Sunday, January 27, 2008

SAFRA Tampines Location Run 2008

Courtesy David Poh @ Tampines SAFRA

SAFRA Tampines fired the first salvo for 2008 with the SAFRA Location Run series...a 15km familiarization of part of the Sundown connector route near Tampines/Bedok Reservoir on Sunday. I haven't been to SAFRA Tampines for some time already, and with a wrong turn, I was circling around the Tampines area for a bit...finally got there on time at 7am.

Quite a crowd had gathered from the Toa Payoh, Mt. Faber and Tampines branches of the SAFRA Running Club...even the newly formed Yishun branch was represented through SiYi and her team. Went around looking for familiar faces, and chatted with TarePanda, SealBoon, Wong, etc. After the customary group photos, we set off into the fresh morning air along Bedok Reservoir. Divey came up to chat about her recent GE30k and running adventures...hmm, she is really slim and trim now, didn't look one bit sick although she was still nursing a flu. Good to meet with Benson, albeit for a very short while. As we entered into the Park Connector, I spoke to quite a number of fresh faces, and made connections.

At one of the stops, had the chance to meet with Rusty of KL fame...quite a pleasant surprise to know she had joined the SAFRA Running family. She is a humble runner, with strong potential, and doing very well at races. DO, myself and Rusty ran for quite a long stretch, stopping for milo-looking Endurance-mix and Sng Pow (the famous ones from Shirlyn...hehe), and generally talking about training and races in KL and Singapore. Also found out from Rusty that the series of rolling hills along the Industrial Area is known as the Hartamas area...*shudder*, *respect*...that and the double hill are the regular training ground for these Malaysian runners; no wonder they were swiping all the records at hilly GE30km.

We finished the run at 9.15am, a full 2-hrs for an estimated 15km distance. The sun was just coming out, and everyone was happy to just grab a can of cold 100plus and go to the shade for some cooling down. We gathered for a round of stretching led by Sam, and then went for very delicious Bat Koot Mee at the nearby Bedok Food Centre...very happening area. The kopi was very nice as well. Will find time to go back for their other famous delicacies like Kway Chap.

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Saturday, January 26, 2008

SgRunners' Banana Relay

SgRunners @ Banana Relay 2008

The Banana Relay Mascot

In the course of our serious training runs and competitive races, it is good to take some time out to 'slack' and do some fun and social runs, to enjoy ourselves and get to know more folks in the running community who share a common passion and sometimes, vision as us.

The SgRunner's Relay was one such event, mooted by IronmanDreamer, to promote the 'spirit' of running for fun...hehe. When I first heard about it, I didn't know what to expect, and didn't sign up immediately as I usually do for other runs. As the date got nearer, I found that there was a good buildup of very new runners who have signed up, and I thought it was good for me to participate and join in the fun as well....anyway, what harm could a banana do yah?

Went down to ECP near MacD with xdd and tktan. Immediately bumped into loon, Meteor, Alvo and then TarePanda. Was surprised to see Tey of Pacesetters fame who travelled from KL to Sing overnight just to come support the race, and take photos for the whole event *salute*

It was nice to meet up with so many lively and energetic SgRunners....soon found my Team C members, katlai and spore_striker. Took a nice photo, and began chatting about our lah, just run and more importantly, look good at the finish :). Nike was there, sponsoring nice goodies, and organizing a shoe trial. Got myself the latest Air Pegasus, which had good forefoot cushioning...thanks to Duane and Sacha for the recommendations.

Lots of good food, fruits, milo and isotonic drinks were laid out. The mods were all busy getting the teams in place. IMD gave a clear brief, and the race started at about 8am. It was more like a carnival atmosphere as we chatted, got to know new people, while waiting for our team-mates to return. Then it was my turn to take over the banana from spore_striker. Sling_Runner had earlier returned in a crazily fast time for the 3km lap. It was tough for me to chiong from a cold start, but I managed to keep a steady pace, waving to those who were on opposite sides. Prata was not too far from me, and I heard that he fell into a drain on the return leg while beo-ing some chop-chop...haha...of course he told me he was trying to overtake me, and missed the drain...not very believable lah...haha.

I finished my lap in about 13min...went for nice iced milo, walked around, chit-chatted even more, and cheered for those coming back...many spectacles and stories, which I will leave to the others to explain more. I was soaking in the 'fun' atmosphere and food, as the sun was emerging. The second lap had me trailing Prata, and I was contented to just maintain that distance as he powered away. It was good to see Passion pacing meimei, Taz and his team at the u-turn point, many of the new runners smiling as they were completing the final leg...all very happy. I ensured there weren't people around me as I finish slowly, holding out my banana as evidence of a satisfying end to our banana relay conquest :)

Gathered my team for a good finisher photo, and on for more milo and 100plus. All the teams finished by 10am+. We gathered to cut a bdae cake for Freddy, followed by medal presentation to the teams. My team returned a respectable mid 13th position, and vowed to do even better for the next 'fruits' run...haha. The team of Freddy, Kayano and NamSong returned as inaugural Banana Champions...well done! Each team was presented with a very nice finisher's medal, Nike sports towel and squirt bottle. Lucky Draw was conducted, and the lucky couple turned out to be Alvo & Meteor.

By the end of the event at 11.30am, each of us had medals and goodies to take home in remembrance of such a 'happening' run with a unique relay format. Those who had trialed the Nike shoes and were happy with the performance, was given a pleasant surprise...thanks! I hope this is only the first of the 'fruits' run...hmm, I saw water-melons being served...can that be the theme next? someone mentioned durian on the way... LMAO.gif

Some of the newer batch of runners like TarePanda, StarDust and DeepCruiser were beo-ing the SgRunners running kit some of us had on, and they implore the committee to look at having another new sets for sale, with the latest taglines, and of course, some 'sexy' and distinctive colours...well, lets hope their prayers will be answered rolleyes.gif

Overall, a most enjoyable and memorable run....well done SgRunners!

Photo Album from Tey

Photo Slideshow from jjch

Photo Slideshow from Brokie

Photo Slideshow from Passion

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

GE30K Recovery

My hamstrings were still tight and sore 3 days after the hilly GE30km run on Sunday. Went down to NUS Hills to meet with xdd, tktan, Passion, DO, DeepCruiser, StarDust, Freddy, Wendy, dkw for a recovery run at NUS Hills....madness....haha. Just as well, since Wendy, StarDust and Deep have yet to be christened and were looking forward to be certified :)

As all were early, we took the Haw Par Villa route, and as usual, got a good workout up the steep Vigilante Drive. It always makes my heart pump hard going up that hill...sweat broke...good! When the group had gathered, we moved along swiftly down Kent Ridge, and then along Science Park Drive. I took a short break, and continued on with Passion, Freddy and tktan.

Then it was along the Prince George Park's slopes....didn't feel so steep (after the 30km experience) haha....we bunched up, and before long, I could see wendy running very steadily up the last part of PGP. Gave a final push, and we were up the slopes looking down, and cheering the rest. Passion also looked very strong this evening, steadily chugging up the PGP slope with baby-steps. Wendy was determined to finish off the final 4km and get the coveted NUS Hills Run certificate.

The final bit was smooth and fast for all. Reached back to Guild House with a good workout, and treated to cut fruits and 100plus, thanks to the organizers tktan and xdd. StarDust nary broke a sweat, but still was happy to complete and be certified. The gals were jubilant as they found the course not as tough as before. Deep was happy with a wide grin. The rest of us were satisfied, and decided to reward ourselves with Taiwanese fare along the Pasir Panjang area. I liked the Taiwanese Beef noodles and 'Jiao Zhi' (dumpling). Lots of group photos, before proceeding to the carpark for quite an elaborate a certificate presentation ceremony. Well done, NUS Hill Runners!

Passion's Photo Slideshow

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Sunday, January 20, 2008

GE Pacesetters 30km 2008

The Car Journey

3 cars assembled at SAFRA MF and drove off at 7pm to RV with a 4th car near APB, for my first night drive to KL for a run. After crossing the Tuas CP, we headed straight for our seafood dinner at Gelang Patah. Adam had pre-ordered crabs. That began the makan parade for the next 2 days. We took more than an hour to devour lots of seafood, before realizing it was late, and we had to rush. With PS and Alber taking the steering on the MPV, we zoomed ahead in the dark of the night, but still it was nowhere near the speed if we had travelled in the day. By the time we reached the Coronade Hotel, it was 2am. Halfway through our baths, we realized that there was no water due to the bursting of water pipes in the previous day. I was so poofed from the long drive that I knocked off at 3am without bathing....

Day 2 (Makan & Shopping)

I woke up at 9am, only to find out there was still no water. Then received a call from DO to say that we were contemplating shifting hotels...*shudder*...I was concerned that our plans would go awry...after some pow-wow, we decided to stay put and hope for the best. Off we went to Jalan Alor for some very expensive Wanton Mee...but the Char Siew was very good (in my opinion). Did a lot of roaming after that, and visited the new shopping centres, but ended up eating more dessert at Food Republic. Met the bunch of SgRunners shopping for foodstuff, and advised some of them to get large bottles of water as backup. Met Andy, who had to shout at me a few times before I could recognize him...all because of his geeky specs lah...haha.

The 'Happening' Food Alley - Jalan Alor

A large group of SAFRA MF and SgRunners gathered at the hotel lobby at 6pm for a parade down Jalan Alor to the recommended restaurant...W.A.W. We had to occupy 5 tables, and we had so much to eat that we had to offer food to the other tables. Again, we had frog legs...hehe. After the feast, we walked along the street to look for the famed 'Rainbow Sago'....we sent out a recce force to test a certain stall, and eventually found the 'one'. It was not bad, the Rainbow Lolo, and other types of Lolo....hoho....We took some nice photos, walked a little to look for foot massage, before splitting up from the main group and went on to...u guessed it right...San Francisco Cafe for more drinks and light

Back to the hotel at 10pm. Pinned up the bib and prepared the fuel belt. Was still wondering what to do with the wrongly printed race T (instead of 30km, I got a men's T that said 10km). Brokie, DO, xdd and a few others also had this problem. By that time,clean water supplies had resumed at the hotel...we could clean up and sleep easy. By the time I got to bed, it was 12am.

Race Day

Woke up at 4am, and really feeling the effects of 2 nights of sleep deprivation. Went down to the lobby at 4.45am, and the bus was all ready to take us to the start point. We did a rough count, and estimated to have 90 runners from Singapore needing to go from Coronade to the start. I joined the first convoy of mini buses which took 15min. At the race site, it was time for group photos and queue-ing at the loo. Bought a box of PowerGels at very good price, with 2 extra packs thrown in as bonus. Spent lots of time chatting with familiar faces, mainly Singapore didn't do any warm-up nor stretching at all.

The race started unexpectedly at 6am, and all shuffled forward only to meet the first of the many uphill climbs of the day. Expecting this to be a hilly route, I have chosen to run conservatively. Spotted some familiar faces like Ee Ah Seng, Roda who were running close by. The first 4km was through the quiet housing estate, and as I was navigating yet another upslope, someone tapped me on the was Prata...haha...he offered to run ahead to place orders of Prata for me at the halfway point...:)

There were ample water points along the way, but distance markers were almost non existent. I just ran as I felt, without regard to pace nor time. A series of uphill climbs after 5km, and the huffing n puffing began. The weather was cool and the sky was still dark when I finished the first 10km, ending back near the Lake Garden Park. I felt I ran longer, but it was just close to 10km.
It was then just a blur as I tackled more slopes, eventually entering the industrial area. It was here that I met so many familiar faces, SAFRA runners, SgRunners, MR25 Runners, PaceSetters and also some old running kakis.

Finally! Way out from the rolling slopes @ Industrial Area

The industrial stretch was really 'mental', with its many rolling hills, and it even had a slight change of U-turn point, with even more upslopes. Alan Chao and I thought for a moment we went the wrong way. Because I brought my own gel-mix this time, I kept the Powergel that was provided. It was a long way out back to the main highway....and I could see many tired faces in the midst. My legs felt tired, as I chugged along.

Once out from the industrial area, it was more upslopes and with about 7km left to go, I started to push the pace a little. I was happy to finally spot a distance marker...'4km To Go' time was showing 2hr25min then. At the final 3km mark, I passed a few familiar 20km runners like Passion, Jaime, Yean, Adam...didn't see Bev though. Told them to push on for a bit more, as i did my best to maintain momentum. After the final long upslope, I was into the Park entrance. I opened up my steps, and put up a decent pose for the finish in 2hr46min. This was a good 7min off my 2007's time of 2hr39min....wah, either I have slacked, or the course was tougher. I felt that it was a tough workout, and many of my fellow runners agreed.

PassionRunner's farewell race...*next at Sundown*

Some of the speedsters like Bug, StarDust did very fast times. Prata did well with 2hr45min. Bev completed her 20km in a respectable 2hr16min. I had 4 cups of iced milo....yummy... Gathered around near the finish line chit-chatting and taking lots of group photos. Had a very good Japanese Buffet at the Equatorial Hotel before driving back to Singapore, reaching home at 8pm. This was one very tiring KL trip for me.

Distance: 30km__Time: 2hr46min__Pace: 5:32min/km

Photo Slideshow from Brokie's Cam

Photo Slideshow from Passion's Cam

Photo Album from Tey's Cam

Photo Album From MF Runner's Cam

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

First NUS Hill in 2008

Went for a warm-up run at NUS Hills Wed evening, ahead of the weekend's GE30km. A good turnout, and quite early too, all ready to test out the NUS slopes, which served as a good indication of the double hill, rolling slopes and longish hills to be experienced in KL. When I arrived at Guild House with DO, Brokie, Vincent, xdd, dkw, Passion, kk, wend88 were already all changed and ready. tktan came a tad later, followed by IMD joggin in from his place 3km away.

We started promptly at 6.45pm to be in time to climb the first slope at Haw Par Villa. A good run-up to warm up the tired legs at the end of a hard day at work. Without stopping, the group proceeded along the quite enclave of private housing and out onto 99-winding road, and up the 'killer' Vigilante Drive. It was a good run-up for those who were expecting the slopes, while a 'new' experience for the first-timers. Suffice to say, all were pumped up at the top, car-park area. Away we jogged down into Kent Ridge Park for a nice breather, and as usual, I took a quick water stop at the Science Park gym.

As all were anxious to move along, we carried on along Science Park Rd and turned back onto Buona Vista Rd. DO, xdd and wend88 took another route to meet us along the PGP slopes later. dkw, kk, Vincent, IMD and the rest of us ran along the series of NUS slopes, culminating with the PGP slopes at the end. I felt quite good actually, as was encouraged to see all the first-timers and old-timers enjoying these slopes alike. It was a very good workout indeed.

Passion ran up the PGP strongly, after a short walk break...bravo. From there, I moved on to show Vincent the remaining 4km of the 12km xdd/tktan-certified NUS Hill Route (Level 3). Vincent was conservative and reserving some energy, which served him well in the end. We finished up at the Guild House strongly, feeling quite good. The rest were not far behind, and all gathered to enjoy the nice reward of 100plus and cut-fruits, courtesy of xdd, tktan and dkw....thanks.

The highlight of the NUS Hill Run...the NUS Hill Makan! It was a great 7-course tzi char selection, all medium sized, topped with very thick fish-maw soup....very nice. I was stuffed, even without finishing all the rice. We had a good time discussing the various alternatives of even more challenging NUS Hill routes, and planning for some of the upcoming sundown Marathon training and familiarization runs. Overall, a very enjoyable evening run, which took off quite a fair bit of stress from the daily grind.

Photo SlideShow

Distance: 12km__Time: 1hr15min__Pace: 5:50min/km

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Inaugural 'Prata' Run

In preparation for The Sundown Marathon, there have been a series of runs mooted and planned for by like-minded running kakis who need good, long training runs as a group. The Prata Run was one such offering...started by who else, but Prata of SgRunners lah...haha.

It was to start on Friday night and have us running approximately 30km with 3 planned Prata pit-stops to actually eat Prata to refuel and run, simulating race night conditions :). It rained from 5pm, but still a sizeable group proceeded to the meeting point at MacRitchie ...Prata, DeepCruiser, GuguGaga, StarDust, SealBoon, RoadRunner, tohmin, xiaopang, babumouse were already there when I arrived at 7.30pm. Brokie, Vincent and PassionRunner came close to 8pm, and with a short brief by Prata, off we went.

The rain had stopped, and the cool night welcomed us. We moved along Thomson Road smoothly, and the speed was pretty fast for a start. We reached Casuarina Prata in 30min, and Deep had already placed orders for 4 prata kosong to be shared....that set the base for the next phase which was to be a much longer journey, all the way to Jalan Kayu. After the quick makan, drinks and photo shots, we were off along Upper Thomson Road, then turning right towards Seletar Camp.

I was with Prata, Passion and tohmin covering the rear....and even that was at a fast pace of about 5:30min/km. Passion seemed pretty strong and running quite fast....if she could slow down a little, she would be able to do very well over longer distances. tohmin was preparing for his 2nd Marathon, and was soaking in all the mileage he could get. Prata and I were just enjoying ourselves with conversations about Sundown and prata in general...hehe.

As we ran towards Orchid Country Club, I was following Deep and Seal from across the road. It was after a long time before we finally reached the end of Yishun Dam, for a RV....I ran past 2 ice-cream vans, and was tempted to stop to get some ice...but since the rest weren't with me, the interest waned after a while. From the Dam, we proceeded at very fast pace into Seletar Air Base, and then after 3-4km of fast running, we finally reached Jalan Kayu Prata stall. It was 10.35pm by then...missing our target by a full hour.

We had prata of many kinds....I took a Cheese Prata....even took a Blue concoction, which tasted like medicine...yucks! It was great fun to eat a whole Prata (some even had 2 pieces), drinking 100plus, Bandung, teh tarik, Blue Water, Lychee drink, and cracking jokes and chit-chatting. After the satisfying meal, we took a walk break along Jalan Kayu out to Yio Chu Kang Road. Brokie & Vincent even had time to do a little 'shopping' while a group of fancy roller-bladers glided by...they will be really good support crew for Sundown Marathon, I thought....haha. tohmin bade farewell when we reached the junction, and the group turned right to run the 6km stretch of Yio Chu Kang Road towards Casuarina. The Cheese Prata gave me some good energy, and I was able to maintain a steady pace. the road seemed so long...and I was feeling slightly sleepy when it passed midnight. After what seemed like eternity, I finally saw the Casuarina Junction...happy! I reckoned we would have covered 25km by then. The time was already 12.30am.

We waited a little for the rest to come. With 4km back to MR, we took in a deep breath, and steadily pushed towards the end. Passion was still running strong, and Prata as usual, was covering the rear...he is really a very good Pacer and Back-Coverer...if there's such a term...haha. With 2km to go, I picked up speed and ran all the way back to MR. My time showed 12.50am. I quickly sent a SMS home, before gathering to share with the group about the run, and also injury prevention and Deep Tissue Massage. It was a good run, heavenly makan, coupled with immaculate weather....I thoroughly enjoyed it....I will now rest, and taper off for next weekend's Pacesetters' GE30km.

Distance: 30km__Time: 4hr50min__Pace: Fartlek-ed

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The Sundown Marathon: MyPaper Coverage

MyPaper in its inaugural issue of the bi-lingual version on Jan 8, 2008, did a coverage of The Sundown Ultra-Marathon and provided good advice from the experienced runners like Elangovan, Vivian Tang, Dr. Ben Tan and Adrian Mok on being prepared for a Ultra-Marathon, and why such a distance (84km) have to be treated with respect. I shared my 2-cents worth too, from a runner enthusiast perspective, who had done a couple of 42.195km marathons :).

The Full Article

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Sunday, January 06, 2008

MR25 Progressive Run Series 2008 - 10km

I have been a MR25 member for 3 years, and yet have not done the 10km and 15km Progressive Runs. The 10km being the first in the Progressive Run Series for 2008 was also the final one for me to make my quota of 4 Progressive runs for a nice T-Shirt....anything for a T-Shirt, as they say...haha.

Having just finished ChiangMai Marathon last Sunday, and with the upcoming GE30km on Jan 20, I was planning to take this run easy, and soak in the competitive atmosphere, typical of MR25 runs :). Registered at 6.45am, and was pleased to get the nice bib....the run bibs this year for MR25 are very nicely designed, and serves as a collector's item for sure. Met up with many familiar faces like kk, Gentle, Prata, DO, Alvo, Ultraman, RealRunner, Raven, SealBoon, cfred, Neo and chatted for a good bit about our recent races...the crowd at MR25 races is definitely growing, and there were at least 80 people this morning (though about 60+ actually registered).

Brokie, as usual, trotted in just a minute to race start....a quick brief by Stephen Lim, and off we went. The Cheetahs and Leopards all chionged ahead....I started a little faster this morning too, in a bid to get warmed up in the cool, crisp air. Didn't see Kayano, Passion and the other seow and passionate runners...hehe. I settled into the race after about 2km, with Neo overtaking me. I could see cfred and Prata going strong in front. After a series of ups and downs, I came out from the approx. 4km Northern Route in 19min+...ok, regular race speed. Then it was up those chunky slopes, and could see the first runner coming back from the U-turn ahead. RR turned first, then TLR, then Ultra, followed by cfred, Prata and the rest.

I was focused in going up those didn't spend too much time cheering or waving at runners coming back. The U-turn was at the entrance to Rifle Range route....I took a quick gulp of water, before moving on. Gentle was just next to me then. I was feeling quite fresh, and was still conserving till I finished all the slopes...haha, kiasu lah. When I hit the entrance back into Northern Route, DO was telling me not to slack, and that the rest were way ahead of me. I did pick up speed a little from there, and moved quicker back along Northern the process, overtook a few other slowing runners.

Saw Sotong and Roonz on their ninja training, and they shouted for me as we ran past one another. I gave a wave, and moved on to finish up the final 2km. I was just trailing an Indian runner all the way to the end...finished in 46min35sec. I reckon the route was a tad shorter than 10km, probably 400m less, based on my feel and timing. Many of the runners felt the same way too.

It was an enjoyable run for me, and I was happy when Vincent mentioned we could keep the bibs. Chatted with the rest who came back earlier...cfred, Ultra, RR, Raven, Prata, kk, GuguGaga...first time meeting GuguGaga...nice guy. Prata was all excited about the upcoming Prata Run trial, and we were busy jio-ing people to join in. I had intended to run extra mileage after the 10km, but was caught up with all the yakking...and since all were lazy to do more, I too slacked...haha. It was great fun...and I did kill 2 birds with 1 stone, as Gentle rightfully suggested. Went home early, with lots of time to file this report, and do some CNY shopping lo :)

Distance: 10km XC__Time: 46min35sec__Pace: 4:40min/km

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Thursday, January 03, 2008

NBRR07 Cert arrived

hmm...quite a slow timing for 15km...but it was quite a fun run lah :)

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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Chiang Mai Marathon 2007

My maiden Chiangmai Marathon 2007

Race Expo

Took a 20min walk on Saturday from Star Hotel to the Race Expo site at Tapae Gate. Registration booths and tentages were just being set up as we arrived. The atmosphere was relaxed as many of the runners got together to chat and find out what's happening. Vincent and Brokie were helping to get our registrations together, as records of pre-registrations were not captured effectively. We took the opportunity to try out the race running top....very bright colours!

With the Race Organizer @ CMM Race Expo

There was also a mini sports bazaar being set up, and we got down to our bargaining and ended up with quite a few good deals. I also had the good opportunity to take a photo with the Race organizer...a friendly chap who could do with more experienced helpers though. We were not really in a hurry...and when we finally got our goodie bags, it was time for us to go back to Same Same Cafe (a Singaporean-run cafe) to get some local fare and complete booking of the Adventure Tours for post-race recovery :).

Spent the rest of the day shopping at the Airport Central Shopping Centre, followed by more at the Night Bazaar just outside of our hotel. Had a good carbo-loading steamboat dinner before retiring to bed at 10pm.

Race Day

Slept for 2hrs, woke up weary-eyed, but managed to get ready in a jiffy. Took a muffin, and went down to the Hotel Lobby. Stepped outside and felt that the air was chilly. I went back to get my poncho, and informed DO and FIL to do the same. Together with Bug, the 4 of us did the 15min walk to Tapae Gate, start point of the Chinag Mai Marathon. The place was just coming alive, with tentages being set up, and just beginning to be manned....haha, we must have been too early....apologies. Met familiar MR25 members, and aslo SgRunners who were there for the full marathon. We were feeling cold, and I was quitely hoping I could last in that kind of condition. My legs were feeling quite tired with all the walking of the previous 2 the mindset was to go out and enjoy the run....was already thinking of the Japanese spread after the race....hehe

First 10km
The race started without much fanfare...there were 2 specially dressed runners. Bug and DO went ahead, with me following from behind. As we run by the canal, the ladyboys of the night were just going off shift and they waved at us to show support....and of course there was some teasing and cajoling by the brought some lighter moments in the initial stage of the run. I was running alongside a couple, and I kept pace at about 5:30min/km. Saw the 2km marker and was surprised to see my elapsed time to be, cannot be that slow right? I picked up speed a little, and cruised ahead of the couple. Saw the 4km marker and settled back at 5:20min/km pace....hmm, the distance markers were problematic.

Went to the side of the road for my first 'leak'...the cold weather really made it quite difficult to get warmed up. I started to perspire a little only after 5km...very little...saw that couple and then Brokie overtaking them. I ran up, and chatted with Brokie from the 6km mark....Brokie mentioned she would keep that pace till she could not hold out....good pace though. We were running along the highway by then, and I estimated I reached the 10km mark in about 52min. Good thing about such cool weather is that one can go faster without feeling the 'heat'...haha. We ran along a Ang Moh gal, and Brokie chatted with her while I tailgated for a bit.

It was pretty dark along the highway...good thing the slow traffic flow. We could see DO about 200m in front, along with another 2 runners. I went ahead of brokie after about 12km to keep closer to DO and the other runners. After a series of U-turns along the highway, we came to a circus area, and entered into a dark place...I could hardly see where I was going....just following DO and the front people. A cycling marshall came along to try to shine a torch for me, but it was still too dark. I ran past a turning point, but was fortunate he shouted at me to turn back. Saw DO and 2 lady runners, along with the local guy who had caught up. I decided to trail the local guy...and kept up with his faster pace. Into the park was a series of bends, passing places with names like 'Kenya', 'China' etc.

Down the slopes, and I saw Bug in his focused look running up....he was in good shape and time. I had reached the 21km mark in about 1hr52min...there were no km markers after 10km, or rather I never saw I was just estimating distances based on time and pace. The run in the Park seemed endless and was dark, and many were running around like lost souls. After the U-turn and up the slopes, I overtook DO to keep pace with the runner in front....told DO I had a serious case of nipple abrasion after the 15km mark....DO too had suffered from abrasion. When I finally got out of the Park, first light had come....I was happy to increase the speed to overtake the local guy...he perked up when he saw me, and gave chase for a good 2km along the highway. There was finally a fruits station a distance out of the Park, and I took 2 slices of water-melon....that was good. From there on, it was just running along what felt like an endless highway, with no signs of any distance markers and race officials.

I looked occasionally to ensure the local guy was still behind, although he seemed to be slowing down. My timing was good at that point and I was confident of getting a PB if I get the route correct. Both my nipples were bleeding, but I did not let that distract me...the race bib was also getting quite torn up because of its poor material (I later realized my race bib was flipped up when I crossed the finish line). I ran and I ran....but still, I had no idea what distance nor where to go....but I felt good and I knew I had a good pace. I finally lost the local runner, and i was just all alone along a highway. A wrong turn could send me to timbuktu...haha. After a long time, I finally spotted an arrow pointing left...I slowed to investigate, and then 1 guy ran from the other side of the road to ask me to cross....wah, there were some vehicles moving across....quite dangerous man. They could not tell me what distance nor how much more to go....language problems...I continued cautiously along the direction they pointed me, hoping it would not be a wrong turn.

The Lost km
After quite a while, I finally spotted a drinks station....wahaha....I was elated. There was a biker with helmet that looked like a foreigner....finally someone who could tell me where I was...he was clapping to show support....and finally, he told me what I was wanting to know....7km to end point. Wow...time check for me then was 3hr15min....I thought I had only 6km to go at worst. So I was still within PB time, but had no more buffer. I could not slow down...good thing was I had no feeling of any tightness nor cramps developing....quite good....the cool weather might have helped. Another 2km onwards, I spotted 2 runners....finally, could see some runners...I overtook them...and with 4km to go, I was feeling good. Then a drinks station, and an official told me '5km to go'...I was like 'Huh? 4km mah?'....I ran ahead and asked 2 runners....they said they were 21km runners...wah lau, I was totally confused....was I even running the right route?

I continued on, slowing to check with 2 more 21km runners, and was 'lost'. I slowed down and thought of what to do....I knew that the PB was a goner....I was just concerned with finding the finish line at Tapae Gate....served me right for not even looking at the race route map, and not having any local knowledge at all....was as blind as a bat....haha. I ran and I ran....and then I was running along the familiar canal...heh, was i near? I recalled the canal this morning where the Ladyboys were...but, but, was I on the correct side? There were some barricades and arrows....should I cross or not? I ran forward, crossed over, ran backwards...then ran forward confused can a runner get? haiz. I contemplated DNFing if I could not find any signs by the 4hr mark. I looked all around as I ran cautiously....somehow there were no other runners around leh....

The Final 2.195km
Finally, I saw a familiar looking arrow showing a right turn....I turned, but still could not see any signs of Tapae Gate....I increased pace as time was running out...then I saw some familiar looking flags....I moved up only to be disappointed....more to go....finally saw 2 more runners, walking....very was an Ang Moh who was shouting at a marshall....seeing that the marshal's signal that the end is near, I ran fast to overtake the flabbergasted Ang Moh, and overshot the final turn...haha....quickly chionged left back onto the cobbled road, and finally could see the sea of yellow flags and the finish banner. Time check was 3hr50min...aiya, no point liao....I slow run to a nice finish, with my arms raised from 50m...must still look good yah? Official photographers snapped away as I crossed in 3hr51min...collected finisher's medal, before realizing my bib was flipped over when official could not read my number for the a drama.

The finish line in 3hr51min

Beverly, Elaine and Eugene cheered and took photos. I complained a little about the distance markers and confusing route, before being shown by Rosemary to collect my finisher's T...thanks. A packet of miserable-looking chicken rice was given to the finishers....yikes! The finisher's medal and T were nice though...I went back to end point to welcome back the rest of the runners and to take photos for our running kakis. Bug did very well at 3hr26min to win 3rd prize. DO came back in 4hr after getting lost in the Park for a bit...really bad route marking and marshalling. Brokie and Vincent did very well though in 4hr14min and 4hr20min. Doreen, Fennel, tktan all suffered from ITB problems midway, but still managed to complete in 4hr+. My FIL did a very respectable 5hr41min despite not having any sleep the previous niight, and feeling out of sorts.

Rewarded with a 'fancy' Finisher's T

SgRunners @ CMM Finish

We all gathered for some nice group photos, before proceeding back for our post-race rewards - The Japanese/International buffet spread, followed by the next few days of white-water rafting and All-Terrain vehicle adventures. It was a very good experience for me to run in a cool weather, starting at 4am, not feeling any cramps, no soreness nor DOMS after the race, and generally feeling good about the whole was only the poor route marking and marshalling that did me in, but that is a separate matter.

Gun Time: 3hr51min
Weather : Cool/Cold
Route: Not interesting, Very little markers, very dark
Organization: Poor
Rest & Recreation: Very Good - Highlight of the trip

Official Race Results

Race Day Slideshow

Pre-Race SlideShow

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