Just like your first kiss, your first payslip, your first car. You will cherish and never forget the memories. Doesn’t matter if it was good or bad memories. That was exactly how I felt after running my first 100km back in march 2016. It was actually about a week after my 40th birthday, and nothing would be greater for me then blessing my big 40 with a 100km under my belt. The week leading to the TiTi event was havoc for me at work as there was a huge change in our factory then. But, I am glad that God did make things happen the way it did.
Titi road ultra was know as one of the toughest road ultra in Malaysia. The reason for that tag line was because it was. No training of mine could have prepared me for what was laid ahead. I came to KL with 2 other fellow runners from Kuching, Ah Sung and Steve (Ah Ven). We had all registered for 100km. We flew in on Friday evening. We stayed in Apple motel at Jalan Alor ( yes, where there’s lots of food). Unfortunately, that night we didn’t get much sleep. The hotel encounter some electrical failure at about 1am- 4am. Thus, the air-cond was not working. Lucky for me, my room had a window. Had a few hours of nap.
The next day we traveled to Hulu Langat where the event was held. We took a taxi (there was no Uber at that time), luckily the driver could find the place. Hahaha.
When we arrived there, the 200km runners where well on their way in there 2nd loop. I was lucky to met the legendary Oliver. If you do not know who Oliver ( Singapore ultra runner) is, then you must be living under a coconut husk. (Just kidding) he had just completed the 100k and was not planning to continue with the remaining 100k. I don’t blame him. The weather was just too scorching hot. As all participants were preparing before the start, you could feel the scorching heat even underneath the tent area. The temperature was about 36-37deg C. This had not include the heat from the tarmac. It would be safe to say that overall temp was about 40degC. That is hot!
After the opening speech by the race director (Ng Seow Kong). We had our flag off. Everyone was pumped as we all run from the start area towards the road. You could see the race leaders building their gap in the front. I was trying to keep myself with the middle pack as I wanted to have as much bigger as I can for the first few checkpoints. But soon, my enthusiasm was short live as we started to ascend uphill. I recall the first CP was only 9km away but it took me more than an hour to get there. The heat and hill was no joke. My training at that time include hills repeat but apparently, it wasn’t sufficient. Neither did I in life heat training into my schedule. I as we reached the top of the first hill, the descent was simple, just need to keep our feet on free gear all the way. And make sure that you don’t trip on your own feet, else it wouldn’t be a pretty sight.
As I reached CP1, I recall the water I consumed was a lot. Thank goodness for the cold drinks and fruits. It was refreshing. After the first CP, I continue my journey to the 2nd CP. But, I soon lost my momentum. As I started to feel fatigue and heat kicking in. I was hoping that my 2 friends would catch up along us to motivate each other. I soon started to walk while maintaining my pace at <11:50min/km. There was a point I even thought about just throwing the towel. That was when I started to pray and asked God to give me strength. Then, Ah Sung caught up to me and was going strong. He was following a German fellow, (who soon became my running buddy for the entire race). I started to to follow both of them from behind. And soon after made some small talk with Dominic (German fellow). We help motivate each other to go towards each and every checkpoint(CP). Our strategy was to maintain our walking pace uphill and run down hill at every opportunity we could. Unfortunately, there were more going up hill then down before the 50km half way point. We keep telling ourselves, “what goes up. Must come down”. But it didn’t. It seems the hill ascent was never ending. But, lucky for both of us, the journey didn’t seem boring as we both had our own stories to tell.
We soon reached 50k mark for our baggage drop. I took the opportunity to fill my hydration and load up on my nutritional bars and gel. Even had time to change my shoe to Hoka Clifton 2. I was earlier wearing Zoot ultra tempo 6.0. The shoe was good. But it didn’t have suitable cushioning for longer and hotter surface runs.
We soon depart from the 50k mark and headed into the village loop. I recall where we had to carefully avoid the goat droppings on the road. It was good as it kept up wide awake. Once we hit 64k, we know it was the home stretch. Basically, the mirror of the earlier hilly 37km. This was good news cause what goes up must come down and soon will be all down hill.
We completed the route in 15hrs 32mins. This could only be possible with the blessing from God, the support of my family and friends. And not forgetting, the companionship of Dominic throughout the race course. Thanks.
I and also glad to say that I completed my first 100k ultra without any blisters or chaffing. This was possible from the following 3 products that I use and swear by it.
- 2 toms sports shield,
- Injinji socks
- Hoka Clifton 2.
All these 3 products are available in Revolution Run Borneo, Green heights mall.
If you are keen to test your limits. Do sign up for Titi Ultra 2017. The link is as below. There is a special discount for MURA (Malaysia ultra running association) members. This year, they have an additional category, 250km. I will stick to 100km and try to improve my timing.
Remember, always Run Happy, Run Safe, Run Injury free.