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Saturday, October 13, 2012

TNF 100 Singapore 2012

Jinx? Fated? 3 times bad luck? How do I ever start to describe this? How could I once again mess up a simple 25km run?

Ever since 2010 when I first did this event and although I finished it, I wasn't satisfied with the way I ran it and vowed to do it properly. So the following year, I trained hard, even formed a team to prepare for it but at the last minute, had to sit it out with a injury that forced me to halt running for a long time. So this year, although the long runs wasn't adequate, I felt fit and confident enough to finally be able to close this chapter of my running in good stead. Instead, just barely halfway into the race, I broke the year's injury free record and busted my ankle on a part of the trail that I had ran countless time and eventually had to DNF!

The day had started well enough. We reached MR bright and early to secure a car lot. Walked around, meet up with friends, took some pictures before we were flagged off at 8am. The earlier start compared to past years were warmly welcomed. We could at the very least avoid the hot noon sun.

I had no fixed target initially but somehow decided that perhaps I should try to complete it in 3.30 hours. The sidekick and I, we were supposed to run together but she went ahead once we hit the trail head. I was a bit surprised she went that fast but I held back keeping to a slow 8 minutes pace. However, eventually I caught up with her along the long uphill leading to Rifle Range Road. Weather was fine and I had barely touched the water in my hydration bag. Took a sip of water at the water point outside ST Engineering before continuing along the boring road. I was feeling great though. Hit the Durian trail before exiting back to Rifle Range Road. At this place, there is a low metal gate across the entrance to Kampung Trail. Most runners walked over it. But 1 guy, he tried to be a hero and jumped over and landed with a big cramp on his leg and went down. A few of us stopped to check on him. He said he was okay but I was laughing inside. Don't be a smart aleck and do all sort of stunts while running!

But I laughed too soon. Coming out of the Kampung trail and crossing the last of the 2 drains, I stepped on a loose board and my whole ankle went kaput! A sharp pain shot out and I went shit! I stopped to walk a bit, flex the leg a bit. Seems okay and continued. The sidekick had by then caught up with me. We walked up the small little slope to the KTM trail. This is a new part of the route from the previous edition. It was flat and straight and I managed to run all the way although there was this niggling feeling. But when exiting this trail and going towards Dairy Farm, there was this down slope and the pain shot up with every downward step. I knew this was bad and this was when I started to contemplate giving up.

I told the sidekick to go ahead and I see how. Just before the toilet at Dairy Farm carpark, a friend was taking photograph and I accepted this as a sign for me to stop. If I had continue pass this point, I could have to continue till the end because the rest of the routes does not go near any road except Rifle Range Road and that was nearer to MR by foot than by car! 

So I DNF my first race with a lot of regrets and what's if.  What if I did not DNF and just run and walk all down slope. I am pretty sure I will still finish well within the cut of time. What if I had just got the medic to give me a spray and that together with the adrenaline from the race, should see me through? But I reasoned to myself that I have greater fish to fry in the coming year and I cannot afford to jeopardise them by taking unnecessary risks all to just complete this race especially since this was the same foot where I had my metatarsal stress fracture.

My wrapped up foot courtesy of the medic at the finish point and Brokenrunner's wrapped up palm. She fell at the start of the race and ran with her hand like this for the entire 50km!

Reached back MR just in time to see the sidekick completing the race with a PB as compared to the past 2. For me, another TNF Singapore that went to the dogs. But still it was great while it last. We stayed behind to take some photos of the runners, give moral support to friends before the rain and hunger drove us off.

Back to the race, with a new event organiser, this year's event went tremendously well without a hitch. Learning from the feedbacks from last year, this year there were big sign boards, distance market at every 10km. No stolen directional signs or not that I heard of anyway. Along Rifle Range road, there was proper road divider separating the runners from the cars and wide enough for 3 runners to run together. At MR, the start route was clearly blocked off to other park users. There were plenty of ushers to direct people. Weight in was orderly. Race starts on time. There were free ice cream, sandwiches, muffins, bananas, oranges, biscuits, water, isotonic drinks available. Ample supply even up to late afternoon. Certainly I will be very surprise if there are any complaints.

The first finisher, Ricky Lightfoot(?) from England, in the 100km receiving his prizes from Walter Tan, the General Manager of Outdoor Venture Pte Ltd.

Photos coming up real soon. 

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