Sunday, February 03, 2008

MF Training @ MR

It has been a long time since the MF Runners gather at MacRitchie for training runs. I used to join SAFRA MF for such runs 2 years ago, and had been introduced to many of the interesting trails and scenic routes within the Reservoir area that I know today. MacRitchie is the regular training ground for the MR25 Runners, and some of us are members and do participate regularly in MR25 Progressive Runs, X-Country Marathon and Ultra-Marathon. Thanks to trainer Bug, we might do more of such training runs at MR in future, starting with the 24km one this morning.

It was to be Beverly's longest distance run, and at slopey MR trails to boot. She was nervous ahead of the run, and I did my best to mentally prepare her. It has never been a stroll at the undulating MR course, and I too was looking forward to have a good workout. A sizeable group of MF Runners had gathered by 7.20am....Bug, DO, Bev, Phei Sunn, Alber, Siew Lee, Wayne, Peter, Kok Kong, Zhi Wei, Jancy, Vincent and a few others from SAFRA Tampines as well as friends of Mf Runners. Bug gave a brief of the route, and we started off towards Northern route at 7.30am.

The initial pace was rather quick, and before Bev could catch her breath, the group was mostly in front, tackling the gravel trails. It was undulating, and runners had to be extra careful with their footing, taking quite a fair bit of effort. I was telling Bev to keep the front runners in her view, and to take smaller steps up those initial slopes. We exited Northern Route in 25min...quite fast actually for a 24km trail run. Along chunky hill we all went, and as the runners gingerly tackled the steep slope along SICC Golf Course, I could only hear the sounds on footsteps and some heavy breathing. All did very well in the end, as we proceeded towards scenic Upper Pierce Reservoir.

Took a water stop at UPR toilets, and along with Bev, we headed into air-cond road. It was a nice 2.8km in and out, before we approached more slopes along UPR road till the Main Gate meeting Old Upper Thomson Road (OUTR). The runners were chugging along rather well, and Bev was trying to recover with more steady breathing. We made a right turn along OUTR towards Casuarina Prata area. It became more familiar to Bev, as we used to visit the place for nice makan. I also explained that we had ran portions of the aniMILES and Prata routes...hehe. With 1km to go, we picked up speed and reached Lower Pierce Reservoir (LPR) toilet for a mid-point break.

All looked fresh to go, as we tackled the remaining half of the distance back. Along OUTR, we saw the 'Fatal Accident' sign of the recent fatal car crash of 2 poly students along the route. I shouted to the front to be more careful, as this stretch of OUTR often have cars speeding...lots of cyclists too. Bev was complaining of the toughness of the course....worse than GE20km slopes...haha...I know it is a mental challenge for most of us. More so, I asked her not to stop, but to proceed steadily. I ran ahead after the Main Gate, back along 2 more slopes, into the air-cond road once more. Siew Lee, Wayne, Bev and the rest all went for another loop too...well done.

The final 5.5km back along Golf Course, Chunky Hills and then Northern Route was the real test for most of the newer runners. It was here that many had to stop to walk up the slopes...but then it is understandable, as they would have been quite drained off glycogen by then. Still, all the mf runners, including Bev did very well by walking very little, and jogging through the tough portions. Once I saw them enter the Northern Route, I knew they would have no more problems completing. I made my own way back the remaining 4km, enjoying the cool weather and relatively 'tourist-free' pathway this morning. The only annoying thing was the sharp rocks which have made the trails a lot harder to run, and causing discomfort through my relatively thin DS Trainer.

Near the end, I could even feel a tightness in my not a terrain to play around...haha. We were rewarded with delicious 'Sng Muay' Sng Pow, cut fruits, and 100-plus...many thanks to Siew Lee, Wayne and Peter. I took 2 Sng Pows...Beverly too. It was heavenly, and made the hard work all well worth it. Lots of happy chatting, and some even asked for more hills...haha. Not to worry, there are always the Rifle Range and Bukit Timah ranges to go for...will let trainer Bug plan them in progressively. Overall, a good experience for all, and Bev was happy she completed the 25km run, taking 3hours. I think it was not an easy run at all, and all who finished it should be proud of themselves. After a quick wash-up, some of us went to the usual Adam Food Centre for Prawn Noodles and the yummiclious teh alia.

Distance: 25km XC__Time: 2hr30min__Pace: 6min/km

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