Saturday, June 03, 2006

A tough 25km trail run & gearing up for Climbathon

Mt. Kinabalu Climbathon gear collected from Campers' Corner

With just 2 weeks to Phuket Marathon, it was to be a tapering weekend LSD of 25km at the MR25 25km Progressive Run route. I did not prepare much for this since it was expected to be just 25km. I had a small bowl of cereal and a banana before heading out to MacRitchie to meet the team of SgRunners and Climbathon runners. A big turnout today of more than 15, Alvo, RealRunner, Bug, DO, runalone, teelee, cfred, kops, Derrick, Jaime, Craig, taz, Cokiee, meteor, philip, yee shen, Rodney and myself. Other than our large group, there weren't too many other people around as it is usually the case on a Saturday. There was some kind of school running event going on however.

We started promptly at 7am, after Alvo gave a brief of the 25km route. We ran along Northern Route, and exited to SICC golf course in a respectable 22min. The team was running strong, and all were enjoying. We ascended the slopes at 'Chunky Hill' and Alvo pointed the 5km hilly trail path we would be taking on the return. RR ran on strongly after the 2 hills, and I followed behind to guide the rest onto the golf course skirting the reservoir. Ronnie, teelee and I soon reached the toilet at Upper Pierce Reservoir and had a break there. RR had moved ahead by that time. After the rest had gathered, we continued on into air-cond road. The air-condition was not that cool this morning, probably due to the warmth of the June month. We touched the gate at the end of air-cond road, and returned the same way. The group was keep close together as we turned left out from air-cond road into UPR. We did the 2 slopes with relatively ease, and soon reached the main gate into OUTR.

After a brief orientation to the new runners about the MR25 20km Progressive U-turn point, and the Animiles run along OUTR, I turned back with the rest and attacked the 2 slopes. Bug, Do and I had a nice little 'chiong-ing' exercise up the slopes and we ran at a quickened pace to return the the UPR toilets for our water stop. At that point, some of the other runners have gone their own way. When Kops and cfred arrived, we continued back along the golf course and onto Chunky Hill road again. After going up a slope, we turned right into Rifle Range Road. This portion is made up of sandy trails, with some parts a tad muddy. The way there was a lot more downslope, with a large drain which we had to navigate...fortunately, some steps have been carved out off the muddy slopes, which made our crossing a lot easier. After we crossed over, Alvo, runalone, teelee, DO and myself were running ahead, and climbing more upslopes. My legs were feeling a bit of strain by that time, since we had probably climbed 8 slopes by then.

We finally reached the end of Rifle Range and onto the metal road, next to the Military Camp. We continued on all the way, up more gentle slopes to the large bridge. Along the way, RR came on the return asking where the actual U-turn point was. Alvo later established that we probably ran an extra 1km by turning before the bridge. RR would have run an extra 1.5km, turning back after the bridge. Going back, it was more downslope, and I was striding along with teelee, at the same time recovering. I had taken a snickers bar at about the 15km mark...that was keeping my energy levels still ok. The return along the same way along Rifle Range road took a toll on my legs, as we had to climb a few steep, sandy slopes. teelee and runalone were running mostly alongside me. By the time we ended back onto metal road, I was quite drained. DO mentioned he will go back by the Northern Route, while the rest of us continued on towards the Ranger Station. We took a short break at the Ranger Station, met up with Ronnie, who joined us back along the very rocky Sime Trail, then Jelutong Tower. teelee and runalone were running just in front of me as we pounded the wooden bridge and then onto the trails and the road round the golf course. The sun was in full force by that time. I tried to run ahead to get out of the sun, and teelee and runalone joined me all the way. We took a short power-walk up the tree-roots area, before reaching the exercise area. I pointed to teelee and runalone the return route for the MR25 5km Time Trials route. teelee told me to run ahead, as he wanted to slow jog back. With about 3km left to the finish point, me and runalone made a quick-paced run along the shady trails, up 2 slopes, onto Lornie Trails, passing zig-zag bridge and finally reaching the end point at about 10am to cheers by our team-mates. We had taken about 2hr25min to cover the gruelling 26km...a good effort.

Distance Ran: 26km ____Time:2hr45min_____Pace:6:21min/km

Spent 3 hours here gearing up for Mt. Kinabalu Climbathon

It was a hard workout for all of us. We waited for the rest to be back, washed up, and then headed to Adam food Centre for nice prawn noodles. Bug's injury worsened, and we were discussing how to go about resting for his ITBS. DO and I had to leave earlier to rush down to Campers' Corner to meet Hamidah and the NTUC Climbathon team to select and collect some of our sponsored running gear and equipment. We took 3hours just to try out the long-sleeves running top, Montrail Shoes, x-training socks, gloves, camper's sack and sling. We had a fun time choosing the gear, and chatting about our upcoming prelims recce trip to Mt. Kinabalu in mid July. We will now have to run-in some of the equipement, especially the trail shoes, in preparation for the prelims, and eventually the finals on Oct 1. We are all looking forward to this Mt. Kinabalu Climbathon, which some say is the toughest mountain race in the world :)

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