Friday, May 26, 2017

1H2017 Review




Prologue

I've been on an eating spree straight after SCKLM 2017. And I'm talking about the good stuff, oily, spicy and lots of it. Maybe it's because I'm genuinely hungry and need all of that food in. Or maybe, subconciously because Ramadhan is near (which explained the food choices). Didn't run at all and did some short swim to move the legs/exercise. I'm just gonna take the week off. Anyway, before the next training block I would like to see how I did. I semi-decided on doing a 100k ultra after Ironman Langkawi 2016. But, I did decide to try and sub 4 SCKLM 2017. After some fun days in the mountains early in training, I was convinced and was set. I needed something challenging/new in the 2nd half of 2017 anyways. This resulted in a pretty mixed training schedule and also results.

Training Summary

1) The goal was to try and run ~60km per week with an average elevation of ~1,000 per week. Stats:

Training Weeks : 26 weeks (27 November 2016 - 21 May 2017)
Goal Avg. Mileage : ~ 60 km/week
Goal Avg. Elevation : ~ 1,000 m/week

Average Mileage : 57.7 km/week
Average Elevation : 854.5 m/week
Average Duration : 6:39:58 h:m:s/week
Max mileage : 80.3 km/week
Max Elevation : 2,974 m
Max Duration : 11:22:38 h:m:s/week
Cumulative Mileage : 1,501.25 km
Cumulative Elevation : 22,217 m
Cumulative Duration : 173:19:07 h:m:s


                        Training Review


                        2) Base training went on until week 16 and started to do the fast stuff week 17.  At week 15, managed the best long training run in terms of pace which coincidently was the highest (max) mileage I ever did. Week 20, felt a little shitty and decided to spend a week more to recover only to feel better a few weeks after. Probably forced a lot of running in this period because almost every session felt sluggish. Tried to maintain 60km/week after week 16.

                        3) I probably dropped the mileage a little too drastically after week 16 to compensate for the increased intensity. The fast stuff were actually short (beginner/entry level speed and tempo workout) and probably could've gradually reduced the mileage. Rests do enhance performance. My best days occur after a short rest followed by a big week. It seems that KOKK was something I needed to sort of kick start the peaking process for SCKLM 17. Actually felt pretty good going in the final week of SCKLM17 which is a sign that maybe there is a thing as too much rest. But the prolonged shitty period around week 20 was probably because of the cumulative fatigued and not enough rest.


                        4) As far as time is concerned, going into trail takes at least half a day. This is something I need to carefully plan in the future. But you get that vert and time on the trail/actual terrain which is necessary. It also takes a toll on the body since I probably went a little too hard on some of these climbs which probably explained the intenste fatigue experienced around week 11 and also after week 16. I could've probably used the time and be more specific with my marathon training like running long instead of going vert. But hours out on the trails are more fun.

                        5) But still, in terms of time spent (per week), it was still less than what I was averaging during Ironman training which was around 14hours per week. Speaking of Ironman, I probably manage to cope with the beginning part of training because of the conditioning from training for an Ironman. I wasn't out of it (training) too much after Ironman.


                        6) I was kind of obsessed with vert because I know it was something I haven't trained for before and will feature a lot in ultras. I was running mostly flat/low elevation type of terrain previously. I enjoyed the mountains so much so that I probably over did it. I also took the opportunity to recce places where I could train for TMBT once I decided that I would try a 100k in 2H2017:

                        G. Datuk - Good when balik kampung and wanting to get some vert in.
                        G. Angsi via Ulu Bendul - Going to feature a lot in 2H2017. Love the descent and less people.
                        G. Datuk + G. Gagak + G. Rembau - Fun but won't be training here much.
                        G. Nuang - Always a favourite. Marked for 2H2017.
                        G. Berembun + G. Telapak Buruk - Marked for 2H2017. Quite runnable and less people.
                        Trans Angsi (Angsi via Ulu Bendul + B. Putus) - Plenty of variation. Marked for 2H2017.
                        Trans Nuang - No brainer. Also marked for 2H2017.

                        Training/Racing Comments

                        7) Basically the first half of 2017 was mainly about finishing an ultra (50ks) and training for SCKLM 2017. Also had some races to get use to the competitive environment which for me was a good way to go beyond what I can do in training. Finished my first 50km and manage to get on the podium for my 2nd which was pretty cool but only to fall short by about 9 minutes at SCKLM 2017. 1H2017 Races:

                        March 2017 GNU 2017 : 50km, 7:35:15
                        April 2017 HLTR 2017 : 17km, 1:45:16
                        May 2017 KOKK 2017 : 50km, 6:46:36
                        May 2017 SCKLM 2017 : 42.2km, 4:09:17

                        8) I did however manage to increase my cadence at roughly 170spm so it's not entirely about race results. Cramps has lessen and I feel a lot better running long. I manage to run long consistently every week for around 2 hrs or 20km. Ran 30km long run for the first time in this training block and did my first ultra/longest/highest run ever without any major issue. So a lot of positives there. I would also include doing track workouts in training, varying core/strengthening routine, trying out massages as an achievement because I've never tried them before and they could/would feature in the next training block.

                        9) Regardless of the positives/ahievements, I didn't meet my training goal (came close tho) of averaging 60km/week and 1000m of elevation. I felt I could've done better and it was something tangible, so it kind of left a bitter taste in the mouth. I am going to try to at least hit & maintain the numbers I aim for next time.

                        Future Plans

                        9) Register tune up races (CULTRA 2017 50k & TMMT 2017 70k). Check. Register "A" Race (TMBT 2017 100k). Check. Logistics TMBT. Pending.

                        10) Diet was my main weakness. Couldn't be consistent with a good energy rich/healthy diet. I put it down to a mixture of laziness on my part and lack of choice. I need to come up with a plan and try to be consistent eating good stuff. But curbing my appetite for those good stuff is also going to take some effort.

                        11) I feel like I'm in the 30km region in terms of comfortable running which is quite ok because I don't plan to run over that distance in training. Legs still need some strengthening as exposed on those hills/vert in races.

                        12) By the look of it, I can take in quite considerable amount of mileage but with planned rest. This is quite comforting as I plan to increase my average weekly mileage and peak mileage. I'm also considering double days, back to back days and longer long runs. Track session will continue and I'll be going to spend a lot of time in the trail (duh).

                        13) I don't think I will insert rests that are too long (either planned or forced) since it will take a while for me to get back to it. However, for me, when I overdid training, fatigue was only felt during low/rest week and it took another week to sort of build up again which explained the extended sluggish feeling. This was the main take away I learned in this training block and one that I often ignore. Tapering for TMBT will be a challenge.

                        14) Going to come up with a plan for the 2H2017 and incorporate what I've experienced in racing and also training. For now going to take it easy and prepare for Ramadhan.

                        Tuesday, May 23, 2017

                        Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur International Marathon (SCKLM) 2017 Race Notes

                        A post shared by Hafdzuan (@hafdzuan) on

                        Pre-Race

                        1. Got my race kit, got some gels and checked into Quality Hotel on Saturday. Packed dinner from SOGO.

                        2. In terms of gear, my Skechers 4 Go Run and was the footwear of choice (no choice - my only shoe currently lol). I wore a 3/4 tights with the issued race shirt. 5 high 5 gels (+ another 2 on course) with 5 salt pills.

                        Race Day

                        3. Shakeout, breakfast, poop, warm up and baggage drop. I was lazy to get to the pen entrance which was on the other side from where I was so I climbed into my starting pen. The goal was to go under 4 hours or close to it.

                        4. With that in mind, I executed my pacing strategy. The first 8 km, effort and cadence was good. I was around 5:50 min/km which was a bit off goal avg pace but I know there was still a long way to go to make up for it. I wanted to really get in the groove before increasing the effort. But, then stomach started feeling a bit sloshy after getting some water and gel down. So I decided to run it off to see whether it's just the stomach waking up. At 10km, it's confirmed, I needed to take a dump. I can't be running with all the "baggage" in me so I stopped, offload and ran again.

                        5. I actually came closest to the 4hr pacers at around the U turn point at AKLEH (or was it duke?) around 12km. So I was not that concerned about my pace but I planned to stop at 15km for Subuh. So I knew I had to later somehow make up the gap to the 4 hr pacers. Once I reached the mobile surau, there was still 15 minutes to Subuh. So I had to continue on. At around 17-18km, I had to take another dump. So that got me really worried and annoyed. If I was breaking 4, it's going to be close because of all the unplanned stops.

                        6. At around the half way mark, stopped for Subuh. Before I resumed, checked my average pace and it was at 6min/km. And I was like 5 minutes off my split goal time at 21km mark. So naturally, I panicked and decided to increase my effort and try to reduce the deficit. It was too early in the race to attack but I had to risk it. I knew I had to get to goal pace (or the pacers) before the hilly section. But I did reserved some energy for the hills.

                        7. So, up to 30km the main goal was to reduce avg pace and I was at around 5:49/km at 30km. It was not good enough. Attacked all downhills. As I entered the hilly sections at around 32km I kind of knew I was not going to make it but I still pushed on hoping that I could take advantage of the downhill.

                        8. At 35km, the hills proved too much for me. I cramped, but not too bad and had to alternate walking/running on the hills. Going down hill, had to sometime stop and stretch the legs. It was demotivating but I didn't give up and just ran as hard as I could. I had nothing to lose at that point. But my form was already all over the place.

                        9. Nearing 41km, I passed 4 hours. I stopped and walked to the nearest aid station. It was as if I planned to run exactly 4 hours that day. I know I wanted to go close to 4 hours but all motivation and focus I had just went away. I started to think about the aches and pain. There wasn't any incentive for me to push it anymore. So for the rest of the race, my only real motivation to run/jog was to finish the race and reunite with my family. And I manage just that.  

                        Post Race

                        10. Walking to collect the finisher tee and medal, my head was down and I was so fatigued. Then my wife and kids were screaming for me by the side of the finisher tent area and that somewhat cheered me up. Met some friends afterwards but I was so tired to hang around so decided to get back to the hotel. But not after I took another dump at the mobile porta potty.

                        11. So with that, I ended my SCKLM 2017 with my goal quite literally down the toilet.

                        Race Notes

                        12. Race itenerary kind of went like this:

                        Saturday
                        02:00 PM: Race kit collection/got gels
                        01:00 PM: Check in & rest
                        05:00 PM: Recce race site, goof around with the kids at finish line and met with some friends
                        07:00 PM: Got dinner
                        08:00 PM: Dinner & prepare race gear/shirt
                        09:00 PM: Sleep

                        Sunday
                        02:50 AM: Shakekout run, eat & shower
                        03:30 AM: Warm up to venue & sort out drop bag
                        03:50 AM: Wait in starting pen
                        04:00 AM: Race
                        08:10 AM: Finish Race
                        08:30 AM: Gather myself/cool down
                        08:50 AM: Poop and get back to hotel
                        09:00 AM: Rest/hydrate/eat & check phone
                        09:45 AM: Went to the pool to check on kids
                        11:30 AM: Check out
                        12:45 PM: Lunch
                        02:00 PM: Home and sleep

                        13. The race cost me:

                        Registration: RM90
                        Accomodation: RM222
                        Travel to venue & Race kit Collection: 1hr  (Quality Hotel, 45 km x 2)
                        Traveling cost: Conservative estimate at RM0.40/km : 90 km X RM0.4/km = RM36 ~ RM40 (plus toll)
                        Travel distance from hotel to start line: 1km
                        Waiting for toilet: NA
                        Sorting out drop bag: No issue

                        14. Race Detail:

                        Placing (Time diff. to leader): 148/3222 (+1:33:20) [First Malaysian 2:35:56]
                        Time: 4:09:17
                        Pace: 5:54/km
                        Distance: 42.2km
                        Elevation: 279m  - my Garmin (some recorded up to 500m)

                        *FM Malaysian Open Category

                        Race Comments

                        15. For RM 352 I think it was worth it considering the race facilities and services provided. The baggage drop was quick, everything was well marked, volunteers were plenty, hydration/nutrition were good. They could cut the huge banana in half though. I think it was a bit wasteful. I could've saved by travelling to the venue on race day but I think I made a wise choice since I got extra sleep and having not worry about parking etc. It also allow my family to be there at the finish and they had a great time being out there through out the 2 days as well. The last time I did SCKLM I remembered running around Pavilion and KLCC. The new course wasn't as scenic but it is what it is. Overall, the race was simply professional and the atmosphere was electric/awesome. There were so much energy at the start. Basically, everything you would want at a race was encapsulated in SCKLM 2017.

                        16. As far as my race is concerned, I probably took for granted pre race nutrtion because I never had any stomach issues. Like ever. Until that day. But when I look back at it, most of my races were mainly just about finishing and this was actually the first time I set a time goal and kind of trained for it. So the intensity and the pressure must have got something to do with it.

                        17. I could've also be more specific with my training. The race was like a long run + long hill repeats near the end. And I just didn't do that kind of training.

                        18. On the upside, the progressive runs, long runs + some track session helped a lot in terms of holding pace. I didn't bonk and I didn't feel like my legs were completely gone. I manage to push it and passed some runners even after 32 km (the wall). So I guess that was down to training. Mileage wise I probably did enough but wasn't specific to the demand of the race and it showed.

                        19. At a personal level, I want to run well, especially after my previous two marathon attempt ended up in me limping the last 10km to the finish. Finished 5:30 and 5:45 or something like that. I can't (or don't want to) remember.  A sub 4 marathon would look good on my running resume too and provided a well deserved redemption.

                        20. I wanted to make every race or whatever I'm doing count because I feel I owe it to my family for all the time they have granted me/I have taken away from them. It gives me great satisfaction to train and execute a race by giving all I could on race day. It rationalizes all the time spent training and lessen the feeling of guilt. I think that day, apart from the toilet stops, I gave it all for 41km. I was demoralized after 4 hours and spent the last 1km feeling sorry for myself haha.

                        21. I didn't want to go down regretting and wishing I could've done better, but I did. My race plan was executed up to the 8km mark and afterwards I was pretty desperate chasing shadows. Thousands of "what ifs" circulated at the back of my mind after the race. And the main thing I was totally upset about was the toilet stops. Just to rub salt into the wound, Garmin showed my moving time was 3:59:21 with an average pace of 5:36/km. To have that information doesn't help the situation at all. lol.

                        22. I remember looking at the buses parked at the side of the road at 21km ready to pick up those who didn't meet the COT. For me COT was 4 hrs, but for some, it's the real race COT and that kind of perspective was needed to appreciate and also be grateful with what I've accomplished. Races are like life. Along the way, things don't go according to plan and sometime you get really close to what you want only to fall short. Response is the difference between those who eventually get what they're after and those who don't.

                        23. From the glass half empty perspective, this particular failure puts me in my place. Comparing my result to 1st Malaysian isn't realisitc/relevant. Maybe for now, it's suffice to say I need to shave 9-10 minutes off my next marathon. As I struggle up those hills, all my weaknesses were revealed. I wasn't totally ready for that kind of effort yet. It says a lot about my training and racing.

                        24. As I'm writing this, I kind of got over the result and excited to try again harder and better not just for my next sub 4 attempt but racing in general.

                        Final Note

                        25. The race was good. No complaint what so ever. I'm going to do it again next year. Attempting to break 4 in SCKLM will continue. I'll maybe do other marathons but to me I have to sub 4 SCKLM. haha. Having my family through out the 2 days, especially at the finish was great. Good to see other runners and for me to personally run the marathon again (the 2016 Ironman marathon doesn't count lol).

                        26. I now have a benchmark to improve upon. I learned a lot and eventhough I fell short, the positive and negative feedback is invaluable as I moved on to my next goal which is to finish a 100k ultra marathon.

                        27. And that is basically it for the first half of 2017. Going to objectively assess the training and races done in 1H2017 and hopefully do better next time. Rest and trail season next. Woo hoo.


                        Tuesday, May 16, 2017

                        SCKLM 2017 Preview

                        Feeling Notes

                        1. Few days after King of Kg. Kemensah 2017, I went for a massage to facilitate recovery. I couldn't wait to start running again after KOKK2017. I however listened to my body and took it easy. But for days, my body had other ideas and seems to be on strike. I just don't feel like running or doing anything physical for that matter. Which is quite worrying since SCKLM is in a matter of days. I'm afraid I've peaked too soon. I still have some workout to complete so can't exactly all out rest yet eventhough it's taper week.

                        2. The goal for SCKLM is to break 4 (jinxed it). So some pressure there because I have to run at a reasonable pace most of the time. I have to run around 5:35'ish/km to break 4 and it's gonna be tough. But I trained for months (kind of) and hopefully I can break 4 or at least finish close to it.

                        3. The training has been a mix of marathon training and also training for TMBT which is another "A" race I'm looking forward to. There's nothing much left to do except trust the training and let everything unfold.

                        Preview

                        4. I like to go in with some kind of plan.  I can just follow the sub 4 pacers with the balloons and stuff but I rather use the pacers to confirm/validate my effort rather than use them as a guide. I might pass them if I feel I can go faster but at the same time I know I can pace them if I'm struggling. I might not follow the so called plan and probably wing it on race day but at least I have something in my mind to focus on and avoid daydreaming during the run.

                        5. It's easier to negative split shorter races but longer races is usually about trying not to slow down too much and mainly being consistent with pacing. I wanted to see which KM I should watch out for. That's basically the plan. It might seem a bit obsessive but I went and pulled 2016 SCKLM sub 4 and sub 3:30 marathoner data from Garmin Connect. I'm assuming I somewhat share their running ability and had prepare more or less similiarly (except the 3:30 - for benchmark purpose). My simple school children analysis showed some general trend:

                        a) All sub 4 hrs runner tend to start out a few km too fast. But stayed on pace until KM 20-23;
                        b) All positive splitted and cross the sub 4 pace (5:35/km) vs average pace at around KM 22-23;
                        c) Struggle starts generally at KM 30-32;
                        d) Last 10k seems quite tough; and
                        e) They end the last 2-3km faster than their average.




                        6. I've read about this before (the 32km wall etc.) and I also have experienced it. Among others, elevation and time of day might be one of the contributing factor:

                        a) KM0~KM5: Starting out fast is normal because you've tapered and feel good. It is 4AM so it's cool as well;
                        b) KM22-23: Starts to slow down. The first big hill. It is also around the 2 hour mark where glycogen depletion starts to creep in. Might be around 6AM;
                        c) KM24~KM30: Still maintaining speed but using more energy to do so. Humidity picks up as sun starts to rise. Might be around 6AM-7AM;
                        d) KM30~KM32: Struggling. Probably hit the wall. A hill here just to make sure. Sunrise 7AM - 7:30AM;
                        e) KM32~KM40: Grind. The highest hill in the entire course followed by the 2nd highest hill in the entire course. Near 8AM; and
                        f) KM42: All out. Trying to get that sub 4 and going downhill maybe. 8AM (Sub 4).

                        7. Of course, this is all me in my own bubble making a simple analysis/assumption from a handful of runner's data. Not exactly PhD material, I know, but still provided some insight as to how I should run this marathon. The plan might go like this:

                        a) Warm up. No choice if I want to start near average goal pace and not too slow;
                        b) Forget negative split. Focus on negative effort. I'll be needing it in the last 10-15kms;
                        c) Stop for subuh at 15km and load up on nutrition while at it;
                        d) KM 24-30 is silently dangerous, slight rolling downhill/flat, so might actually carry some rhythm here and thus might be leaking energy unknowingly at this stretch. Not to get carried away going faster than goal pace. Patience;
                        e) Grind the last quarter of the race but steady on the hills. Might have to run my ass off to get 4;
                        f) Stop at all water station, 1 gel before race, gel every 1 hr, salt every 1 hr or consume based on feel. Use on course isotonic and water;and
                        g) Try to gain some time on the downhill.

                        8. Looking at the strategy and calculated splits for an avg 5:35/km pace marathon, it's gonna be tough because I never tried holding that pace for the entire marathon distance before.

                        KM Minimum Splits
                        5 0:27:55
                        10 0:55:50
                        15 1:23:45
                        20 1:51:40
                        21.1 1:57:48
                        25 2:19:35
                        30 2:47:30
                        35 3:15:25
                        40 3:43:20
                        42.2 3:55:37

                        9. I might have actually scripted my downfall with this "analysis". Haha. But, maybe it'll turn out to be a great plan and me going further below than just 4. Or I might end up doing something totally different and bonk. That's the beauty of training for a goal and not to just finish. But I'm looking forward to the feedback from race day. The risks and decisions made, the uncertainties and lessons learned.

                        10. Just like the Nike Breaking 2 attempt where all the marginal gains made the difference on the day, I need a lot of things going for me to break 4. What's for sure is that the course is designed to have plenty of hills in the 2nd half of the marathon. This is actually a hilly marathon. So yeah, I need a lot of luck with that.

                        Tuesday, May 09, 2017

                        King of Kampung Kemensah (KOKK) 2017 Race Notes





                        Pre-Race 

                        1. Looking back, registering for this race seems reckless if I am really serious about SCKLM. Hope not. Registered for this race because it was so much fun the last time around and maybe also due to the fact I got 2nd place in the 18k category last year. Maybe a bit of both. Went for the 50km race distance this year as a tune up for TMBT and a long run for SCKLM (might prove costly).

                        2. 50km was hard the last time and I don't think it's ever gonna get any easier. So, few days before the race, slept early and rested a lot. I tried to anyway. Kind of glad I don't have to travel all the way to race venue to pick up the kit. Since the collection was done at Midvalley, took the chance to look/survey trail shoes on sale to replace my current one which was already kind of dodgy with its lugs almost completely gone. The sole was ripped but I got them stitched up. Still wore them race day.

                        Race Day

                        3. As far as strategy goes, I had to either take it easy all the way (easy .. haha) or try my luck near the end of the race if I had anything left. But the main thing I wanted to test out was nutrition and pacing. At GNU2017 I bonked and never recovered. I think it was mainly due to nutrition and erratic pacing. Since I have all that space in my Skinpro 10, I took 6 packet of hammer gels, about >15 salt pills, 2 snickers, two cans of red bull and plain water with me. I thought it was a bit overkill but boy, am I glad I brought em.

                        4. The first 10 km was fairly ok. I hold back as much as I could, but going downhill I ran a bit. I also ran a bit going uphill. The trail was muddy and slippery and I fell few times. The river crossing was refreshing and also serve to clean whatever mud was sticking to me. Got to the aid stations and there was water, 100 plus, bread and some dates. But no watermelons. I thought it might be at the next aid station. But little did I know at that time, I would only see watermelons at the finish.

                        5. At about halfway, which coincidently where the steepest hill was, it dawned on me that there were only dates and bread at all of these aid stations. I thought after the brutal climb, we were going to be rewarded with watermelons, oranges etc. But there were only dates, bread and 100 plus. There was one aid station with oranges though. I planned to feast myself with fruits at halfway since I have had it with dates. I wanted to also use the opportunity to ease the cramps which had slowly built up. I was feeling a bit frustrated, so I just top up my water supply, rehydrate and chatted with the volunteers a bit. After getting everything sorted, I turned for the last 20+km to get to the finish. I was 3rd at the time so I guess it was worth to "race" the last third of the race.

                        6. Then, came the plot twist, the aid station from then on were basically left with only water. And everything just became terribly hard from that point on. I was trading places with the 4th place guy. We chatted a bit during the climbs. I was half running/limping and was calculating my next gel/salt consumption. I was trying to avoid running on deficit. I conciously slowed down to take in food and manage the cramps. The last 10km, I only stopped briefly for water and some perskindol and manage to open a gap.

                        7. I tried all the tricks in the books to keep going that final kms. I told myself that if I don't run this section, the guys behind me will and eventually catch up. I also convinced myself that it's just like those hills I ran in training, except that it's not even close. I didn't bonked. Just the cramps.

                        8. I manage to reserve a packet of gel whereas the salt pills was finished. I was out of the woods and was 3rd. So I kind of feel like it was a done deal and if someone were to overtake me at that point, I was ok with it. I already gave it all I could. I was jogging/walking at the tarmac section and when I looked back, the 4th place guy was there. Looking solid. I guess he must've ran pretty hard and I was genuinely thinking I'm gonna get passed. I took that last gel and fortunately everything switched on. I lengthen my stride and ran for like 500m. Looked back occasionally just to make sure. I guess I was not completely ok with someone overtaking me, especially for a podium finish. Haha. Near the finish I slowed down once I realized I finally got it. The pack of 1st and 2nd place finisher was at the front all day.

                        Post-Race

                        9. Finally, watermelons. Chatted with other runners and continue chatting with the 4th place finisher Mr. Balrama. He pushed me till the end at the 18km race race last year and also this year. Went on stage to accept the awards, pictures etc. and went back home. The kids loved the hamper and I got a voucher for merrel shoes. So it was a good day for all. Well maybe not all. My wife got the laundry to contend with.

                        Race Notes

                        10. After messing up at HLTR17, arriving late etc. I had a good look at how I can be more efficient going to races. So, the section below is kind of like a simple thought process of doing a race. Can be used as a mental checksheet when registering for a race. Also good for budgeting overseas races in the future.

                        11. Race day kind of went like this:

                        4:00 AM: Wake Up, Eat & Shower
                        5:00 AM: Travel to venue / Subuh
                        6:15 AM: Sort out drop bag & warm up
                        6:30 AM: Race
                        1:30 PM: Finish Race
                        2:00 PM: Shower/Zohor/Post race socializing
                        3:30 PM: Race Awards
                        3:50 PM: Move to home
                        5:00 PM: Home

                        12. The race cost me:

                        Registration: RM180.50
                        Accomodation: NA
                        Travel to venue: 1h15min hours (Kampung Kemensah, 52 km x 2)
                        Travel to race kit collection: 40 mins (Midvalley Megamall, 38.2 km x 2)
                        Traveling cost: Conservative estimate at RM0.40/km : 180.4 km X RM0.4/km = RM72.16 ~ RM80 (plus toll)
                        Travel distance from parking to start line: 250m
                        Waiting for toilet: NA
                        Sorting out drop bag: No issue

                        13. Race Detail:

                        Placing (Time diff. to leader): 3/94 (+00:21:09)
                        Time: 6:46:36
                        Pace: 8:07/km
                        Distance: 50km
                        Elevation: 1492m

                        Race Comments

                        14. In total, it cost me about RM260 and a whole day to complete this race. But, for the price to race 7 hour in a beautiful dense forest, it was totally worth it.You also get 2 t shirts (awesome design) and a medal. I think a lot of emphasis is given to race goodies nowadays but I personally think services provided by race organizers are often overlooked. The volunteers who were bitten by mosquitos, having to sleep in the woods and wait for people were exceptional. Can't fault them with anything.

                        15. The organizers were great. Loved that it's a simple set up and have this kind of laid back feel to it. I think post race was chilled and our voices were not drowned by the music. In some races, the PA system with the music etc. can get a bit annoying. Took a bath in the toilet too.

                        16. Had pacat bites like 2 on my abs area and 2 on ankle. It comes with the race package, so can't complain there. Got small bit of stones in shoes. Need gaiters for sure.

                        17. I don't want to sound like a diva but I think the aid stations could be better stocked. I know it is hard to get stuff onto the course but the pre-race info suggested (to me at least) the aid station would be stocked with the usual. Luckily I brought some on my own. I was giving water to a runner who was worried he might not make the cut off and was running low on water. That got me thinking about other runners with still some way to go.

                        18. Coming from shorter trail/road racing and triathlons, it does feel a bit like an anomoly. I have however, only done 2 ultra races. So I can't exactly say in terms of aid stations, whether this was either the rule or the exception.

                        Final Note

                        19. Beautiful race but make no mistake, the course was hard. Again, cramps threaten to derail the race but kind of got it under control. I think I was also a bit lucky not to be overtaken near the end. Got 3rd place and along with it Merrel shoe voucher which I think I'm going to cash in. But to put things in perspective, a 20min+ gap with the leader plus a close finish meant there's a long way to go for me to properly execute a good 50km/1500m+gain race. The organizer probably could do better with the whole aid station but maybe I'm asking too much considering the logistics. Overall, I can't ask for more in terms of efforts put in. So all in all, it was great and will do it again.

                        20. Now for the 1H2017 finale! SCKLM 2017!!

                        Wednesday, April 12, 2017

                        Hulu Langat Trail Run 2017 Race Notes




                        1) Kind of looking forward to this race to gauge current fitness level and see how I fare with other runners. Woke up race day and it was raining. Was a bit chilled with how I did things that morning. Did the usual, breakfast and stuff. While on my way out, the kids woke up and resumed sleeping in my room. So everybody was all nice and cozy tucked inside a warm blanket. For a while, I felt to do the same.

                        2) I was suppose to go out at 6 am knowing the race would start at 7:30 am which means I have an hour and a half to get to the venue. So I was quite relaxed and liked how that feel the last time I raced. But I finally got out at around 6:30. Waze showed I'd arrive at 7:15 which was ok. Then a few minutes later it revised its projection to 7:30 and about 10km to race venue it said 7:50. The traffic was pretty bad so I decided to park 1.5km away as a warm up and continue onto the course.

                        3) The goal was to race and I was pretty much ready to do so. But first, had to pee. So I got that done near some bushes (one of the advantages of trail running). I was carrying a bottle of gatorade, a gel and 3 salt pills for nutrition. So I went in and ran it like a race. But there wasn't any motivation to keep the intensity high. I just ran as hard as I could and was constantly stopped by bottlenecks formed around steep technical sections. Data showed I completely stopped for around 5 minutes at one section. On other sections I had to slow down but I probably needed a breather anyway.

                        4) When I finally finished, I got some water and went running another 1.5km to the car. Didn't wait around since I don't want to get stiff. Cheered some runners still on the course and even gave out my gatorade. Went home and everything started to hurt and sore. As expected.

                        5) As for the race, it was raining so it was a bit cool and helped with the run a bit. I didn't use any gel or salt, just on course nutrition (fruit & 100 plus) and my gatorade. Course was runnable and on some hills I didn't stop. So that was good. As for the course, it was muddy, so I was a bit slow/careful but on tarmac section I tried to make up the time. All in all, it was a good race and I think I ran quite ok.

                        6) I also learned the importance of getting logistical matters right and I'm glad I've booked a hotel for SCKLM to prevent stuff like this from happening again. Official result showed I'm about a good 20-30mins off the top 10 placings.

                        7) KOKK next and it's happening 2 weeks before SCKLM so probably gonna have to be wise about how I'd run that one to not compromise SCKLM.