Pink 50 Ultramarathon

A friend once said “Never trust a runner. If he/she said that we won’t do it again or won’t be running just as fast, you know they are lying”.


I wasn’t lying when I said I was done with loops when I ran my first [incomplete] full marathon. But a few days later I when heard that there will be a female-only ultramarathon, I knew that I just had to sign up for it. Plus, a part of me wanted redemption for not being able to complete a looped full marathon. Initially, I signed up for the 50km solo category, which required me to run 17 loops of 3km (17 X 3KM = 51KM), but as the event date approaches a male friend of mine decided to run with me, so we upgraded to the 100km duo category (each participant will run 50km) because that’s the only category that allows male participants.


My ultramarathon objective is simple: Just finish the race within the cut off time of 9 hours. To be able to do that, I must prepare myself physically and mentally. For first timers like me, it is advisable to clock in at least 200km in one month before the race, and run at least 30-40km one week before race day so your feet is used to moving slowly but consistently over long distances. All of that training will wear you out, you will feel exhausted even before race day! So spend at least 1 week before the race tapering and resting. Most importantly, you have to come to the race mentally prepared. It is going to be hot, at 42°C there is nothing else that keeps you going except your inner motivation. It is going to hurt, but keep telling your mind to fight through the pain. Like 2 straight lines moving together, both mental and physical preparation must be parallel to able to finish an ultramarathon.


My ultramarathon strategy is equally simple too: Run 30KM continuously at a very comfortable pace (8:00 – 8:30 min/km), then power walk (10:30 – 11:30 min/km) for the rest of the way. I was glad that the training paid off. When boredom or negative thoughts started to kick in, I turned up my music or randomly chatted to other participants. There is an encouraging vibe to a women-friendly event, I even made new friends along the way! To avoid wasting precious time, I had to refrain myself from stopping too long at the checkpoint. All I did was quickly drank some water or Coke, refill my bottle, or mix my hydration tab or Gatorade powder, and grab a quick snack, all in less than 3 minutes.



I think my partner’s shirt almost matches my top. True to it’s Ultra name, this top is highly recommended for long distance running. It is bright to minimize heat absorption, evaporates sweat quickly, and very light.


IMG_2870The familiar faces that greeted me at the finishing line.


IMG_2863Congratulations for finishing 3rd! You go, girl! Oh and the 2 faces behind me and on my right requires no introduction, right? 🙂


IMG_2852This medal is for my family who have never doubted my capabilities, my official and unofficial pacers during the event, Nashata for always keeping me covered, late night training sessions, pre-dawn LSDs,  support crew for coming to cheer, messages of encouragement, well wishers, and advisors. Thank you for being a part of my ultramarathon journey.


In the end, I completed all 17 loops in under 9 hours, thankfully without any major injuries or cramps. There was the usual muscle fatigue and soreness the next day, but that is normal. I expect to start running again in less than one week, and hopefully I am at least 80% recovered by then. So, what’s next for me? Would I do it all over again if I had to?

Until next week,

The Weekend Runner.

Park Marathon 2015

This is it. The only thing that stands between me and the recognition of being called a ‘marathoner’ is 2.7km, to be repeated for 16 loops around Bukit Jalil Park. So that will be 2.7km x 16 = 43.2km. In order for me to survive those 16 loops, it was important to have: an experienced friend who acted as a pacer, and an updated playlist on my phone. Ears plugged, we did not make a single sound, except the constant rhythm of our shoes hitting the pavement, with some inhaling and exhaling. I did not mind the silence, it helped me keep my focus. The only time we talked was when “I think we are going too fast/ too slow”, or “Hey, I need to go for a toilet break”, or some words of encouragement. It was too early in the morning for conversations anyways.

IMG_2261One foot in front of the next with the pacer (photo credits to Distance Force)

Suddenly, at close to KM21, there was an outburst of laughter. Has my pacer gone mad for running in loops? “Sorry, I just remembered something funny that my cousin did yesterday”. And then I realised what he was doing. He’s taking his mind off the pain which was slowly setting in, and the thought of repeating 400 meters of gain in elevation for 16 times was slowly eating away my positive motivation.


IMG_2272“One 400 meter of hill is ok. I can do this” was slowly turning into “I have to do this again? And again? And again??!!” (photo credits to Seven Chiam)


Close to KM30 I was dizzy. I thought that I no longer needed a pacer since I was more than halfway in the race anyways, so I allowed my friend to speed ahead. I tried not to think about it, but my head was spinning and I was starting to lose my balance, so I leaned in the shade of a tree for a few minutes. Thankfully, when I completed that loop there was ice cream waiting at the aid station. I even splashed a few cups of cold water onto my head to cool myself down. The quick-dry Iman hijab I was wearing helped evaporate the water quickly, so my head felt instantly refreshed. I will finish this race!


IMG_2269Can you tell how much we love the Iman hijab? High five, ladies! (Photo credits to Intan Suraya)

IMG_2252Is this a run or a feast? Kudos to the organizer for the sweet and salty spread to keep us fueled. Coca-cola, mineral water, and isotonic drinks were aplenty.

Halfway at the 15th loop I realised it was already 10 minutes until the cut off time. Upon reaching the aid station, the organizers handed me my finisher tee and medal, saying that I should stop since I have exceeded 7 hours. I was frustrated since I had just one more loop to complete the race, but at 1pm the park was deserted and it was too hot to continue running without supervision. As much as I wanted to complete the course, I decided it was best to listen and stop. I left the race feeling disappointed and I don’t think I will ever do another race in loops, but I’ll do 42km or more all over again at a different event.

IMG_2268It was so hot, I think I finished at least half bottle of that isotonic drink. (Photo credits to Distance Force)

IMG_2263I am so over. with. running. in. loops…. (Photo credits to Distance Force)

IMG_2257But I’ll gladly do 42km all over again in a normal course.

Until next week,

The Weekend Runner.