- Twilight Ultra Challenge (TUC) - Probably the craziest thing I have ever done so far.
- I mean, who decides to join a race, on a Saturday afternoon, after driving home from JB in the morning and just reorganized and refolded the entire wardrobe and changed the sheets, and oh, folded the the couch-full of laundry?
- Me, apparently.
- And all this happened while Sam was mid-air. Making his way home from Brisbane.
- And I have zero training - ha! The furthest I've walked before Saturday was 12.31km. You read right. I walked. I'm so not a runner!
- And on Saturday, I decided to grab the extra bib that was available from one of the Freedom Freaks brothers. This was at 4.30pm. Asree was so kind to help me liase with them. He did everything, I only had to pack my 'not-so-special-needs' bag and get myself to the starting point. He even offered me some energy gels which I declined because I never in my life, have taken them before and I didn't want to start on race day. :D
- Left the house at 5.30pm, and texted Sam in the cab. I remember thinking to myself- he will get the shock of his life when he lands in Singapore and gets this text. *I was right, btw. He was shocked beyond words! Ha!* Texted Asree as well to tell him I'm on my way. His reply was 'This is crazy, you know!' :D
- I reached the main event site and went to look for Ben Swee to let him know that I will be walking his event using somebody else's bib. He was fine with it and reminded me to listen to my body. Yes sir! :) Mohan and Asree helped me 'change' the name on the bib using some masking tape and markers - so now I'm Sasha instead of Moktar. Perfect. LOL.
- Waited for the rest of the Freaks, and what else? :) Time for some photos before the flag off.
- Spot my mistake number one. Okay, that is wrong. Even thinking of joining TUC at the last last last minute was my mistake number one - then comes texting Asree to enquire about the bib - then confirming and packing for the run etc etc etc - so, spot my mistake number *I-really-can't-count-anymore*. Got it?
- Yes - black top. While I don't think any other color would make a difference because the heat was almost unbearable for me. Despite running by the beach, there was no sweet, calming sea-breeze. You get bbq and cigarette smoke blown in your face instead. I don't think any other color will make noticeable difference anyway - except if I have a blue/white/red/yellow top with a built-in cool mist sprayer that sprays you maybe every 5 minutes. And oh, ice cubes in my sports bra. LOL.
- We were flagged off at 7.00pm. Merely 2.5hours after I decided I was gonna run this race. I surprised myself when I jogged *super slowly* for the first 15k or so. While I can't say the same for the public who walked 3/4 abreast and blocked the pathway or those who let their 3/4yr olds go zig and zag on bikes with training wheels/skateboards without supervision - I must admit the runners were AWESOME. Everyone was so encouraging and kind.
- The best thing about being painfully slow at the back of the pack is that almost everyone is rooting for you. The faster runners u-turned and then they see me struggling and without fail, I will hear some 'feel good' words. That helps A LOT! Trust me, when you hear your friends shout "Go Sasha! Good pace, good pace, keep it up. Come on Sasha you can do this!" or as Mohan would say "Pinky shoes are cominnnnnggg!!" - you actually believe that you will not die on the pavement. LOL. Runners - sincerely, thank you for the high-fives and shouts and some of that 'never say die' spirit.
- Photo above was taken during my break after 20k. If I look a little pale - that must be because I had to stop and pee at 18k. Peeing was okay - the public toilet was not. The smell hit me like a punch to the face, 30m before I reached the main door to the ladies. *shivers* I must admit, I gagged and peed at the same time because I have no other choice (didn't know that the organizers had porta potties available for runners - didn't look hard enough I guess). I got goosebumps even, because I really can't stand the awful smell.
- But look at those guys I call brothers. They were at their 25k break and still looking mighty fresh! I'm envious! :) Ashley gave me some chia-seed drink - you're too kind Ashley, thank you! This was where I had one banana, one slice of watermelon and half a piece of a granola bar. Was that enough? I have no idea. I was hungry but I can't bring myself to eat anything else.
- Hunger and heat aside - blisters on the edges of my sports bra, waist band and anti-slip hems on the pants were really painful. Another mistake - maybe if I'd have taken the time to get the vaseline from my 'not-so-special-needs' bag and apply some on them I could have prevented them from getting worse.
- Then I walked another painful 5k and met up with the guys again at the rest area. By then, my back felt like I was about to give birth and my right knee felt like it was about to fall off. Ha! I'm pretty sure I'm exaggerating but hey, my body is not used to this kind of torture! :D
- Sam + my girls came while I was resting at 25k. He asked if I was okay, I told him let me try walk for another 5k and I will let him know. So I went on what felt like the longest 5k in my life. I passed by friends who said "Come on Sasha, Sam and your girls are waiting for you!" but I just can't go any faster. If I thought rolling on the pavement was possible and will lessen the pain, I would have rolled my way to the pit stop.
- After what seemed like forever, I'm back at the tent again. Checked in with the volunteers for the last time and did the 'throat slashing' sign to Yee Hua to let her know I'm done. Done done done.
10k - 1hr 31mins
20k - 3hr 15mins
30k - 5hr 30mins
- Could have better timing if my big butt didn't want to sit at every rest area. LOL. In my heart of hearts, I believe this was meant to be. You see, in my family, we consider 23 to be 'our number' for so many reasons (a whole new blog post that I won't bore you with). I said yes to the bib, without knowing that I will have 'our number' with me all through the race. When I collected the bib and saw 23 - that was when my heart said "Let's do this!"
- My heartfelt thanks to my Freedom Freaks family, every single one of the runners at TUC, Ben Swee, Yee Hua and every single one of the volunteers. You guys rock my world. I love you :)
- Thank you to my darling Sam who practically had to carry me home at 1.10am, even when he had to wake up at 4am for his 2XU 21k this morning, and of course my sweet girls who came to the beach with daddy in the middle of the night to support the insane mommy.
- I went with zero training, zero mileage. It was stupid. It was crazy. It was definitely awesome. Will I do this again? Perhaps. I've learnt to never say never.