Beat the Sleep - the Adidas Sundown 2010


I would like to start this report with a bow to Kash, Haza and Nik - for finishing their first Ultra Marathon. We waited for their return, not without Shuk's updates from the FB updates he's been following (rasa macam ESPN pulak) of their whereabouts (sorry Shuk, I know how bad you wanted to be there! :)).

It was a crazy distance, but you guys have nailed it. I was grateful everyone came back, healthy and well, Alhamdulillah...

Preparing for Sundown in the last week was tiring, with all the food I have been loading. I have learnt to be a small-eater, and that meant a lot of force to get the extra stuff in. And sleep - it threw havoc in my normal sleeping pattern. The last night in KL, thanks to Wesak Day, we spent the day groceries shopping and other stuff to knock myself out, but returned home to finish our cupcakes for the 9p.m. delivery. I had no time to sleep, when I went on doing a 'Sex in the City'-themed cupcakes for Saturday morning delivery. When I was done at 2a.m., I held back the sleep with fear I'd miss my flight, and planned to sleep whenever and as much as I can.

The week prior, I have had a steady stream of pastas every lunch and dinner, lots of electrolytes, lots of water, occasional sweets (chocolates etc) and tried to get lots of sleep.
In short, I managed a 40 mins sleep inflight, some during a short trip from Changi to Novena, the rest was on the tarmac at CEC, after the Ultra Marathoners were flagged off, in between the people and babbling emcees. It was warm, and quite nice, but the short naps makes me more irritated, and by the time our cue was up, I have downed 2 coffees to try to make myself awake.

If normal marathons are heat-related, this will be sleep-busting strategy. Next time, I must either bring asam boi, or even cili padi!

This time around, there were the Ultras (Kash, Nik, Haza), Full Marathon (myself, Ian, Dett, Zaki, Khairul Anuar and surprisingly and quite hesitantly, TollDoll, the Half Marathon (Diket, Yim, Ijam, Ziff and Alwin).
ketidakhadiran Shuk & ketiadaan Nik diganti oleh Alwin & Zaki. Janji lambung!

When the 42k category started, the halfs were still returning, including Azam, as well as the returning Ultras from the first loop. It was festive, and I slotted myself at the mid pack, between the 4:30 - 5:00 pacers. Ambitious? I'd laugh to that hahahahaahah!

The first 4k was ok, and as soon as we hit the Changi Coast Road, it quickly reminded me why I do not quite like Singapore's runs - the long straight stretch offers no perspectives and short of imagination. What was wonderful for me was the airplanes taking off and touching down... too bad it was dark at night as it would be a marvelous sight during the day! 

It was uneventful, I skipped the first 2 WSs and headed on. I was doing a positive splits at all the points with a 1-2 minutes off the mark from the targeted 5:00, but I thought I'd conserve enough energy to sprint the last 2k. But after the airplane adrenalines, I was hitting the sleep button. It seemed that everytime I take my eyes off the horizontal plane, they automatically shuts down. I was literally sleep-running. I downed a powergel (Tangerine 2x caffeine), some dates and a Mars bar - but they all did not work. It was between 11th - 21st km when I dropped the heart rate to 110, and losing my mind. I thought of resting on a bench and sleep for a while.

Sarah (Ayam Dara) smoked me here, calling me out and before I could respond to her, she was out of my sight. Ouch indeed! Sharafi had passed me at KM6 and Ian at KM8, and I was running solo, feeling bored with no one to talk to, to kill the sleep. I looked around me, all runners put on their fierce face, a do-not-talk-to-me face, and I could use some laughs like our LSDs. I went on, and reached the turnaround point (KM 22.5) and 10minutes off target. Oh well... (come on runners... you were not that fast anyway!)

Chasing the 30k target was kind of fun. I stopped at every WSs, showered with either the 100+ or water, and force-walked for 3-4 minutes and went on to run. A slow one, but run I did. My HRM showed a 162 - too slow for my comfort, but it was what it was. No lazy walks this time! When I reached the 30k, I was 15minutes off. And the Changi Coast Road again, chasing the 40k marker. I was feeling good here, doing my WS rituals to wet myself and forced powerwalks, but one marker to another took a long time. I was just happy that I kept moving and passed many runners walking like zombies (tu la kamu, tadi laju bedo'oh) . No feeling of giving up like the previous 3 marathons before. At times, I was pacing few strong runners, other times would be counting the street lights (activity at the runway was very, very minimal), but those were all I could do to keep my head high.

At the entry to CEC, I stopped at the WS as usual, and went on to run to 40k mark. From there, I started to sprint as I could play the distance to the gantry, but maannnnnnn... I ran so hard only to find a 41k marker. To me that was so demotivating, and I power walked to the final 800m or so, when I sprinted again. Did I mention that the organiser did not put up a big party in the final km? I remembered SCSM, running the last 2km with no breath left, savoring the moments, with thousands of arms spread into the running track, horns and the whole circus. If you get my drift, there were only 2-3 volunteers cheering a sheepish 'you can do it' at 50dB of their voice, spread at 500m intervals, and that was it. It was awfully quiet, and downright dissapointing!

Anyway, the final 10metres were a limelight - cameras flashing, big floodlights etc with the emcee calling out our names, and some music. And that was it. We were ushered to the tent to pick up drinks, finisher's tee and our medal, and I parked myself along Ian where we had camped earlier. My time was 5:30 (unofficial), was out of my target. I cannot quite put my finger in it as I thought I have ran a lot better this time, but that's ok. There's always next time.

I joined Ian and cooled down, and later joined by Zaki, and Dett. And later by Diket and Alwin who  have been bunking in the car. Khairul Anuar and TollDoll arrived back after we have enjoyed our shower, with blisters and cuts from running in VFF. With no long distance training for 42k, she sure looked good. Didn't I tell you the ladies' pain threshold is higher than men's?

After Diket, Dett and Alwin left for JB, we talked on logistics, past experiences etc when we got up and wait for the Ultras to return. We saw many runners returned in many faces. Some returning from 8-hour marathon, suffering, some finishing 84 with a big smile, some with walks and pointless faces, etc. At 14:36 (I think), we saw a glimpse of Nik and Kash from afar, and them coming through the gantry - Kash full of emotions, and Nik looking steady, holding his shoes, wearing torn socks all over. Haza came in some 15 minutes later, looking jubilant and smiling all the way.

It will be a blast to read their experience of their feat in their separate entries, and be sure to be inspired to attempt the same feat later (what?). And we were lucky to have PM Tey together to catch the historic moment. For once, Nik's role was relaxed a little.

Overall, Singapore Sundown was a good event. My high points are;
a) Running at night with cooler temperature. But this time around, it was humid as we were running by the sea
b) the stretch in Changi Park Connector, in between the woods - love it!
c) running along the runway - cool!
d) adequate shower facilities with warm water, and decent changing area
e) I love my new groceries shopping bag!
f) Water re-fuel centre before the race - good to keep hydrating through the hours, and wet my Wearlink. And they had plenty of water.
g) Distance marker - clear, big and adequate
h) Flat (almost) route. I have come better prepared, mentally, so the ECP stretch was no longer intimidating
i) Water Stations - good stock of water and 100+

Low points are;
a) The 100+ could have been served cold, and gas-less
b) CEC is located in nowhere. We waited for ours for shuttle buses, and no cabs coming in (calling them was difficult and harp too much on our negotiating skills), no shops, no place to rest, no stalls to catch a coffee, no MRT. Pasir Ris Interchange is too far, and journey too long.
c) The parade was too shy and quiet, and the bigtalks were confined to the gantry area only. The rest of the route was non-motivational. I still love our local Siemens Run! But then again, who'd cheer you up at 3a.m.? heheh
d) No breakfast or some food for breakfast. Lucky I had some biscuits etc and leftover Gatorades.
e) Delayed shuttle buses - crap!
f) Not-so-good running vest, not-great-at-all finisher's tee, and ok-ok medal

Now, somebody suggested an attempt at Ultra next year, as the finisher's tee was nicer. Gulped, I did!
It was the longest wait for a marathon for me, but it was well worth it. It could have been great/more awesome, but it was OK. I have stopped to expect a certain degree from a race, and just come and enjoy myself. Come back next year? Very most probably.

And today, I found myself lucky to be home (Iris contracted chicken pox just before the weekend) and truly rest. No injuries, no stiffness. Just the normal soreness and loosen the tight muscles. I hope everyone are recovering well, because hey guys... we have another full marathon coming in 4 weeks! Have a good Monday, and a great Zero Week, everyone!

Comments

ziff71 said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
ziff71 said…
Well done bro. U didnt have enuf rest for sure before the run with all the traveling and lepaking (tidur atas tarmac lagik) waiting for the gun off. For 1/2, our 100+ was served cold. May b by the time for full dah sejuk dah.

Next year u run in Ultra and i run in Full...nak lambung nie hehehe.
IJAM said…
Great report shah. It would have been nicer if u have photos. (i knew i would)(i have pictures of you sleeping on the tarmac...ha, ha...)
Yes, the shuttle bus was not much help, no cheer leader, no food, less light, no water in the mobile toilet, bla, bla...i can complaint on and on...
but great race ya...?...time doesn't matter lah..
..::EnAikAY::.. said…
What a great race report!
No worries, you can try again for a sub-5hrs marathon in 4 weeks time?

Eh hang on.. 4 weeks time eh? aiyoo.. bila aku nak start training ni? Baru je nak enjoy recovery.

Well done bro! Syabas!
Yimster said…
Good job. I honestly died in the sweltering heat and humidity and this was only doing half your distance. Dont know how you stood that 5+ hours on the tarmac!
Zaki111 said…
Shah, good race strong runner. I agree with all of your low points above but the last ones (the vest, finisher's t and the medal) was really disappointing. They could have them in much better quality.
amsyah said…
ziff - bestnye 100+ sejuk, buat mandi lagi best! sorry tak sempat lepak makan karipap post half marathon, bro... KL nnt ok?

Ijam - thanks, but no photos... nampak gaya I have to steal them from you hahahah. gambar tengah tido ye? maluuuu

Nik - try and try again. recover, jangan tak recover... and thanks for inspiring us mortals :)

Yim - 100+ and water shower every 2km hahahah, memang humid, kan? nasb bak air banyak

Zaki - hahhaha, kalau camtu, takde cara dah... you have to do the Ultra next year hahaaha
Diket said…
Another attempt safely completed bro. Tahniah Datuk! Have a nice rest to you too.
tolldoll said…
i didn't know you were annoyed by the short nap before the race, cause you looked like you had a good one.

so come on, ultra next year? it was fun cheering on friends i could do it again!

hope iris will get well soon
KOOKY KASH said…
Next year, I'll cheer for you guys pulak! Congrats Syah!
amsyah said…
Diket - Safe attempt, yes it was. minggu depan LSD kat mana nih?

Nadia - I was annoyed because the nap was too short (hahahh), in RunPix pun tunjuk my 10-20k memang slump habis - 10mins/km ayoyo!

Ultra next year? hehehe you have to jolok Zaki dulu :D, and thanks, Iris is getting better

Kash - hahhahha, dunno if I could stand the 70k LSD or not :)
Diket said…
Syah, was that an honest question or simply hang camdek aku? Tau la most of you guys dah peak at Sundown. Now, I'm hovering over my plan for 32k LSD without buddies. Huaaa!
Julin Julai said…
'Running at night with cooler temperature'
Meh join FM PBIM with us. Cooler temperature. seabreeze sepoi2 bahasa.
Meh la. Take it as LSD for your ultra next year ( racun! racun!)
ian yusof said…
syah, did you say ultra next year? hehehe .... I know it is 'nuts' for me posing that kind of question, but it seems so inviting. Don't u think that at least we have to try it once before we die ... :)
amsyah said…
Diket - tu separuh jujur, separuh camdek tu hahaha, tapi kalau hang nak buat, aku separuh jalan lah :D kalau dapat barang 24 ke, ok lah... jumpa kat bawah pokok!

Doc - betulbetulbetul, seriously considering PBIM. Ultra next year? for you? hahahahahahahahahhahahahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhahahhahahahhahahahahahhahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhahahah
amsyah said…
Ian - did I? hahahaha, the idea is floating up in the clouds... Lets see TNF100 this October before we embark on another adventure. But, yeah... even the idea of doing it, as you said - inviting :D

Ian - what have you done to me? Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.....
ziff71 said…
Syah, Ian.......Go for it bro. Dream needs to be chased. Thats Y they hold the run at nite...racun nie...
Perfectionist said…
Syah, well done with your full marathon. Nice race report. Next year must upgrade the distance yah :)

Indeed the race is very humid and I was hoping for chilled drinks too. Best if they have coke, we need sugar for long distance race. See you at the pool soon.

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