Friday, 5 April 2013

Roy : The Twilight Ultra Challenge TUC 2013

Last weekend, our athlete Roy and Eugene went to Singapore for the Twilight Ultra Challenge (TUC) to see how far they can cover in the stipulated 16 hours. Armed with hope and determination, powered with tenacity and will power, this is Roy's story.
Twilight Ultra Challenge - Roy Yeow
Twilight Ultra Challenge (TUC) is now into the 3rd edition and the only things that has changed is that it just got better and better. The race format was pretty simple, run till you drop within the 16 hours limit given through a 10KM loop with water stations every 2.5KM (well there are runners that run 5KM and decided to call it a day). As the race starts at 7PM, we will run through the night while the rest of Singapore is either sleeping or partying somewhere till 11AM the next morning. My strategy is basically to stay awake through the night and let the distance build up by itself.

For this race, team 2ndSkin through Project CARES was raising fund for DIGNITY for Children Foundation. Together with Eugene and Ee-Van that is racing in SAC (read his SAC Intro report), we are to put our physical and mental capacities to test while trying to raise RM3000 through People Giving website. And we are proud that we manage to raise 140% of our target,RM4188 at the end of the campaign.

As the race starts during dinner time, we have opt to eat our dinner around 4PM and I took a Hammer Bar before the race to fill my tummy. The race provides Hammer Fizz, while makes my nutrition plan easy and pure Hammer Nutrition products only:
- Hammer Fizz and water as hydration at the u-turn point
- Hammer Perpetuem Solids - 3 solids every hour from 20KM onwards
- Hammer Endurolytes as backup in case there is a need
- Hammer Recoverite after the race

Powered by Hammer Nutrition and equipped with Garmin Fenix watch and Skechers GoBionic shoe, I lined up with the rest of the ultra-runners at East Coast Park (known for its hard surface that hurt your feet) at 7PM. Obviously, with Tey Eng Tiong around and a bunch of regular runners, taking photos are the warm up sessions for this race.
Some Malaysian runners before the race
From KM1 to KM40, I actually did not feel comfortable and decided to go slow and listen to my body. It seems the lack of sleep due to "surround sound system" (see Frank's blog) may have caused this and I do not want to risk it so early in the race, thus the very conservative pace. I joined up with Frank at 37.5KM mark and started run/walk with him until KM50 where we stopped and had our long supper break (biscuit, bread, noodle, coffee.... told you this is a well organized race right?). We completed the first 50KM around 6hrs 45 minutes and took a long break before resuming as we battled the feeling of sleepiness and the urge to nap.
Lucky draw before the race, was discussing race strategy with Yim and Frank as we know we are not lucky to win anything.
This long rest actually helps and Frank and I continued on to 60KM before I decided to move into the next gear alone. With project CARES in mind and having hit 80KM with almost 5 hours to spare, the goal to hit the century mark is real then and knowing there is enough time to make it, the plan is just to enjoy the Sunday crowds that has started to flood the park for their activities - cycling, skating, camping, running, family outings, picnics…... It makes the running less boring and doable, considering we have been running over 10 hours. At this point of time, every single KM marker is celebrated in my mind with a big yahoo!!!
Travelling slowly but surely progressing with every slow steps, I cross the 100KM mark with a timing of 14:51 and decided immediately it is time to rest, even though there is enough time for another 5KM (or if I start
to sprint, maybe another 10KM in :P). The goal has been achieved for the project CARES and nothing matters more than to get a well deserved rest after almost 15 hours of action. Dip my leg into the cold ice water and being served Hammer Recoverite while Frank help to bring me food, and not forgetting haagen-dazs ice creams, yeah!!! I said it many times, this is a very well and friendly race!
Completing 90KM and relieve only 1 more loop to go.
The GoBionic did well to carry me through the race even though my feet started to feel the impact after 70KM. The concrete race course indeed is a killer to many, some runners opt to run on the road adjacent to the route. A few runners ended with slippers as they walk the last few laps to finish off their races. As for me, the race however took a lot out of the shoe sole and it looks like a replacement is required soon for the next race. After 100KM in this race and at least 300KM of training and other races, this shoe has indeed serve me well. It is one shoe that works well if you are a fan of 0mm drop.

In general, Garmin Fenix gave me a reading of about 10.2KM per loop (over distance of 200 meters every lap, which ended with a whooping 2KM extra of run, not including of those detour to toilet, pit stops etc). Unfortunately, as I did not fully charged the watch, it stopped as I was looking at completing my last KM of the 100KM. The watch however is intelligent enough to save the workout (called track in Fenix) before it stops recording. It also has a range of information that is useful if you are a fan of data and information. The temperature as measured by Fenix range from 27 to 32 C throughout the race which is humid and warm while the elevation on the watch prove that East Coast Park is really a flat course with elevation ranging from 1m to 28m above sea level.
Wearing 2ndskin team t-shirt, Garmin Fenix, Skechers GoBionic passing through the checkpoint in the wee hours

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