Monday, February 17, 2014

Race Report: Titi50

My first ultra marathon, trained hard for it but some how the training was held up since January,  by injury and subsequently flu. From some self assessment, I more or less concluded the stamina will be sufficient, but some parts may give way as there are not seasoned to take the extra long distances. Hence the realistic target for the race will be just complete it without injury and gain some experiences.

The 100k race start at 4pm. From some photos posted on the FB, it was hot like hell. For 50k, we were lucky to flag off by mid night. Reached the venue around 10:30pm and the site was packed with enthusiastic runners. Checked in myself, race briefing, then we were flagged off on 12am.

The first part was easy 4km before reaching the Bukit Hantu. I used this section to adjust the hydration waist belt (concluded that the waist belt type is not suitable for speed. It was doing fine when walking, will put up a review later). Started to brisk walking right at the start of the climb. Then ran at 7min pace when descending towards the first check point. Took some watermelon and refill my Gatorade bottle, then I left for CP2.
Running toward CP2 under the moonlight, thanks Victor for the photo.
From CP1 to CP2 was easy. Kind of familiar with the route (RJM route). Going at a decent 7min pace, reached CP2 ahead of my plan. Took some bread and refill water, then I left for the long ascending to CP3. 9km climb with 300m elevation, I will say it was not really tough. The elevation are segregated along the 9k nicely, and I think my engine was warmed up totally. I almost ran all the way to the peak. The night was cooling and windy. It's helped a lot to cool down my hearth rate and maintained it around 150-165BPM.

The CP3 located at 26km, hence from that point onward, I knew the race will be over-distanced. Used the toilet at the check point, took more watermelon and refill my bottle, then I u turned and heading back to CP2. The time was only 3:26am. I can't help but started to think if I can complete this by 7 hours. And lucky the descending to CP2 brought me back to reality. I am strong during climb the slope, but extremely weak when it come to descending one. The first part of the descending to CP1 already taken it's toll and now every steps going down the slope were painful. If I was not bounced into one of the crazy 100k runner and pushed each other to clear to last 4k descending with some speed, I would had did the 9k climb faster (71 minutes) than my 9k descending (67 minutes). Again repeated those eating and refilling, then I left for CP1.

Not much left in the tank, run-walk-run-walk and I finally reached the 42.195km mark on my Garmin around 5:35am. Now, every steps is unknown. The CP1 located around 43km on the way back. Cleared the check point, and I was heading back to finish line. I planned to walk up the Bukit Hantu, then run all the way back. But I was over optimistic. Not only the tank was emptied, the legs were so painful until my will to push was emptied too. Tried to restart the enigine to running mode, but failed. Part of me wanted a good finish time (I will be sub-7 if I ran the balanced 7km), and part of me understand the risk and don't want to push. Finally, walked almost all the way back, and only able to start running again about 1km from the finish line. It was due to panic cause at 7:15am the Garmin marked 51km and the finish line still not in sight. I pushed cause I don't want to missed also the 7.5 hours mark. Finally, finished at 7:23'36".
Hard Earned finisher pack
Food intake during the race,
1. 4 packs of PowerGels.
2. 2 loafs of bread, with some jam or butter inside (too tired to taste).
3. 5 pills of salts.
4. Plenty of watermelon.
5. 6x 500ml of water (mainly, only started mix in 100Plus and Revive after the u turn), plus 1 liter of water from the hydration bladder (almost finished toward the end).
Race plan versus actual
Elevation vs Time, almost symmetry chart. 2nd half of the race not slowing down too much.
Overall, this was a great experience. The challenging route, the use of hydration bladder, the helpful volunteers, the moonlight, the sleepless night, the loneliness, the company and the long winding road, all these will be an unique remark on my running journey.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Titi50 Preparation

With the recent injury on my left foot, the training plan ruined and training mileage on running dropped back to my norm period. With only 9 more days to my first ultra marathon, I am actually kind of uncertain about what to look ahead for in this 50km race. The recovery is so far so good, now I am able to run at easy pace up to 20km and run at sub 6 minutes pace up to 7km without any problem. But these legs are far from their peak and I will not able to follow thru my initial plan of finishing in 6 hours. Hence I need an all new game plan.
After tinkering around with the route map and elevation plan, confirming the brisk-walking pace in Bukit Kledang, and I put up this new game plan. New target time, 7.5 hours for the 50km race. The plan will be simple, I will run with easy pace 7-8 min/km whenever possible, and will shift to brisk walking gear when pace dropped below 8 min/km. The planned brisk walking pace will be 10-11 min/km. I should be finished the 50km within 7.5 hours without much of the issue. Anyway, I may still be too optimistic. Even the time off from injury may only post less than 10% losses on my stamina (I kept cycling during the break from running), but the body parts may not able to survive the 50km. Blisters and muscles clamps may kill me half way....
Items to be pack with me during the race,
1. Torch light + Head lamp (with spare AA batteries)
2. Back blinker light (with spare AAA batteries)
3. CamelBak FreshFlo, with 1litre of water (as spare reservoir)
4. Gatorade 500ml bottle with water
5. PowerGel, 6 packs
6. Salts Stick, 6 pills
7. Plastic Plaster, few
8. Vaseline, 5g
9. IC, driving license & car key
10. Phone (turned off to save power)
11. Running cap (useful when the night getting too cold)
12. Sponge (for cleaning salty surface in the water station)

Running attires,
1. Run for It 7 finisher-T (bright enough)
2. 2XU Compressed short (with bamboo fabric underpants)
3. Garmin 910XT
4. RoadID
5. Vibram FiveFinger KomodoSport

Optional (tentatively left inside the car)
1. PowerBar or bread
2. Bath and cleaning kit
3. Brooks LSD Lite running jacket

I will do my last long run before the Titi50 this Sunday with the PAC CNY Potluck party in Padang Merbuk. Next week will be travelling on business, should be in low training mileages for the body to rest. Carbo-loading...... started since Chinese New Year......

Good luck if you are running Titi100 or Titi50, SCHKM, Tokyo Marathon or other races in February.