Friday, March 21, 2008

Sundown Progressive Run #2: The Prata Run

This second Sundown Progressive Run attracted a larger crowd of about 30 runners, all gathered at East Coast Parkway carpark B1 at 10.30pm. Many of the 84-kmers have been looking to this training run to progressively build up their mileage. A number of SAFRA MF runners like Jimmy and Raymond had joined us. Mohan and his friends were also new faces. A good opportunity for me to try the new ASICS compression long tights which had just arrived the morning. I also packed along 2 powergel-mix and 2 small pieces of raisin bread. Blink Blink was added on for good measure in the night.

Due to some unforseen circumstances, the leader of the run, Prata could not be at the run. Nevertheless, we decided to go ahead with the planned route, so arduously inspired and painstakingly put together by Prata. RoadRunner3 and Raven gave a briefing of the route and the 4-5 Prata stops, and away we went at about 10.45pm. I ran at a comfortable 6:30min/km pace, mainly at the rear of the pack, chatting with TarePanda, FBB and Raven. Along Nicholl Highway, TarePanda did not feel too well, and had to call it an early night...hope she is feeling much better. After a little confusion with that first part of the route, we arrived at the first pit-stop at Zion Road kopi-tiam after about 7km and 45min.

The group continued on to the next stop at Botanic Gardens, about 8km away. I was feeling comfy with the comp tights, although it did look weird on me...haha. It was working well to wick perspiration off my legs, and I was feeling cool and dry. The support for the knee area was pretty good as well. Not too sure how we ran this part as I was enjoying myself, following from behind the pack...soon, we arrived at The Prata Cafe at the old SMU track area. I took a piece of my raisin bread, whilst some of the others had their first prata load. Mohan took some group pictures, and not wanting to stop for too long, DO and I, along with the first group proceeded on to the next point.

The stretch along Bukit Timah towards Clementi was long and flat. The ZZZ monsters were starting to attack some of us. Those of us who experienced the running past midnight at Blink Blink Run were slightly more prepared for the phenomenon. It was Mohan and the young lad leading the way, with us following from a distance. Although it was long and boring, I was still enjoying the run....eventually reached King Albert Park MacD for another pit-stop. I was a little disappointed that they did not have ice-cream cones, so decided to take prata later on. Another short stop, and before we left, we saw the smaller group of Vincent, StarDust, Brokie, DeepCruiser, et al arriving. Raymond was feeling a little weak at that point, and was about to hit the wall...of course lah, he was just taking plain water till then.

With the Fong Seng Prata as motivation, we chugged ahead towards NUS. Mohan was snapping photos along the way...haha. Nothing much along the way as we honed in our objective. DO immediately ordered teh-tarik and plain prata the moment we arrived at our usual NUS Hill Run makan haunt, after about 27km. The early morning crowd was a little surprised to see a large group of runners gathered, waiting for their prata and hot drinks. It was real shiok to down the hot teh-tarik, and the prata's texture was pretty good, although I had only a small piece. We had dome about 3hr45min by then. All were still alert by the time we set of, had our 5min walk break, and headed for Tanjong Pagar Railway.

It was another very long and boring stretch along Pasir Panjang Road towards Keppel Rd. I could see our runners' blink blinks in front, and that kept me focused. I increased pace a little to try to catch them, alleviating some of the boredom. I am just so glad I don't have to do such runs in solitude....haha. I will collapse from sheer boredom. Not much conversations amongst runners at that point, as I ran behind SealBoon and DeepCruiser. The final stretch had me moving forward, joining Mohan to reach Tanjong Pagar Railway. The place was dark, and we were just happy to wait for the rest to come on. We had done 35km by then, and had another 10km to go to the end point.

When the group gathered, we married up with Bug's group at the nearby 24hr Indian food centre. I was famished and downed a curry-puff along with ice-cold Kickapoo. All of us were happy the end in near, as some kicked back and relaxed. Raven reported that FBB and his friend went on their own. The spirits of the whole group was high, as everyone felt good and still had much reserves in them. We took another walk break, and headed along Shenton Way towards The Esplanade, and steadied at about 6:30min/km along Nicholl Highway. I caught up with Brokie, DO and Bose, and we ran as a group.

It was the final stretch, and nobody wanted to slow down, although we did another timed walk-break at the command of the RSM. SealBoon, Raymond and Vincent joined as as we neared Fort Road. Brokie was leading the way, and we were just so contented to follow. Somehow, we ran for a long time, and we were still not at Fort Road??? Then only did we realize that we had turned into Mountbatten Road, and ran an extra 2km stretch, away from wonder the scenery and buildings along the way was so different from the way we came. Fortunately, we found an underpass to cross over back to ECP at the Big Splash area. Another 1km later, we were greeted by an "impressed' bunch at the end with applause...haha. The 4 of us did an extra 3km to make it 48km by 6am, 7hrs....not bad.

We should be more ready for the next Sundown Progressive Run, The 55km Dusty Run. It was a refreshing early morning wash up, and the next shifts of runners, including the AniMiles were just arriving. Since the Geylang You-Tiao was not opened, we went for simple brekky fare at Marine Parade, before heading home. I had a good 5hr rest, and the legs were just slightly tired....not achy....the comp tights seemed to have worked. I had it washed, and will wear it at home to see if it would aid recovery. This run has built up the confidence levels of those who us who will be facing the loner 55km and 70km overnight Progressive Runs, and of course, the eventual Sundown 84km Night Ultra-Marathon.

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