Thursday, October 18, 2012

Northface 2012 - 50km ?


Northface 2012 – 50km ?

When I signed up for Northface 2010, I told myself this is the first and last time. I just want to participate and go through the experience, knowing how tough the race encompasses.

Fastward to Northface 2012, I did took part of the race on 13 Oct 2012. Someone signed up for me, so I am officially didn’t signed up as I said to myself few years back.

How I ended up running? Well, it is a long story behind the twists and turns. I have to be silenced if I reveal too much here.

As expected, it has been mentally and physically challenging to go through the weeks of training to gear up for the event. 2 x 40km has been planned, I did complete only once. Did a few 30km+ runs. Shins have not fully recovered since KL marathon 2012, add on to the challenge. Peak run 1 month prior to the event. Thinking back now, I think this is the right strategy to adopt.

Unlike the last Northface which have several issues confronting me, this year approach has been better managed. Though with niggling body aches which might flare up during the run; I am fresh and ready for the run.

Strategy: Walk the incline slope, run the down slope. Try to run the flat portion(if possible). Keep a minimum 6km distance per 1 hour. Prefer 6.5km to be on the safe side. Finished around 8-8:30hrs.

Date: 13th Oct 2012
Event: Northface 50km
Venue: Macrtichie Reservoir
Time: 6:45am

I have reached race site around 5:30am. Get the usual parking lot and get myself prepare. Many others are there and we chat, joke along.

Race start on the dot(6:45am), and off we head off on our journey. Unlike training when we run together, this is OTOT. I started carefully and gingerly behind. Not putting too much effort and keep it easy. Shunyin and Angela are running around me until rifle range road. That is the last I seem them.

Meet up with Jancy and Vincent at Ranger station. She has a fall and as usual(blab blab blab). Nothing serious just cuts and bruises. We ran close to each other to the end. Strangely but true.

Reached 10km point at 1:29hr(pace is on target). Miss out on replenishment of the water bag at 2x water points. The past experience starts to alarm bells and I have to silently cursing myself.

Reached 3rd water point(which I didn’t expect) near one of the rear carpark in Bukit Timah area. Phew, quickly top it up. Still feeling okay.

Bypass the 4th water point and head straight to the Petir road whereby our supporters are waiting. It has been nice to meet familiar faces. Grant a cup of gassy 100 plus(not a good idea) and grab some fruits.

Reached 20km point in 2:40hr(pace is ahead of target). Felt strange that I actually gained timing! I am going at an easy pace, shouldn’t be that fast. Anyway, distance marker might not be accurate. Just run!

Keeping a clear and focus mind, slow moving ahead. Keep telling myself, the body is okay, just relax and move along. Reached Mandai road junction and surprise to see Ray and Joanne. The slacker really turns up! I grab a very refreshing energy drink in a pouch! If it is the last 10km, I wouldn’t mind a beer, but not at this stage, whereby the fun about to start!

Cross the road and head into Arsama. Meet up with Cher, Voon Ho and Tiwazz along Mandai main road. Grab some grapes and keep on moving!

Topped up waterbag to the rim at the 5th water point and grab a packet of energy yummies ! Cannot take risk going inside, this is going to be the make/break point!

Time check, 3:30hr heading in. 9 km inside Arsama loop. Gave myself till 5hr to exit Arsama. Weather is hot as expected. Slowly walk and run along,  .256 as the target and slowly moving along.

The familiar training shed, off I go up the slope, whereas many take a breather at the training shed. It wasn’t that tough as expected. Glad that I make it up as to me this is the U-turn point. Happily head downwards and back to Arsama gate.

Hmm…reached the water point at 4:40hr. I am way ahead of my expectation, which is good. Replenish the stock and headed out.

Meet up with the support crew of Cher and the rest at Mandai road side. Saw Terence for the first time as he is heading into Arsama for the 2nd time(he is doing 100km)!. Wish he good luck and I have to push on.

Left groin area starts to show sign of cramping up. Quickly take out heat rub to suppress the pain. I meet up with a foreigner that have good walking speed. I have to run to catch up with him. We leap frog each other until end of Rifle Range road before I ditched him for good.

Nice to see Joanna and the gang along Chestnut Avenue. Took a breather and rested for a while restocking before moving on. In front of the support point is 40km mark, according to Joanna, every runner GPS states it is 37km+. It doesn’t matter anymore as I know I am going to complete it, most probably faster than my previous trip. Total distance based on most GPS is around 48km for the entire race.

So nice to be back at very familiar training ground as I know each twist and turns like the back of my hands. I enjoy the run as I move forward. Caught up with Aili almost at the end of the pipeline(leading to rifle range). She has resort to walking for quite a while now, by looking at her posture. Urging her along as we accompany pace each other till the end.

Kind of disappointed when it seems that the water point near Durain loop seems to be running very low on supplies of water. Fortunately the last water point at the end of Rifle Range road has sufficient to top up my waterbag for the last stretch.

Jancy, Aili and myself slowly jog into MR. Saw a lady foreigner fallen and we help her up. Tough cookie, no injury and she just want to finish. I understand her feeling, there is a point in running that what you care is just to FINISH it. She did a lot of running from my observation and seems to have abundant energy in reserve. At the end 4 of us finish close by each other.

When I reached the last 2.4km mark, I knew the distance is going to way shorter than 50km!

Slow and steady, crossed the finishing line at 7:22hrs. Phew! I make it.

Shun Yin and Angela finished within the cutoff time as well. In fact everyone completed! Cool.


Thinking back, the training in preparation is sufficient. The strategy to peak a month before the event is the right move. I feel fresh before the run and is in control of myself throughout. Most probably i could have push the pace a little faster. Well, run should be enjoyable. Till next time. If there is one. 

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