The Most Beautiful Thing 2015

I reprise my participation of ‘the most beautiful thing’ TMBT ultra trail marathon & trail run this year, by joining the same distance as last year of 25km.  
 This was me trying out my 3quarter compression with compression socks, and last year event tee.

To be honest, this year is extremely brutal route and weather, yet, for TMBT, for me. I got my first DNF yesterday as i didn’t make it for the 7hours cut-off time at WS3a-Lobong junction. I arrived 20minutes past the cut-off time.

It was rather a mixed feeling, everything sum up together. I’ll give a brief review of the run here, but pictoral and illustation only up to WS1-WS2 as after that, i have to ziplock my iphone because of the heavy rain. I don’t have the gopro and all those shit as i can’t afford it yet.
 My faithful North Face ‘bomber bag’ , ‘ketupat’

I flew back to KK on friday morning, arriving afternoon, just the right time to collect my race bib and to check on the mandatory kit list at Magellan Sutera Harbour.   Few essential items for 25k except for the collapsible mug/bowl/spork. The rest, yes especially the wind/waterproof jacket, reflective vest, emergency blanket, salt, hydration bag, to name a few. My lesson for last year TMBT, to invest in a good waterproof/windproof jacket and a good trail shoes. I bought the North Face triclimate jacket for thousand over ringgit, enough to go down to zero degrees and also, the shell is sturdy enough to cover you from drench wet. Secondly, trail shoes. I invested in brooks cascadia last year, and i lost 2 of my big toe nail after Hasuu Tasu last year. This year, i bought the sturdy and reliable Salomon Speedcross. So far, i have no black toe nail yet. Smart move. However, i need to look into investing in the hydration vest where i can put more things inside, my camelbak is just nice for full marathon road race but a little bit small to carry for trail running. Am looking into the salomon hydration vest.

 Ya, am just trail running for 25k, not ultra trail marathon.

My 29th August day started by waking up early and waiting for the shuttle bus at Marina Club, Sutera to take me to the starting point. Photo shows am waiting for another 15minutes before the bus make it move, and am wearing the racematix time chip.  

We drop by at the kota belud hotel for toilet break before heading to the destination.
  The jambatan gantung

 We’re taking this ‘jambatan gantung’ hanging bridge to go to the starting point.
Checking-in myself at the hall before the race start.

Uncle and aunties greeting us with traditional music. I love this.   Welcoming all competitors.

  Everyone excited and taking pictures.

  We’re reprising our distance as per last year.

Taking photo with the start banner
  My ex-colleague, flo also joining this year The race director briefing us on the route
Everyone eager to start.
Race director briefing us on the route and how to start from here.

 Perhaps the first 4.9km to WS1 is all about the road, elevation and scorching hot sun.

I slow down since the start because of the steep slope, at one point i can barely run.

From starting point if Lingkubang to WS 1- Kebayau shows 4.9km distance with  360m elevation gain and 60m elevation loss. My calves was on fire running/walking up those tarmac road.

 Almost finished my 1.5litre of water, ate one power gel and refill at this  WS1.

Chart above shows around the first 4 hours shows the maximum temperature of 37degrees. 4 hours from 9am starting time means its about 1pm.

Cut off time to reach WS2 is 4 hours to WS2 Tambautan. I reached there 15minutes before the cut off time. The distance between WS1 to WS2 is about 6.5m with elevation gain of 265m and 515m elevation loss. WS2 also the finishing line for 12k category. The accumulative distance to WS2 is 11.4km. I know am at the borderline of qualifyig to the next station, and i told myself i should speed up.

But weather doesn’t helping and WS2 onwards shows drastic change in weather where it starting to drizzle, and eventually pouring. Temperature drop from 37 degrees to as low as 24degrees, and you are in the jungle which is making it extremely colder.

  Starting point of entering trail route

It was endless up and down the hill, where technical run is essential, and trekking pole is your best friend.  
Selfie in the trail

Crossing some tree felling area

We cross plenty of this hanging bridges

 Clean shoes before entering the second part of the run. You can never see the color pink at the end of the day.

I dont do selfie much, but nobody taking picture of me. So, yeah.

The third best part is river crossing, lotsa people opening up their shoes but i don’t bother at all. You will end up wetting your whole body anyway.

WS2 Tambautan to WS3a Lobong Lobong Junction observe in 360m gain and 170m elevation loss respectively, with total accumulative distance of 20.7km, and a cutoff time of 7hours.

WS2-WS3a is where the heavy rain start, endless of river crossing, water crossing, crossing paddy field, crossing pineapple planting, muddy route, green snake, slide down the slope, fell off the slope, running at the surface runoff, extremely exhausted, hungry, dizzy, and so on. This 11km stretch shows the brutality of nature and how you handle yourself alone, navigating yourself to follow the route marker, definitely not for the fainted heart.

I was also in questioning myself, talking to myself whether is this the right route,and why i only see 50k runner. At halfway of the route, my Fenix2 shows 25km, and am nowhere near to the next checkpoint of Lobong Lobong. I was delusional, i see exhausted face everywhere, nobody is smiling and everyone is in the survival mode. Everyone running and walking in silence. I am as panic as ever, as am i taking the different route? I believe the map shows only at WS3 will divide between categories, and i don’t see any sign of the checkpoint. I begin to even more panic as i reach to 6hours on trail. Last year, 6hours am at the finishing line already.

Passing the small hydro, small river and i saw one table with people. I say to myself this is it. This is WS3a. But no. They said few metres ahead is d checkpoint, but they take note on my race bib no and off i go.

Almost to 27.8km of my GPS shows the WS3a, i panic, and uphill i saw the freaking WS3a, and the road diverge between the 50k and 25k. I can see lotsa people hanging out at the checkpoint. I was, oh no.

One good looking gentleman told me i missed 20minutes from the cutoff time and he cut my time chip. Felt like crying but,am still confused and can’t fathom that only 11km away from the WS2.

So my race ended there. They declare me as DNF, and i sat down with the rest of the people. I was shivering as it was damn cold and my whole body is drenched wet. They finally bring us back to the finishing line.

This is the total elevation and pace observed from my Fenix 2.

And to compare to last year, my pace has improved. 

Oh well, it was indeed brutal where the route test your endurance, courage and mental ability to stand the mother nature at its worse. If it’s not brutal, it is not trail running. If you want easy peasy, go run at treadmill or your local community park.

Update: this is my details, extracted from my Garmin Connect; of my results and progress throughout the race.

Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 3.15.13 PM

Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 3.15.27 PM

Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 3.15.43 PM

Fred not, i will return again next year, stronger than ever.

In the meantime, i am flying back tomorrow and i get upgraded. Business class cabin it is.

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