Monday, April 23, 2012

Race Report - D'nonce Penang International Hiking Challenge

Event: D'nonce Penang International Hiking Challenge 2012
Date: 23 April 2012
Location: Youth Park, Penang
Distance: 9.5km (7.46km)
Registration Fee: RM50 (Men Open)
Gears: Adizero XT 3, Garmin Forerunner 405
Starting Time: 7.00am
Running Time: 01:22:46
Pace: 11:06

Did some kuli work on Saturday afternoon, soaked in sweat, cleaned myself up, tidying up some housework, set my alarm and went to bed. Posted one status in FB, 'How to race in tired body and exhausted mind?' to reflect the feeling that I had after the tiring Saturday but I have paid for the event, I must be at the starting point, unless there is some medical condition that overrules my principle.

The alarm rang, I remember I took the phone, disarm the alarm, and went back to sleep, luckily I did not oversleep although I was 20 minutes overslept. Quickly, I went downstair to change up, boil water, and get other things ready. This is the first time I will be racing in a trail race after Genting Trailblazer 2011 at the end of 2010, this is the debut race for my Adizero XT 3 which has recorded less than 10km on it. Seems like I was ill-prepared, but no excuse.

I took 2 pieces of triple choc cookies and half a glass of Milo and I drove to Youth Park.

When I reached Youth Park, the normal route has been closed with a few police officers guarding that point. It was a bad sign because I know that any parking slot that I saw would be scarce. It proved me right when the parking slot that I have surveyed during the bib collection was taken up, I had to be more creative since the traffic to the deeper road, near to the Botanical Garden was congested. I parked my car at the entrance of the road to the Indian temple but not blocking any moving cars.

I put on my Nathan Trek, Garmin HRM and walked to the starting point, carrying hope that I will meet someone that I know. I was surprise to see Eng Lam, who is my cousin sister's hubby. He has a better FM finishing time than me in PBIM 2011. I greeted him and wish him good luck int the race.

Soon, the organizer was gathering all the participants at the starting line, but it was a mess because they could not get participants to the back of the starting line, some officers still confuse where to start, where to go, although it is stated in the participant handout. I was speculating the participants will move in different directions after the race started, which fortunately not happening. By the time they sort it out, I was 3m the starting line, but the front liners are 20 m in front of me. It is interesting to know that I will be starting at the back of the pack.

I heard the CM giving a speech to encourage people take care of their own health, exercise and maintain healthy lifestyle. Many people still ignore this simple message that was broadcasted thru TV, radio and many media, not knowing that every ignorance will cost us something.

The race started immediately and it took a while to clear the human traffic, then I had to run faster to catch up a bit. The running distance is around 1km and very soon we were entering the jungle or trail. From there, the route is narrow, there are many participants, hence it was like a congested road with cars. Not knowing that where was I, I tried to overtake as much as I could in the very few meters in the trail, which cost me dear, I was out of steam within 100m in the trail.

Then, it was like never-ending going up, thru staircases and trails. I was soaked in perspiration, I was dehydrating extensively, I was thinking it was due to the humidity but after checking on my Garmin, it was my heart rate, it was raising like nobody's business again, shooting up to 185 per minute. My energy was draining fast and the Garmin could not measure the distance very well, because the measurement was compromised with a lot of elevation.

The organizer just provide plain water for hydration, but isotonic drink is not provided, I bet all the participants need isotonic drinks more due to the effort taken to undertake the hike and trail.

In 3 km mark, I was thinking the difficulty level is comparable to the Trailblazer, the major different could be the number of ups and down only. Moreover, it is quite warm in Penang, compared to Genting Highland. I was slowing down because my energy was draining fast. I stepped aside to let other participants to go thru before so that I could catch back my own breathe.

It was not so far away when I heard we are not far away from the top and going down from there. I was excited to hear that but my Garmin told me different story because I was expecting to cover 9.5k. Many participants were speeding in the downhill path. At the same time, 3-4 top female runners overtook me. Wow, they are fast and strong.

The downhill part was tricky, slippery, rocky, etc. At one point of time, I tumbled as lying down on the floor after accidentally kicked the tree root. What a beating, but I stood up and continued. The route was narrow and dangerous. I sprained my ankle once for not landing properly on a rock. I took a few minutes to recover.

I could feel that both my knees are working hard to take the impact during the downhill, the pace could hit sub-4 in certain interval. Brakes had to be used frequently to slow down and the ankles really had to absorb all the stress. They are hanging on there for me. I was thinking like this is quite severe for me which has not trained on trail in this pace. Then, I sprained my ankles again. Haih.... too bad.

I became cautious, not wanting to sacrifice the joy of running in this race. So, I slowed down. Took careful steps to and finished the race in moderate speed. It took me 1 hour and 23 minute to cover 7.46km as recorded in my Garmin.

1. Bad organizing before the race starts
2. A challenging route to moderate to advance hikers.
3. Ropes to help participants in the trail.

1. No isotonic drinks provided during or after the race. Hence, make the registration fee too expensive.
2. No distance marker.
3. Need to submit lucky draw to claim finisher medals. (you can rate in anyway you want)

Well, it was a difficult race for me. There is not any target that I've set for myself, except completing the race, but I was quite envy to see that some of the runners that I know actually have better timing than I do. Well, I have to have enough rest to let my ankles recover, I still can feel some weird sensation there. They are overworked, thanks to their irresponsible owner. Besides, there is minor cuts on my right palm too.

Anyway, I have had a good lesson here. I'm not strong in trail, I need to work on my muscles, train on hills or elevation. The economy run does not work on elevation.

Until then, I will rest for a few days, hoping that my ankles can recover and continue my road running quest. Maybe I shall schedule in one trail running in every 2 weeks or so.

Below are the summary and details of the race:

 -Get Well Soon-

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