Sunday, April 14, 2013

Twilight Ultra Challenge 2013: 100km in Vibram FiveFingers Classic

Twilight Ultra Challenge is an Ultramarathon where Participants will run as many laps of 10km within the 16hrs limit. Held at East Coast Park, the route is a simple out and back and is generally flat. It can be crowded before midnight and after day breaks. The Main support point at 0km/5km which is also the start and finishing point and 2 secondary support point at 2.5km & 7.5km. This year, the Bib consists of boxes of for marking by official at 2.5km and 7.5km.

This is the third year I took part in this Event since it started in 2011. This is my 5th ultramarathon and my 2nd on the hard road.

The first year in 2011 was hit with severe de-hydration. I was running with good pace until a visit to the restroom at the end of 4th lap. My urine was completely Red with blood and I got to stop immediately and seek medical attention the next day. 4 blood tests in a week to declared cleared of damage.

A big hydration lesson learnt helped to achieve my longest Road Run last year in Vibram FiveFingers Classic for 80km. Preparation for last year was NIL as I was hit by illness for long before I recovered 2 months before. My longest single run before this Ultra is only 15km.

Fitness level for this year was much better than last year and much well prepared. Even Though my weekly mileage was low and my longest run is only 22km, I did more cross training like stairclimbing which helped a lot to sustain the long hours. The only problem I have is a broken toe on the right feet beside my pinky toe which is still not healed after a month.

I am blessed to complete well for this year and there are 3 major achievements in this year Twilight Ultra Challenge:
1. Longest Run at 100km and also the longest with Vibram FiveFingers Classic.
2. My timing for 80km was more than 1hrs 30min faster than last year.
3. My 2nd sub-5hrs full marathon in 4hrs 50min (The first was my first marathon in 2005 in 4hrs 43min)

Preparation started 2 days before..control diet and keep drinking water and isotonic drink...and lots of coffee, no tea, no coke.

I prepared 2 sets of everything from head to toes just to make sure if any equipment goes wrong, I have something spare to replace. Lots of vaseline on important places but I do missed out the tights which resulted in terrible abrasion after the run.

Nutrition for the run as see in the photo below. At the end of the run, I am left with 1 can of Ensure, dextro candy and one packet of GU Chomps. Nutrition Sponosors is the same as previous year but Hammer Nutrition given use Fizzy instead of Heed as isontonic this year.

 Just before putting on my Vibram FiveFingers Classic for the run:

About 100+ runners started the run at 7pm on Sat 30 March 2013 in the busy East Coast Park. This year crowd looks a bit bigger than last year and there are many familiar faces and many missing faces and also new faces expecially from overseas.

Lap 1 (1hr 06min 23sec):
Talked to GAPPY at the start as he was also wearing VFF..but is a bikila. He ran 50km with this and his feet felt trashed to continue and I told him I did 80km last year. Body is fresh and tends to get on fast. Most runners have a relax stroll expect for those really fast ones zooming ahead. I was surprised to see GAPPY racing ahead of Ong Kai Wei(Last year champion with 130km). I adopted the same strategy as previous year to start walking at every 1.25km for 1min 30sec to 2min.
No Nutrition taken.

Lap 2 (1hr 09min 48sec):
Adopted the same Run/Walk strategy and the legs are still feeling good. I actually wanted to do about 1hr 15min for the 1st-4th laps but the first 2 laps are way too fast. BBQ smell is overwheming and the seafood centre is really crowded. I believe I took my first packet of Gu Chomps at the end of this lap.

Lap 3 (1hr 10min 35sec):
Legs started to feel tired and I am still able to maintain the same Run/Walk strategy. A lot of "Good Job" " Looking Strong" "Well Done" "Keep It Up" along the way as we can see runners started to slow down. The park is still alive with parties. I was lapped by Ong Kai Wai for the first time as we finished out lap at the same time...My 3rd and his 4th..I am way too fast for my target....I took a can of Ensure at the end of this lap.

Lap 4 (1hr 12min 50sec):
Started to feel the strain on the body especially the feet.,,I guess I am really going too fast for the first 3 laps...I decided to pull through the same Run/Walk Strategy for this lap. We hit midnight in this lap and the Park is still awake! I managed to complete this lap slightly slower than previous...took my first "toothpaste" gel along for comsumption during my next lap.

Lap 5 (1hr 21min 16sec):
I went ahead and complete my Full Marathon distance under 5hrs and I decided to slow down further after that. I went for distance markers and waterpoints to start walking for 2-3min. Adjust accordingly if needed. The strain got significantly worse from this lap onwards.finished my "toothpaste gel" at the 2.5km water point..Encouragement from fellow runners does help in enduring thru the hardship. I was lucky I have not hit the Wall like last year. Completed just 9min slower than the previous and I am satisfied. Took a packet of Honey Stinger Chews at the end of the lap for shewing during the next lap.

Lap 6 (1hr 29min 48sec):
I managed to maintain the same Run/Walk scheme for this lap...As we see the Park Started to rest...Less people on the path...still managed to complete under 1hr 30min...I took my 2nd can of Ensure at the end of this Lap.

Lap 7 (1hr 32min 27sec):
The strain did not get worse and I managed to maintain proper pacing. The Run/Walk strategy still can work. Lapped by Ong Kai Wei for the second time somewhere along this lap (So he must be on his 9th got now). At 2.5km water point, saw Handsome Henry chatting with his friend...He caught up with me in his slippers flip flop and we chatted the whole 2.5km back to the main support tent at 5km. Chatting with friend does help to forget about the pain and strain. He got to go off for 2XU Compression Run in a few hours time so I went off alone again towards Big Splash. End this lap just 3min slower than the last...Took my second "toothpaste gel" along for comsumption during the next lap.

Lap 8 (1hr 34min 40sec):
Started to feel the next level of strain in this lap. Lucky never hit the wall so no second wind also. I saw the time and I was quite shock that I might come in more than 1hr faster than last year timing for 8 laps...I calculated that I should not hit the sun in this lap also...trying hard to maintain running after walking at every distance marker for 3min. My Walking was significantly slow because I need to stretch as I walk to loosen my tight knee and I have to constantly adjust my toes. I guess I going to have black toe nail for my pinky toes....just 2 min slower than last lap...I took my packet of orange Breeze from Resource at the end of this run.

Lap 9 (1hr 38min 43sec):
This lap was very tough...I decided to slow down further since I have ran more than last year....I started walking much slower and more frequently but I still try to keep to 3min walking before I breakout for the next run. After 5km, the Sun is up...after 7.5km waterpoint, I started to chat with this gentleman from Germany who is on a tour around this region with his wife (His wife ran in this ultra as well). He said I have more than enough time to finish my 100km even if I start to run backwards...He is 2 laps less than me and he will take his time to walk after hitting the main tent..The sun started to show more strength...My slowest lap and I am surprised is still within 1hr 40min....I took my 2nd packet of Honey Stinger Chew at the end of this lap to chew for my next lap.

Still in High Spirit during the last Lap:

Lap 10 (1hr 37min 47sec):
Started to wear my sunglasses as the sun came out in full blast...I was more conservative for the first 5km..trying to run as much as possible before I walk..much less runners than before as most have retired. Ong Kai Wei is still going strong. I managed to pull thru and ended within 14hrs in 13hr 54min 37sec.

The last Jump after 99.9km...100m before finishing line:

Photo with the finishing time clock:

All the Runners who stayed on to the end:

My Bib with the ticks:

Comparison of lap timing for past 3 events (click to enlarge):

This is possible because of the great support from the volunteers and the good organization from Running Guild and also encouragement from fellow ultra runners. Many of them has done very well for their first ultra and some even ran longer than me.

The result is at RESULTS 2013

After the Run, I went for ice water dip and also a Post-run Sports massage from volunteer Andy. My mistake from missing out rubbing more vaseline at my inner Thigh and the Abrasion was terrible. It was quite a scene at the shower room where many others suffered the same abrasion and we are screaming together in the shower.

Post-Recovery Swim the next day:

I will be back to suffer for next year.....

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