Saturday, February 23, 2008

Recap - MR25 Ultra 2007 & 24-Hour Run

30 Dec 2007 was the last Sunday of the year and my last chance of equalling the numbers of marathons I took part in 2006. Till that day, I had completed 4 Marathons (Rome, New Hampshire, Firenze and Milano City) and 3 Ultramarathons (Addo Elephant 50-Mile Trail Run, Great Ocean 45km and Vermont 50km). These put me 1 marathon/ultra short of what I managed to do in 2006. So no matter what, I had to make sure I successfully completed my 8th marathon/ultra event for 2007. On top of that, I was also on a special mission: to ride onto the event and continue till 7am in 31 Dec 2007 and see how much distance I could cover. This was in preparation of my 1st ever 100-mile race in South Africa. I needed to see where would be my weakest link so that I could train towards achieving my aim. People call me nuts and I probably was.

I took a lift from thelonelyrunner who was so kind to have driven all the way to Simei to pick me up from the bus-stop. [Thanks, boss!!!] We reached MR at about 6.35am. By then, there were already a small crowd of runners gathering at the registration point. I saw Tiwazz, Le_Charlotte, SassyRunner, cfred84, White Knight and many other fellow SGRunners. Fd whipped out her compact camera and snapped away our photos. [Thanks, Fd!!!]

At 0700hrs sharp, after having our group photos taken, the MR25 organiser promptly flagged off the race. There were many fast runners in the group and soon, I was one of the last few runners - I think. This year, I felt my preparation throughout the year had been consistent so I was hoping to clock at least 7 laps. Earlier in the day, on the way to MR, thelonelyrunner told me that I could break up my 7 laps into completing 4 laps in the 1st 6 hours and a further 3 laps in the 2nd 6 hours. I thought that was a very good strategy. I kept that in mind. For the 1st 2 laps, I managed to clock 1 hour 15 minutes each. This left me with just about enough time to complete 4 laps in the 1st 6 hours. In the 3rd lap, somehow my legs felt tired. Twice, I almost tripped and Tao - Joanna asked if I was alright. I assured here that I was and continued. Along the way, I saw Sxuanjing snapping away photos of all runners - [Thanks, Sxuanjing!!!] Fd was also busy snapping photos of us at the start/end point.

At the 4th lap, disaster struck. First, I tripped and fell, landing on the left side of my body. My left elbow and left palm was bruised. Luckily, the cut was not deep and the blood stopped bleeding. I stood up slowly and checked if I hurt any other part of my body. There wasn't any and my expensive CW-X tights was alright too! :p I continued running towards the wooden planks. Along the way, saw ST and she told me to clean my wound when I got back to the toilet in case of infection. I thanked her and pressed on, quicken my pace as I wanted to clean the wound soonest possible. I passed by Swoop, who also gave me the same advise. After passing Swoop, towards the house near the golf course, I fell again! This time, on my right. My right shoulder was bruised this time and the impact almost broke my sunglass. There was some blood on my face and a group of hikers helped me up and gave me a tissue to clean myself. I completed my 4th lap slower as I did not want to fall again. At the start/end point, BoSe and Babumouse helped me to cleaned and apply antiseptic solution before my 5th lap. [Thanks, BoSe & Babumouse!!!]

Before I went for the 5th lap, I noted that it was 10 minutes past 1pm - which meant that I was about 10 minutes off my target. I took a banana and some small oranges before setting off. As I fatigued, I took longer time - about 1 hour 40 minutes or so, to complete my 5th lap. That was the same for my 6th lap. By the time I completed the 6th lap, I saw Taz at the start/end point. The time on my watch was 4:30pm thereabout. I told Taz that I wanted to do a 7th lap and I thought I had time to achieve a 7th lap personal record before embarking my 2nd half of my run. Taz obliged and ran the 7th lap with me, urging me to walk all the uphills and taking things slowly as I still had another long journey ahead of me. Also, during this 7th lap, I vomitted as I had been drinking too much sports drinks. Eventually, I completed 7 laps for the MR25 Ultramarathon 2007 in 11 hours 38 minutes 29 seconds. I was pleased. :p

Right after the end of the MR25 Ultra, Fd brought me some food to eat. She also brought me my new set of running attire. I changed to a new pair of running shoes, socks, and put on a cap as it had started to rain. I also took out my poncho. By now, Taz and cfred84 were ready to accompany for my 2nd half of my mission. Without wasting too much time, I bided farewell to some of those who knew about my "secret" mission and ignoring those who didn't. [Sorry - otherwise, I would have to spend time to explain to you guys or risk having people calling me nuts...] Unfortunately, the rain was getting so heavy that we had no choice but to take cover at the overhead bridge leading from MR towards the hospital. We waited for almost 25 minutes before the rain get smaller and we were able to continue. The ground was wet and our shoes were soaked. We had our first pit-stop at the SPC petrol kiosk near SPH as I had the urge of drinking Ribena. :p I couldn't run for long. But now, I was rather tired and my legs wouldn't listen to my instructions and we ended up walking most of the way and jogging at times. Our second pit-stop was at a coffeeshop. My body was feeling sleepy and I needed to drink some coffee. Unfortunately, the coffee was so poor that I was wide awake after drinking 3/4 of it. We left and proceeded towards some private estate. At the third pit-stop at a housing estate, I got myself a chocolate ice-cream. I guess I needed such perks to "pamper" my mind. This was the worse ever 15km covered. I simply had no energy to move fast as I didn't consume enough food while doing the MR25 Ultra event earlier. Big mistake!

We finally arrived at the shed near the 0km/4.3km marker at approximately 11pm. My support crew comprising of Tiwazz, Charlotte, Philip, Roonz, Sera, thelonelyrunner and Fd gave me a rousing welcome. [Teelee would also form my support team later, and not forgetting Taz and cfred84 who already paced me from MR]. For once, Philip was so kind to me. He passed me a hot soup and gave me a good massage that my calves deserved although my calves would beg to differ. After having hot soup, an hard boiled egg, mashed potato and some ice-cold cola, I embarked on my laps round Bedok Reservoir. I covered 2 laps before resting at the shed - this was to simulate the race day condition in South Africa where the aid stations would be situated every 10km apart. Although the 2 laps of 8.6km was much shorter than the 10km distance, it was the best arrangement I could come up with. At every rest point, I drank soup and had an hard-boiled egg. This gave me sufficient energy to continue. As the night progressed, I became more enthusiastic and for some of the laps, I even managed to get faster as I came up with different running / walking combination. I eventually managed 10 laps, covering 43km in a respectable time of 8 hours 18 minutes, stopping at 6:43am. In total, I covered a total distance of 131km within 23 hours 48 minutes. I must thank everyone who were there either throughout the night or only for a short while. Your presence were the reasons why I had completed my trial run successfully, and special thanks for the following support crew who braved their zzzzz monster to run with me:

Lap 1 & 2 - 1 hour 32 minutes
Lap 3 & 4 - 1 hour 33 minutes
Lap 5 & 6 - 1 hour 32 minutes
Lap 7 & 8 - 1 hour 27 minutes
Lap 9 & 10 - 1 hour 34 minutes


ice said...

wow - epic write up.

roentgen said...

Very nice account of an amazing achievement :D Well done Ripley!

Ripley said...

:p have not updated everything yet... my record sheet was missing...