I managed to drag myself up with the help of the nice angmo hikers who even offered me their drink and trotted the final 2 km to the finish line crossing it in 3:40, 10 minutes past the target. M did slightly better - finishing ahead of me by about 6 minutes.

Sad but well, serve me right for being so contemptuous about the distance. Will I be back for next year? Will I go on to do the 100km duo? Don't bet on it cause I think I got enough to last me a life time!

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