Tuesday, September 04, 2018

[Race] TMBT Ultra Trail Marathon 2018 - 100km

If you haven't read about my first 100km trail running the year before, click here.

But if you just wanna read about my latest race update on 100km, proceed here.

Right off the bat, I probably wasn't feeling it in the first place, had mixed feelings and given that I was still somewhat mentally drained from my first 100km, a small part of me wanted to do better  since I was rather ill last year, and would wanna come back stronger this year.

I contemplated till the very last minute and registered.

I don't know what I was thinking.

  1. Gym 3-4 times a week at Avakas Fitness (a strengthening and conditioning gym since end March (more like April)).
  2. Had right knee issues, I couldn't bend, got this resolved with foam rolling.  Went for a test run at Bukit Padang (consist of hiking, running up and down) but fell on my way down, injured my left knee in the process.  LOL laffdieme.  Why is this happening to me?  - mo mandi air bunga sudah ni.
  3. Longest run I did was a 39km from Inanam Taipan to Kokol Hill and back with Rizwan (and Ikwan, met halfway).  
  4. Didn't do much run, I had more gym than running hahaha.  Fartlek/speedwork/tempo, barely did any of these.
  5. Fuel/gel consumption.  Did not do any trial with this, I trained with water and lemon blast ONLY.
  6. Had a meltdown at one point and was depressed - due to my injured knee.  
  7. Insomnia is still an issue.  I think I had enough sleep the week before race day.  But at least I got a good roughly maybe 4-5 hours of sleep before going to pick up point. 
  8. Dry needling 3 times, last session was on a Thursday, taped both of the knee and left plantar fasciitis (I had my treatment at Synergist Physiotherapy just in case anybody's wondering).
  9. Foam roll/stretch everyday.
In other words, I think my training a bit off (kelaut sudah)

Race day (1st September 2018):

I was calm, probably coz I ran the course before and know what to expect, but boy, I wasn't ready, self doubt (just because I had an injury to 1 of my knee and was still recovering on the other).  As usual, I would procrastinate with packing and would over pack, happens all the time.

My hydration bag was, probably heavy for some but carrying mandatory kit with 2 litres plus 200ml of water, I also had some comfort snacks - choki choki, lollipop, sour plum, candy, skittles (which I didn't eat at all, except the brownies) was still light for me (coach gave me lotsa upper body workout, feels like I still can carry more).

Me, Jiki and Rizwan at the pick up point - Avangio Hotel 2:30am
Took the bus again from Avangio Hotel with my friends and other runners to the starting line which is at Kg. Lingkubang, Kota Belud.

Weather looks promising but always expect the unexpected.  Personally I was expecting for rain.  I'd perform better when it's cold, I personally dislike hot weather.

I wore my new Salomon S-Lab Sense 6, not seasoned enough lol.  My previous S-Lab Wings was worn off already (my favorite shoe) and had another shoe to change at the first 50km mark (Altra Lone Peak 3.0).
There were a lot of participants who opt for bus transfer to the starting point.  I lost count to how many buses there was, I was in bus no. 4.  Can you believe that?  It's a combination of participants from the 50K and 100K category.  We left slightly after 3am and arrived at around 4:30am, wow that was fast, at one point, it felt like I was in some roller coaster ride 😌.  I was scared for my life for a brief moment (dramatic).

This time around, the drop bag counter was located next the hanging bridge.  Definitely more convenient and less traffic.
Checking in
Runners were required to scan their timing chip before proceed to the starting line.

We had a lot of time, went for a warm up run with Jiki around the field. 

I wanted to pee but decided to hold it in till the next station, boy thank god I did not pee in my pants.

Starting line, so crowded.
The race starts at exactly 6am (wow on time).  It's so crowded and we didn't take any group photo before race (some others did but I didn't). 

Start - Lingkubang

The race starts at S.K. Kebayau, Kg. Lingkubang, Kota Belud for both category, the 50km and 100k, that's like more than 1k participants, I think.

My legs were good and I was doing an okay pace, I was still with Jiki and Rizwan at this point, rushing through the crowd.

This is where the category split, the 100km participants turn to the right uphill heading towards Kg. Kebayau.

Expect plenty of uphill.

Where I got separated with Jiki and Rizwan

W1 - Kebayau (4.9km) - arrived at 6:53am 

There was a number of hanging bridges along this stretch.  Last year I counted every hanging bridge there is but this year I lost count.  One (1) thing though, can people stop running on the bridge?!  Didn't you guys read the fine print? "Please cross the bridge carefully (NO RUNNING)." Like seriously.  I think I was scolding people at one point lol.

Met a familiar face at Tambatuan!  Moral support! Thanks Mad.
W2 - Tambatuan (7.4km) - COT 4 hours  - arrived at 8:23am.

WS2 had mango pudding!  Those sweet pineapple!  So delicious, I couldn't help myself, left after I consumed enough.

Expect green paddy field along this stretch.

I always love running along paddy field.  It eases the feelings and the thoughts.  Can I just sit here and enjoy this view?

Thanks Sherley for the photo 💜
Passing along dirt road to Kg. Kaung.  Was adoring this view, regretting didn't take out my phone to snap this breathtaking view.

Photo credit: Darmin
Photo credit: Marcy
Unlike last year, I didn't bring anything heavy apart from brownies with me this year.  There was a lot of locals selling food and drinks.

Once I was along the route to WS3 Lobong Lobong is where it started to turn to shit.  Cramp on my right calf, I would say shit everytime.  I don't think I was going fast but at a steady pace.  I don't know how many times I have to stop because of this.  At one point, I got so hungry that I stopped for brownies.

Also where I met an ex-colleague and friends.  It's funny everytime we see somebody stopped, we looked at each other like we had an understanding and felt what each other were going through.

Was also annoyed with people hustling you from behind especially on a single trail going down.  Like can't you guys do that at the open road?  I think at one point I bang my right arm on a log coz I wasn't aware of my surrounding.  Don't worry, I'd scrape myself only.

Was trying to remain calm and just proceed with caution.  My left plantar was throbbing you can't imagine.

W3 - Lobong Lobong (9.8km) - COT 7 hours - arrived at 11:01am.

Photo credit: Lee Wei Guan.  I knew I saw a familiar face!  But am so unsteady at hanging bridge crossing that I have to focus when crossing. 
Here comes the Pineapple Ridge.  I still remember how I struggled with breathing last year.  This year was different, I struggled with leg cramps.  It was the worst one I had.  I'd stop for breaks every now and then.  I even sat on the grass, getting up was a whole different story.

I love how the runners who passed me checked how I was doing.  

It was warm, so humid, my legs was giving the most problem.  I also pulled a muscle around my neck twice.

There were locals selling drinks and pineapple.  I bought an apple for RM2 but I think that was a bad idea coz that's when I had problems with my left ear.  Before reaching the area where Nasier camped.  Kevin was with him this year and I got my can of Milo at the hut.  That's what saved me last year.  Difference is, this year was hot!  And Mag wasn't there coz she was running. 

What saddens me the most and such an eyesore was seeing rubbish along the trail.  Wanted to collect it and bring it down with me but there were just too many.  Why can't you guys just carry it along with you till you found a rubbish bin? Come on people! We're better than this!

W4 - Kiau Nulu (7.5km) - COT 10 hours - arrived at 1:44pm.

Photo credit: Koh
I crosspath with a lot of friends here.  Also my friend, Adi gave me vaseline balm to rub on my lips lol.  Okayyyy~
WHATTTTTT!?  Why is the hall further?  Met Paival at the entrance to scan my timing chip.  

Photo credit: Paival
I needed to pee.  To my horror, squat toilets.  Attempted to squat, struggle was so real, my inner thigh cramp, silent scream.  

Also, I left this water station with Romy after refilled my hydration bladder.

We had stopped at Koh's support crew station and had the coldest, most satisfying can of 100 plus and watermelon.  They also offered mango pudding but I just couldn't eat it, probably should have, but I have this mentality that mango will make my body heat up.

Photo credit: Koh
Leaving Koh and the support crew, happily running downhill.  I would have run all the downhills if I could.

Photo credit: Koh
W5a - Entrance Highway (8.4km) - COT 13 hours - arrived at 4:30pm.

This is the route where I had ice cream (ate the outer layer only coz I wanted the ice). 
Me and the bunch resting, why does the entrance highway felt so far this year?  Why don't I remember this place?  It rained last year, this year it was hot.  

Where is that blardy highway?! I could hear it but not there yet.

Photo credit: Pete - Me, Romy and Pete - shuttle transfer to Puncak Borneo
Had to wait till the van is full before proceed to the next WS which is Puncak Borneo.  I was trying to close the window but couldn't seem to pull it.  NOOOO, my legs, stiff knees.  

Wore my windbreaker and filled my hydration bladder and I was behind Mary and Henry, leaving Pete and Romy behind since they needed more time to rest.  Wanted to just keep moving before my legs couldn't take it.

W5 - Puncak Borneo (5km) - arrived at 4:48pm.

Downhill section.

This was such a struggle.

Pain level.  Out of the blue, the pain from waist to my foot intensifies.  Maybe coz I was hungry or maybe am just tired.

I couldn't keep up with the guys but tried to push hard.  At one point, I thought I heard somebody was chasing me that I was running (almost sprinting, weird enough I feel no pain that time, maybe coz I fear consumes all the pain) till I caught a glimpse of my friends who were ahead of me.

Proceed to Perkasa Hotel, where the halfway point is and also the drop bag, I couldn't wait to change my shirt and shoes!  Going up was a struggle, all I feel is pain.  I would stop at the rails along the road to rub my aching lower back.  

W6 - Perkasa (12.6km) - 17 hours - arrived at 8:01pm.

Can I laugh?  I reached halfway point almost the same time as last year.  This is just too funny.  

This time though, I got my timing chip scanned and went to get my meal nearer to Perkasa Hotel.  
They had move this to another location. 

Yes, this was dinner

Unfortunately, there was only rice, pasta (macaroni), hot coffee and watermelon at that time.  Wanted hot soup and it took them awhile to serve that with chicken (thanks Ayie for the chicken).  I managed to get some of that but I had no appetite and forced myself to eat.  Didn't know how to feel at this point, was feeling beaten and I just wanted to rest.

I was in pain from waist down, also chafing around my waist, inner thigh and left arm. 

Still wanted to DNF hence my Facebook status update.

Met a lot of friends here.  Changed my shoe and shirt, hoping my legs would feel better.  Got my lower back and both thigh sprayed just in case.

We left around 9:30pm.

W7 - Kouluan (11.9km) - arrived at 12:47am.

I trained this route before, remembered it clearly but I somehow always don't remember it being this far, had pulling pain around my right calf (I swear my joint gonna split soon).  My legs were heavy.  The gravel road with uneven surface does not help one bit.  Not when my legs are already in so much pain.

I know am near the hall when I reached the T junction.

Random mandatory check here.

Rested a bit, had Vege maggie in cup.  OMG I feel so cheated.  I thought it was maggie Assam Laksa.  End up drinking the soup only coz lost my appetite to eat.

I was somewhat unresponsive to people talking to me at that time.  Frustrated, in pain and beaten down.  I apologize to anybody who tried to talk to me but did not respond.  Thanks for checking on me.

Still wanted to DNF, I even message my pacer telling him I wanted to DNF.  

W8 - Mesilau (5.2km) - COT 23 hours - arrived at 3:19am.

Oh my throbbing pain.  It was cold, my legs wanted to give up, I wanted to give up.

Why are we stopping at this bonfire?  We can see people going up the steep trail.  Had a little push to go up this hill.  Thank Mino.

They changed the location of the water station for this one.  It was at the big hall before this but think this is a somewhat better station.  Thank god for seating toilet, I had to poop!

I tried eating biscuit.

Decided to get some heat spray at the medic station but they ran out but had heat balm instead.

Got my legs treated and it felt good, I feel good, it doesn't feel as painful as before, but getting up to move is a struggle.  Left plantar definitely flared, every step is painful.  But I psych myself out of the pain.

CP1 - Veggie Farm (4.2km) - arrived at 5:21am.

The condition of the Veggie Farm this year was better since it didn't rain.  It wasn't as muddy, I wasn't as frustrated as last year.  We, though stop a lot for rest for nap quite a bit here.  It actually helped with my tired body.  I think rest is a good idea but nap for 10 minutes not so much.  I think Pete manage to sleep for a bit.  I was cold and was shivering.  I don't remember shivering this much last year even though it rained.  No rain this year but gosh I couldn't stand the cold.

It was just me and Pete, I think at one point he was asking me if we passed the same route.  Happened to me last year.  You'll somehow get frustrated with seeing too many of the same thing.

Mino, Pete and me leaving the Veggie Farm around 6am.
Wanted to take a dump again.  Rushed my way back to Mesilau station and left after 10 minute or so.

W9 - Mesilau (3.5km) - arrived at 6:15am.

Still feeling like DNF but since I made it up to this point, 75.6km, why not just finish it right?

W10 - Liposu Lama (8km) - COT 27 hours - arrived at 8:09am.

This is one of my favorite downhill section of the race course, unfortunately my abdomen was in pain that I was pressing it when I tried to run.  It might have been gas or stitch, I don't know, I don't even wanna think about it.  This section is mostly mix of sealed and dirt road with longer trail section through the forest, I was looking forward for this section.

Some part of the trail felt different, where was that barb wire section with the bamboo?

I finally made it at the water station with less than an hour buffer time.  Took the last "hinompuka" (a mix of rice and banana, punya sedap!) and connected my Garmin watch to charge.  Low battery for the second time.

Mino arrived before we were about to leave.  We always tried to wait for him but we know he can catch up.  I was with Esther and Pete.

Heading towards Kibbas.  This section is a bit short and I usually get extra time here.
W11 - Kibbas (4.9km) - COT 29 hours - arrived at 9:22am.

I remember getting lost at this section.  I know where to go this year.

"Bukit cumil" (small hill to climb) on tarmac before reaching the water station on the right. 

The last water station before heading "home".  This time I make sure my hydration bladder is FULL!  I had an additional 200ml bottle in my front pocket too.

Spend a short time here.

Finish - Perkasa (11.5km) - COT 32 hours - arrived at 12:49am.

Final stretch.  It was so hot that I kept praying for rain.  I highly recommend using a pair of trekking pole to go up this stretch.  It can be strenuous for the body.  Also when my toes starts to gets numb, at least I didn't run out of water this time around.

Had to stop few times because it was too hot.
Photo credit: Pete, my incidental pacer
I also had the gpx file in my watch so I can estimate my distance heading towards the finish line!

Thank god it was windy after awhile.

Photo credit: Bryan
Moving at a rather fast pace with Pete, the poles are your best friend.  That last 2km steep uphill though, I probably hallucinated so badly last year that I couldn't remember that part.

Greeted by a lot of friends here and a lot of people was cheering me on.  So gamtong (so moving). 

The best part is having more than 1 video of me finishing yay!

Thanks Mira for the videos and for cheering me on.  Thanks also Jiki, Nasier and Mag for waiting till I reach the finishing line, took me awhile to get there.

Mira, Jiki and me.
I finally made it in 30 hours 30 minutes.  Not my best time or performance but am glad I pushed myself, with a lot of help and support from everyone (you guys know who you are).

Always remember that you are never alone, people (friends/strangers) are there to support you.

Thank you for following my journey and reading through this long post.  You guys are the best!

I couldn't ask for better support from both Mag and Nasier (I love you gais).  Can't believe you guys waited for me and helped me a lot.  Am so blessed. 

Post race:

Aftermath, no blister but swollen.
  1. Both hands occasionally cramp.
  2. Chafing around waist, inner thighs and left arm - that's it! If I ever run again, I would change this pants.
  3. Red eyes for few days.
  4. Oh my pimples! (muka menggerutu).
  5. Walking like pregnant lady (not enough leg workout).
  6. Numbness on both foot.
  7. Tanlines.
Why did I do this to myself?  NO REGRETS! 

Another thing I did not look forward to = LAUNDRY!  Thank god I washed some of my clothes (bangas) at my friend's house on the weekends.

Overall is a good race, markers was good this year, water station hmm maybe serve porridge?  Easier to consume.  Will I do it again? For the time being, NO!  (We'll see after few months/years).  I was trying to make this post short but it doesn't seem to be short enough.  If you wanna see course description, follow the link below.

More info. TMBT Ultra Trail Marathon, here.

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