71k, 12.30 hours, 5500 kcal burnt, endless sandwiches, gels, nurtrition bars and cola, yet a DNF
At 1900hr, 12 hours into the race, I sat at CP3 on the return leg for 20 minutes, debating between carry on and quit….
Excitement Filled Ego - ‘Finishing under 12 hours seems doable if I could manage a constant 9kph.’Alarm set at 0515 but I did not get up until 0545. Quickly downed an instant coffee and a nutrition bar, I was off to the MacRitchie Reservoir. Surprised to see it was still dark at the crack of dawn, I quickly checked in my bags at the race start and gathered with Mohan, Hazel and Sam. We had a brief chat about the race and making a few stop-over at Starbucks and
|Mohan and I before race start. Photo credits Running Shots|
0710 Gun Off - Enthusiasm carried me through the first three checkpointsIt was a breezy morning when the gun went off at 0710hr. My legs felt stiff and right calf was still tender from training, my spirit high so I hope my legs would loosen up after 10k. However, my energy levels went down sooner than expected so I quickly ingested 2 GU. I cruised through CP 1 and CP 2 at 0830hr and 0930 respectively, just as planned.
At each checkpoint, there are bread, spread, fruits, water and sports drinks. Noticing a drop of energy, I quickly grabbed a piece of bread with Nutella in spite of being yeast intolerant.
Checkpoint 2 – 4 – Thank God for 7-11From CP2 – CP4, it was a bit of navigation through the city. My pace dropped to a stroll in the park when various pains started to kick in. As the temperature rises, my system begged for something cold and sweet, so I made a quick stop-over at 7-11 for a bottle of coke and cold water just before CP4.
CP4 to CP5 back to CP4 - 21k of unexpectedMore Nutella sandwiches, sugary drinks and water later, I set off once again for CP5, it was when I left CP4 and the sun was blazing in full glory. My feet were already hurting from 4 hours pounding the pavement, turns out my Mizuno Racers were too thin for concrete. The inappropriate footwear gave me a swollen ankle and dull pain in the right glutes (literally pain in the ass), my strolling pace slowed down to a walk in the backyard.
The distance from CP4 to CP5 was 11.5k out in the open, then we had to make a turnaround to take the same route back to CP4 on the return leg. Knowing it would be the most challenging stretch in race, the heat was totally unexpected!
It felts like 40 degrees on the rocky hard surface and I could feel the heat and pain searing through the thin sole of my Mizuno. I thought of Badwater ultramarathon.
My smart choice of outfits (singlet and super short running shorts) gave me bad chafing between legs and I could feel my skin burning under the hot sun. Thank God Fokker (a serviced airport in
) lifted my spirit. Running past Fokker, sand dunes and hot rocky
terrain, you would think that it was the worst of all until I made a turnaround
and faced the same demon. Singapore
Music blaring at CP5, there are chips, more sandwiches, brownies, fruits, pasta, soft drinks so I was RELUCTANT to leave just to go back on that dreadful walk through hell. On the way back, I saw Mohan and we quickly snapped a photo. Another two hours walk back to CP4, you bet I was cursing all the way especially when I saw Fokker once again.
How Much Can I Walk?!
Water ran out sooner than expected and I started to feel a little light-headed from dehydration. The volunteers at each checkpoint were more than helpful to satisfy every demand from grumpy runners.
Last Stretch To CP3 - 71k done, 30k to walk
When chafing grew nastier and pain larger, every step was painful. My mind gave in and I was convinced to give up half way to CP3, yet I insisted to walking there at a pace of 3.5kph. Yes, my 80-year-old grandmother walks faster.
By the time I reached CP3, I was almost in tears from frustration. Feeling frustrated with my weak mind, I sat there for 20 minutes. Called my best friend to whine about the pain and my wish to give up, he told me to push on but I was too overcome by my weakness. It was painful to either quit or carry on yet I choice to quit, so at 71k, Joey Tam DNF.
Going Distance - A hard beating on my ego yet realization with my shortcomings
As a physical trainer with a big ego, I always encourage my clients to try harder and go beyond their limits. Personally I push myself hard at the gym but this race was truly an eye-opening experience. The Mother Earth possesses enormous power that it makes me feel so small and powerless, it is a real test on spirit when my flaws emerge.
After-thoughts – Gratitude
All credits go to race organizer who made great effort with putting the race together, the volunteers who helped out at each checkpoint with smiling faces helping unconditionally for more than 12 hours.
|Organizer Ben Swee putting up distance marker|
Mohan, my friend finished the race just under cut-off time and I took my hat off for his spirit.
Facts On Craze Ultra
Ingested 2 gels, a pack of cashews, 1 Stephen James nutrition bar, 15 Nutella/ Peanut butter sandwiches, a handful of chips, 1L coke, 500ml Hammer isotonic, 7L water. Pee only once in 12.30 hours and very bad chafing. 2 hours stomach shut-down but managed to eat 4 meat balls and curry mutton with rice post-race.