Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Hill is "Hell" Mis-spelt

The title of this post just about sums up the Newton 25k Challenge. It was all about hills and the hills, yes, they were hellish. Combine it with the heat, then you have one of the toughest events in Malaysia. Frank of Runnerz Circle had already warned us that the usual Bukit Aman - Hartamas loop was just an appetizer compared to the Newton route. Guess I was hoping he was exaggerating a bit. He wasn't!

The run started well enough but within 4k, we hit the first hill. Legs still fresh, the first series of hills were not too bad. And the sun hadn't come up yet.

When the hills were not a problem... yet.

It was after the 12k mark that hell came. By then the sun was out in full force. It wasn't that the hills were particularly steep (ok, some of them were) but they were just long and relentless. I was beginning to think the 140k ride the day before maybe wasn't such a good idea.

Before hell came!

By 18k, I was reduced to walking. Walk up the hills, and try to run down them. At this point I was wishing I had just done the 12k!

With about 3k to go, Emma caught up with me (feels funny saying that since Emma is normally miles ahead, but today she was just having some fun and taking it reeeaaaallly easy) and saw me walking. She kept urging me on, telling me it's all in the head. When she found out it wasn't my injured knee that's making me walk, she said, "C'mon Arif, baby steps." So from there on I mustered up whatever I had left and just followed Emma and Lydia home. Thanks for the encouragement, Emma.

Almost there!

And so I crossed the finish line in 2h47m. One of the toughest races I've ever done. And I was lucky enough to get a medal for my troubles. And a pretty medal it was. Hard-earned too!

Just glad it's all over!

Senn did quite well. She did the 12k and finished in about 1h45m. Not too bad for someone who hasn't been running at all!

I must say Uncle Chan loves to inflict pain on athletes. Who else would organise a run in such hilly terrain? It's kind of reminiscent of his Lake Kenyir triathlon. Anyway, it was quite well organised with some lovely freebies.Traffic management could have been better though and the water stations could have been closer together, especially with the heat. But other than that, everything went well. Once again, another good job from Uncle Chan.

From this run, I can see that I still have a long way to go to hit my target in Ironman Western Australia. Bring it on...

Pictures courtesy of Emma, Tey and Julie.

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