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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Exorcising an old Foe

Last year, I stumbled badly at the 25km TNF 100 Challenge. With the launch of this year edition, I decided it was timely to do a full dress rehearsal and see whether I am able to exorcise the devil in my head With a lot more trail runs this year, I was confident that I would be able to do so otherwise I might just as well hang up my running shoes. 

For this task, I dragged a few friends and of course the trusty sidekick, M along. The target was to complete in 4 hours. Timing was not the issue here. Finishing well was. We replicated the whole route but throw in a pit stop at Bukit Timah Reserve for topping up of water. The other difference was we started at 7am, 3 hours earlier than the actual race start time.

We started off at a 'fast' pace. About 7.30 mins per km. Okay that's not exactly very fast but fast by our standard. One ultra marathoner in our group started complaining it was too fast too! Ha ha the target of 4 hours means a 9 mins pace so fair enough. Her complaint that is. Anyway, knowing that we will start walking sooner or later and with stops for photo-taking and water top up, the pace will eventually average out. 

The fast break was the Ranger Station at MacRitchie Reservoir but as that was only 4 km into the run, nobody actually needed any break! The part before we hit Rifle Range road was where some of us started to walk. And I think everybody agreed we all don't like Rifle Range road except one siow kia who said slopes were good! The temperature on the road was hot hot hot but back inside the trail, it was noticeably a notch lower. Too bad although the trail was called Durian trail, there were no durian visible. Out of the trail and we reached Bukit Timah Visitor Centre where we have a long break - almost 15 mins. Took my expired free sample Powerbar Energy Bar here consuming 3/4 of it.

From the Visitor Centre, we moved into the mountain bike trail, a single lane dirt path. It was slow moving here and I took the tail end. Eventually, we reached the awesome sight of the back of the quarry where we stopped for a group photo. The sight of the quarry never fails to perk me up. It means we were on the way back. But first, we have to conquer the undulating slope of the pipeline trail and then Rifle Range road again. Again, I continue to run right at the back but unlike the last round, there was no sign of cramps. In fact I was still feeling pretty good despite the heat.

Back into MR, I caught up with M and 2 other lady runners. That was all I was capable of. So pathetic. But good thing is that there was still no sight of cramp or any major tiredness. At the Ranger Station, everybody else was waiting for each other. Polished off the last 1/4 of the powerbar. Heng ar, no side effect. In fact, if anything, it gave me a slight boost and I was able to run all the way non-stop from there back to the Amenities Center.

Total time taken: 3 hours 54 mins. Just a wee bit to 4 hours. Right smack on target. Actual time excluding the break at Bukit Timah Visitor Centre was 3: 38 which means I actually beat last year timing. Not too bad I must say. And have I exorcise the devil? Let's just wait till 15 October

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