Last year, this was my first pirated race. It was a very fun experience and as I crossed the finishing line last year (well, actually I didn’t really cross the finish line because I was a pirate – takut kena tangkap daa), I made a vow to make sure I register for the same event this year. And I gladly did.
I was doubly glad that my partner in crime this time was no other than the very-the-kelakar-but-strong-runner, Shakhir a.k.a Diket Menchanak. Even though I initially thought I made the wrong choice for a partner because his pace average is 10% more than mine (or maybe much more) that I had terrible time catching up with him, I finally had to agree that I think I made the right choice. Or maybe the best choice. Because he pulled me through this challenging race to finish within the first 10% in our race category – men’s open.
We were surprised to cross the finishing line as the 19th team out of 200+ (maybe, I’m not sure exactly), and my stopwatch showed a time of 1hr48min as we ran under the finishing chute to end our fantastic race. So, here was how the day went.
My day started early with a 45mins drive to McD Taman Melati where we all agreed to meet up for the convoy up to Genting. It was great to meet them all once again, and sure enough this was the largest outing among running bloggers so far. So, with so many victims around, I began my part time job as a hunter…
The journey up to Genting was smooth sailing. It was still calm and pretty quiet when we parked our cars. After settling with our morning businesses and gearing up with trail shoes and hydration belts/backpacks, we walked together towards the football field to collect our race kit. We had about one hour to mingle around before the race started.
While waiting for the race to start at 8:30am, we headed to a secluded area for a little bit of warming up and stretching session. As usual, Ian the Corporate Athlete’s trainer led the stretching session. The warm up session was really beneficial because for this kind of race you might want to try to be ahead of the crowd as soon as the race started, which means switching on the turbo engine much earlier. The terrain consisted of lots of climbing and with crowded running space, you might get a bit frustrated when it gets almost impossible to overtake other runners as you move along.
We were released to start the race a couple of minutes before 8.30am. Most of us were in shock as we didn’t hear any countdown or whatsoever, except for the sudden whistle blow. Diket Menchanak and I positioned ourselves on the outside right area of the crowd, so that we can zoomed our way forward with ease. Team MacamBagus immediately switched their turbo switches and we tried not to leave their smoke trail far. We started the run with the overdrive button in ON position too and although I’m not a fully experienced runner, I could sense we were doing a sub 6 min/km pace while running alongside the whole golf course.
Since this is a trail run event, getting into the trail was what I was looking forward to. Genting’s trail offers something we rarely can get from the other trails in Klang Valley. The ups and downs, the super long and steep climbs which also means the similar profile when going downhill were just awesome. The first portion of the trail was pretty flat and slightly declining so we still run with overdrive mode. But overtaking other runners has becoming a difficult maneuver to execute.
Having done this race last year, I forgot how relatively easy the first portion of the trail was as compared to the killer climbs on the latter stage. It felt much longer this time before we get into the first landmark where the wall we had to climb down was about 70 degrees. This kind of terrain requires a lot of bravery and confidence, and quick thinking on how you decide you want to move forward.
The trail gets denser as we went deeper, and the gradients get crazier and tougher. I was still ok with the climbing up, but going down some of the slippery and narrow steep trails challenged my confidence level at certain times. There were few times I felt a little bit shaky and had to slow down. I didn’t want to burden my knees too much with the impacts, nor did I want to tumble down and injure myself. So I took it easy, at my own steady pace. Few times my partner had to stop and wait for me to arrive.
As far as I can remember, the real climbing challenge came right after crossing this first stream. This is when you started to use all four limbs to help you move upwards, by holding the ropes and pulling yourself up the very steep, long and slippery inclines. This is also where you may start to bonk or fatigue, if you are not careful with pacing your energy at the earlier stage. Just like what I experienced this time.
I could sense my energy level was depleting fast while climbing up. Heart rate went up to the max and inhaling for oxygen was a struggle. I stopped few times for a short breather here and there, while keeping Diket in sight for as much as I could muster. At one point, I had to take my PowerBar gel. Luckily I carried one, or else I think I will just bonk after another long climb.
I was surprised at how strong my partner was. He kept it at a very steady state that it looked to me as if he was just running up on a 10% slope, no kidding. He could still manage to converse with me, while I was already begging for life and started to give hand signs to indicate how bad my situation was. He owned my respect that day, however he refused to share with me his secret training regime.
After about five minutes taking in the gel, I slowly felt the much needed energy level was going up again. Good sign, I thought. I then slowly pushed myself bit by bit to stay closer to Diket Menchanak’s foot trail who was enthusiastically following Dino and Steph’s pace when they overtook us.
The endless steep climb session finally ended to my relief. My legs felt tired and weak from the overdrive work they had to do to get through the climbing stage. My partner kept on encouraging me to keep moving with small steps, rather than just walking. I tried to obey his command and slowly I managed to recover my strength. I told my self that even though the terrain is much harder and tougher than what I faced during TNF100 race, the shorter distance race this time should be taken into full advantage and I should try to push my self harder.
I started to feel some little cramp attack on my calves while going up the staircases. Nothing serious yet, but a deep heat rub would be helpful. When we met Syah who was waiting for his buddy, he offered me a deep heat rub. But, when Diket tried to search for it inside Syah’s hydration bag, he could only find syampoo and shower gel. I didn’t bother waiting and quickly told my partner that I’m good to go even without the deep heat rub. So, we treaded along.
Just as we thought the staircases were the end of the climb-fest, we had to face another few inclinations just before we get back to the finishing area where the obstacle course awaits. Since my energy level was back up, we continued running up these final inclines. We could already hear the voice of the emcee announcing the runners who were coming in. I told Shakhir that we might be within the first 50 teams to arrive at the finish line. That thought alone made me feel excited and I kept on running faster and faster.
The obstacle course was the most fun of all. But, it also required some fast thinking and decision making on whether to leap over the muddy pools, or to tackle them on the outsides, middle, or to jump inside and swim in the mud pool etcetera. I had fun this year, as much as I did last year. But it was more fun this time around because I was able to carry my camera in and out of the muddy water without much concern whether it will survive or not.
You can save at least 10 to 15 seconds each time if you leap over the small mud pit like this, instead of going into it and had difficulties coming out of it, as brilliantly shown here by Diket Menchanak.
I did not want to get inside this small tunnel together with him. If one of us (most likely him lah) happened to break wind inside this tunnel, confirm dua-dua orang pengsan serta merta di tempat kejadian.
Anyway, one panicky situation happened when I lost my camera inside one of the big mud pool. As I slide down the wooden ramp, I forgot to hold my camera and just let it hang from my wrist. When I splashed myself into the mud pool I noticed the camera was not in my hand anymore. I was so panicked and immediately I started to search for it. I kept on grabbing the mud underneath with a big hope that I’ll find my camera. I also told my partner to help search for my camera even though at first he though I was just kidding when I told him I lost my camera. He helped me to search but he grabbed my shoes and tried to lift my leg up. I thought he was joking and pulling my leg, but he really thought he had grabbed my camera. It was so funny, but I was still in panic mode since I haven’t secured my camera yet.
More and more people were coming down that wooden ramp and into the mud. Some of them stepped inside exactly at the location where I lost my camera from my wrist. I was so afraid they are going to further burry my camera inside the mud. The spectators besides the mud pool were busy taking photos of my panic face. Thank goodness, I finally managed to get hold of my camera deep inside the mud after spending about 30 seconds searching.
Going in and out of the mud pit also put some extra force on my calves that at one point my left calf cramped up, followed by my right calf. I had to be careful not to exert sudden movements of the legs, but at some of the obstacles it was just impossible not to do so. I had to live with whatever cramps that came through. As always, pain is part of the game. The fun we had has to be continued.
Although the fun of the trail run had to stop as we crossed the finish line, but the day continued with more fun and laughter, this time at a slightly different location – the shower room. The cold water they prepared for us to clean up our muddy self was one of the many bonuses we get on that day. The situation in the shower room was hilarious. The water was chilly and refreshing but I had to control myself from snapping away because some pictures may not be suitable for display on this non-18SX rated blog.
“Kalau nak tau, inilah sebahagian daripada intensif training saya di rumah. Selain daripada Iron-baju-man, saya juga mahir dalam acara washing-baju-man, lipat-baju-man dan juga sidai-baju-man. Setakat basuh kasut dan stokin ni, celah kuku je bai.”
Done with cleaning ourselves up, we went back to the field to had some food and wait for the others to arrive. Each and every team came back with smiley faces all over their faces. It showed how much they’ve enjoyed the race and I’m pretty sure each and everyone of them would want to come and do this race again next year.
Dett: “Tadi masa panjat bukit tu aku merangkak macam ni la. Siap terkentut tiga das tembakan secara tak sengaja. Kesian mamat kat belakang aku tadi.”
Ziff: “Tiga das je? Aku tadi belasah kentut bertubi-tubi macam machine gun kat depan kau, kau takde rasa macam kena migraine ke? Ahahahahaaa….”
Finally, kak tipah emerged with her classic move of tarian puak Iban cawangan Ampang.
We kept on shouting and cheering for her as she continues her muddy dance.
Memang sesuai dianugerahkan darjat tertinggi athlete wanita terlampau untuk musim ketiga berturut-turut.
Before leaving back home, we headed to the resort where Ian, Daud and Yim stayed the night before. Little did I know that some of them has arranged for a little surprise belated birthday pool party for Diket Menchanak and myself. There were lots of delicious food such as nasi lemak special Zack n wife, Shaqi’s yummy cheese cake, kari ikan mamak style from kak June with roti canai brought all the way from Port Klang, and some other good food that I should refrain from mentioning as I haven’t had my lunch yet as I wrote this paragraph.
Just like other big celebrations, the ceremony won’t start until we had to listen to the speech from the self-appointed speaker. Ahahahaa.
Sorry Ziff, we know you have the talent to become a public speaker. But between you and the food, we’ll always vote the food against you lah.
Thanks so much to those who worked behind the scene to make this little birthday party, from the arrangements, to the food preparation and other things related to it. It was a very happy moment to me, and I believe my partner Diket Menchanak was happy mencanak-canak too.
It was indeed one fine and fun day to remember, especially when we get to gather around almost everyone. The race was super fun too. I’ll always take this race as a fun race, if I happen to come to Genting again next year.