Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Dusty Run

The much anticipated NTU Dusty Run finally happened. About 40+ enthusiastic runners showed up at NTU Sports Recreation Centre at 10pm, armed with our night running gear, ample fuel, blink blinks and lots of gumption. Stardust, the event organizer, gave a brief of the route and we started at 10.25pm. The night was warm and humid, as we started to tackle the NTU slopes with our 30min run/5 min walk plan.

Bev went into her 6:30min/km pace immediately as she had planned to do 35km as her second longest run distance in preparation of the full marathon. Most of the runners were familiar faces, and there were some whom I have not met for some time. Spoke with Rusty about her KLIM performance, as well as the attractiveness of Sundown, enquired about Fennel's haversack of goodies, and was quietly smiling about Brokie's 'mummy-style' taping on her leg. It took almost an hour just to get out from NTU itself.

Our small group of DO, Brokie, Colleen, Prata, Stardust, DeepCruiser and myself began our run/walk routine right from the start, and after about 1 hour, we found ourselves at the rear of the pack. The turn in from the unused runway (Lim Chu Kang Rd) into the cemetary was interesting, and all were rather quiet during that stretch. It was good to see the front runners going very strong as they U-turned along the unused runway....that was one 'mental' stretch filled with strange smells and some rather fast cars. Kayano joined us for our third walk-break. PS and Alber were testing their 1hr run, 5min walk (which turned out to be pretty tough for such a long distance). After 2hours of running, I could feel a tinge of tiredness in my feet, and we were looking forward to a nice toilet break.

We took our first refuel break at a coffee-shop near to NTU. Some of the front runners were already there, while a smaller group had earlier broken away at NTU. It was about 1am, and the zzz monsters were attacking. Bev managed to find us. Rosemary and her team were there too. I had my raisin bun, and gulped down a can of cold soya-bean was refreshing and I was energized. We stayed there for about 10min before continuing with our journey. Next stop was Jurong Hill. I noticed that the group was thinning as the night drawn on. I put on my MP3 player and enjoyed some nice music to compensate for the lack of sights in the night, and to give myself some tempo to consume the miles ahead.

We had some photos taken at Jurong Hill, before proceeding to the very long and straight road towards Pandan Reservoir. Our group have become about 15 pax by then. We ran along the highway, then the sandy surface of Pandan Reservoir. Bev and Rusty had caught up with us by then, and they were going strong. We decided to have a longer break at the Petrol Kiosk after the Reservoir. By then, we had covered 31km, and the effects of the night were showing on the runners. Eugene had turned back at the Reservoir for his 35km run. Mohan told us that Brokie, Vincent and Kayano had also turned back for their shorter distances. Alber and PS also caught up with us at the kiosk.

With 31km covered, Bev and Rusty contemplated doing 4km more before calling it a night. The next stop would be a long road along West Coast Highway towards Clementi and then Buona Vista MRT, covering aother 10km. A group photo at the kiosk. Mohan decided to hop on a cab back to NTU. Bev and Rusty took a cab home once they achieved their misson along Pasir Panjang. The remaining 10 of us by then had to tackle the long and winding road...haha. Stardust, DO and I just kept running thoughout to finally reach the Dover Road Caltex kiosk for our final long break. It was 4am in the morning, and we had been on our feet for close to 6hours.

Ultraman and Freddy called from Buona Vista MRT to indicate we had covered 39km by then. I downed 3 cups of choco milk, and finished my remaining raisin bun. Wendy, Bose, Alex and Yong came to join us as well. They were doing well to reach the 39km mark. We had about 16km to the end point, and that turned out to be one of the toughest stretches I had to run yet. We set off at 4.12am along South Buona Vista Road, turning towards Dover MRT station. The road was yet another long and straight one. Colleen and Prata led the run, while I was contented to just tag along behind Stardust.

We turned into Clementi Ave 2, and went up the bridge to wait for the rest. After waiting for a while, Bose finally called Stardust to informed that his group had missed the turn and ran straight up. So Prata, Colleen, Stardust and I just proceeded on with the remaining 11km to NTU. The speed set by Prata was no less punishing, and I was just looking forward to the end. I shouted for our 5min walk break for some reprieve, which did give me renwed strength. By then, my major problem was chafing on my inner thighs, which I had not applied BodyGlide too...shucks!

I just pushed on and it was great that Stardust called for a toilet break at Chinese garden MRT station. It was there that we found back Bose, DO, Wendy and Sealboon. We were joined by the ang-moh as DO recounted how his group were treated to some secret short-cuts by Wendy...haha. Wendy did indeed know the place well, and before she bade farewell 3km further, she showed us the coffee-shop for our final stop, just 1km outside of NTU. I had ice-cold milo, and it was the best thing I've had in a long time...haha. I slumped onto the chair, and did not really want to go anywhere. Brokie and Ultra called to say they were waiting for us at the end we picked up our weary bodies and pushed the final 1km to the end.

Brokie took some victory photos of us, before sharing about the events of the night. Raven was there since 3am to give support to the group...*kudos*. Brokie had finished her run by 2.30am, and waited for us till 6.30am..*appreciate*. I had covered an estimated 58km over a total time of 8hrs. Some had done a little more, while the majority did slightly less. Ultraman dished out his pearls of wisdom, while Bug was looking very fresh even after his 60km conquest. I almost screamed in the bathroom as the water hit my abrasions...*OUCH*. My legs were feeling ok otherwise. We gathered for breakfast at Boon Lay market, before heading for home at 8.30am, a good 10hrs since we gathered.

Maybe it was the intensity and that my body was still very active, I could not get to sleep after I reached home. This must rank as one of the toughest runs I've done in a while. Bev was pleased as punch with her 35km accomplishment. She could have done more if she wanted to, but that was not in the plan. Thanks to Stardust who painstakingly planned and organized the whole event, with recce runs, videos of the run route and detailed instructions. DeepCruiser and RoadRunner helped heaps too with the design of the banner and leading the runners. It was a challenging but very good training run for me. I survived the Dusty Run 2008!

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