Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Muddy Grass Run

The Mud Runners @ Muddy Grass Pipeline

The much anticipated Muddy Grass Run happened in very good weather, to the delight of many who went. RealRunner, Gentle, Brokie, leh-lio gal, Superboy, DO, Cheow12, teelee, Cokiee, ironman sci, Jamessoh, Freddy, SealBoon, Ronnie, tktan, stazla and Dream gathered at Lower Pierce Reservoir this Haru Raya holiday to stretch ourselves, as well as to explore new areas of running in x-country and trail routes. Renohtaram joined the group after his Mandai Zoo visit, and Ultraman (who completed his ninja Animiles run) crossed paths before we started off. Saw tekko and VRP gals arriving for their ninja training just as we were about to take off.

We started off along UPR towards OUTR at 7.15am in what could be considered very clear skies. All were chatty and in high spirits, looking forward to the forest adventure we would be encountering. Ran from OUTR to UTR, and turning into Mandai track passing The Executive Golf Course and driving range, all the way to Seletar Reservoir Tower, passing the scenic Seletar Reservoir. Renoh called to say he was along Mandai Road, and we arranged to meet at Upper Pierce Reservoir subsequently. We were soaking in the sights at about a 6:15min/km pace in this 'sight-seeing' run. This run was mapped out to show some interested runners how the 3 major Reservoirs are linked (with some secret trails included of course), as well as the myriad of trail routes for trekking all the way to Bukit Timah Reserve from Singapore's green lung and catchment areas.

The mysterious aura of the 'muddy' slopes

Back at the Mandai Golf driving range, we 'mysteriously' went through some old, abandoned range, coupled with a nice air-cond road, and leading to this ancient-looking pipeline ("Muddy Grass Pipeline"). It was secluded as we moved along that part of the forest, and some of us got real muddy there...hehe. After I recalled the correct way *snigger*, we ran along the more grassy patches, with a distinct trail to follow. The runners were pretty excited about that interesting discovery, and in a single file, meandered through some muddy grassland, along an 'active' stream. After some nice photo shots (thanks to Brokie who brought her 'baby'), we made our way out to civilization again, hitting Upper Pierce Reservoir...voila...how did we do that? hmm, must wait for tktan to re-confirm the route the next time...:). The whole group was sure glad to get out of that muddy place, and we proceeded to UPR toilet to meet with renoh. Bumped into the SAFRA MF group of Wong, Bug, PS, eh who were doing their own 'holiday' run... this was the group who had showed me all this wonderful routes when I first joined SAFRA MF...now its my turn to share that with my running kakis. We had covered approximately 12km up till that point. All were feeling very fresh still.

We continued on from LPR to the challenging part of the run; the Rifle Range trails, pipeline and road leading all the way to Bukit Timah Reserve (Visitor Centre). We skirted round the SICC Golf Course, and then entered the sandy and hilly Rifle Range trail. Jamessoh took his leave from that point, and the rest of us went for that additional 10km to/fro. This being part of the MR25 25km/30km/35km Progressive Run route was familiar to some of us, and it was always a challenge for us. The new runners who had joined us today seemed to be holding up very well...all very steady-paced runners, from the way they conquered those sandy slopes. We hit Rifle Range Road easily, and with popular consensus, we took the longer but less 'muddy' path to BKT. We ran along Rifle Range Road, pass the bridge, SAF Ammo Dump, and reached the trail entrance to BKT Visitor Centre. Took a short, but narrow tarmac path, about 1km to Bukit Timah Centre. We had a 10min break, and after some discussion, decided to try out Kampong Trail. The Park Ranger was amazed we we were going to run 30km+ through all these x-country terrain..he stared hard at me as if to say I was 'seow' to lead all these people to such a 'crazy' run...hahaha. By that time, most of us had consumed power gels, snack bars and what-not to refuel....heng arhh, we brought food...for the glycogen levels were pretty low by then.

After the re-fuel, we headed for parts of Kampong Trail, then exited to Rifle Range Road for the return. This time, it was a test of mental grit as the slopes going back were a lot steeper. Kudos to the group for taking those parts in their stride, and by the time they hit Rifle Range Road, there were some weary faces....of course lah, they would have run about 27km by then...wow! But there's more to go yah? Back along the final stretch of Rifle Range trail...this would be good endurance tests for the runners...tired hamstrings and calves screaming for some TLCs...haha... anyone stopped? no way... one by one, they went, still running steadily...wah, impressed sia! The final 2 slopes along Rifle Range trail proved to be the toughest test yet, as we had to continue to chugged up those pretty steep slopes...even walkers walking up were panting, not to mention running up. teelee and renoh were doing a good job of sweeping the rear, and we eventually finished back at the entrance, along chunky hill area. We would have covered 29-30km by then. We were all so happy, knowing that we conquered the difficult x-country parts...and for a few of us, it was the longest distance done yet, not to mention on such hilly terrain.

The final 2.5km back was the real test, as a marathon would only begin when we hit 30km. Quite a few of us must have secretly wished we could walk there and then, especially when faced with 2 chunky hills ahead...haha... who would have thought of such a route man? so many slopes? the SgRunners gritted their teeth and continued on, all in high spirits, knowing the end was near... I ran ahead and continued to encourage all to finish in good form...paced the final 500m with Brokie, closely chasing tktan... very strong, no sign of them losing steam...we finally crossed the finish (est. 32km) at 11:23am. The rest all came in within minutes. I could see the satisfaction in their faces, as all knew they have conquered the distance and 'trying' terrain.

We had a good round of 100plus and HL milk to reload. tri sci was so hungry he bought 2 bags of food and drinks, and finished them in about 5min flat...he could have eaten a cow if available then...haha....all had worked hard, and were famished...glycogen levels must have been real low by then...it was great that no one hallucinated, though someone (not to mention names) seemed to have hit an early wall, walking in the wrong direction earlier...hahaha. We had spent about 4hr running; good conditioning for the SCSM marathon. It was great fun and a nice run for me. I felt good throughout the run, probably because I was enjoying every bit of it...yes, including the 'muddy' bits. We adjourned to Sembawang Hills Food Centre for some well-deserved carbo-reloading, and some were already halfway to dreamland. There were those with still lots of reserves left to go and do support duties for ironman training, some to catch up on their books, a few of us with shopping duties...all these 'recovery' activities will serve us well no doubt :).

Distance: 32km X-Country__Time: 4hr10min

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At 10:24 PM, Blogger Renohtaram said...

thanks for organising this great run! :D

At 9:08 AM, Blogger Tekko said...

Look like you guys really had a lot of fun. When I saw you guys going off, I really wished I could be able to join you.


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