Monday, April 30, 2012

Orang Asli Trail Run 2012 Race Report

The Orang Asli Trail Run 2012 happened last Saturday at the Orang Asli Village along Jalan Bentong Lama. With a sold out 150 spot for the run, the turn up was almost full house. I was fortunate to be involved as a volunteer which allowed me to "test the route" before anyone else. Needless to say, the image of the 28 leeches on my feet stayed fresh in my mind - and i believe, many others that knows about it as well.
Family of 5. Marks on my ankle reminds me of their hospitality
Luckily, it hasn't been raining for the past 3 days and that has very much helped controlled the leeches from coming out to hunt. So, it s a big relief to many that are afraid of the crawlies.
Back to the race report. People started coming into the village as early as 7am and the volunteers were already on their feet manning the parking spot outside. This is crucial as the place could not fit in 150 cars (assuming each drive), let alone more than usual guests to this humble village.
I was supposed to lead the second wave of runners but most of the participant went off with the first group rendering only two batches of wave and Dzul ended up as sweeper. It was not a race, but that did not stop the more hardcore from not going full throttle!
Here are photos from the run cum charity event (Selected).
You know you in trouble when someone remember you for removing them from your facebook
Shine can't resist Pat's cuteness
Running Family
Family and always family. :)
Julie the MC
Mohan the Ever Always There Runner
Dannie and Carrie the always running couple
Tok Batin, the Village Elder and Head
One for the Camera!
Doc Yap. Animal Rescuer.
And the way they went!
The Bootcamp people. I should had pushed them eh?
Adidas Kampung for the win!
Some plants...obviously
Milipede..the giant type
How big? My hand for comparison
Pristine river. Ice Cold On Hot Day
scrambling up a steep slope, for fun
Bamboo Forest
Genting Sempah on a good day
Advance Tan. My super senior in RMC
Performances by the Orang Asli. Have to join in the fun!
Flute with nose? bet you can't do it!
Ice Cold Milo from Nestle.
Many people do not know who Kilian Jornet is. If you want to know more, click here
The run was organised with the sole purpose to interact and to help the Orang Asli in a more sustainable way. So, the collection (every sen of it collected) from the race entry and sales of t-shirts during the event goes to them.
We would like to thank the sponsors (Brooks, Nestle, Germax, Excel Chemical and a good Samaritan that has contributed) and all of you that came that made it happened!
See you all next year, have to find a longer and much larger venue around the village to accommodate more people!
Measurement in the profile below is in Miles and Feet (imperial/statute)
Total Distance : +/- 4miles or 6.4km.
I started my Garmin 910xt late, only after leaving the village! Duh!
Elevation Gain : 255m
Time Taken : 1:50
Previously, i came out of the trail recce with 28 bites. On Saturday, i did not have any - or so i thought until i went to take a shower. There was one lonesome fler right at the place i least expected - right at my crotch. To be exact, at the fold of my left leg and my pubic region. It was that close. Thought i share the photo of my bloodied underwear and the bite mark, but i guess that will be too much info ;-) Sorry Pat and Lynn for i flashed at both of you.

Post Update April 30, 2012 1900hours
A fantastic video done by Dr. Yap EH for the run. Please enjoy the short video!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Bali Marathon Race Report And Then Some - Day 3

Race Day
The previous two posting very much covered the Bali-experience. There are much on the island that can offer other than just staying in Sanur (like we did) or spend the day in the Villa (which we could stay another day). My last trip to Bali was for the Honeymoon with Mrs. Wifey back in April 2006. Do read the entry with caution as back then, photos were bad and my grammar and spelling was worse. Not that it improved much since, but at least photos are nicer now.
Back to the race morning. Lynn woke up at about 2am. Myself and wifey woke up at 2.30am. actually, we felt we did not sleep at all. Not used to sleeping earlier than 12midnight at home, it was rather blurry. I believe it is the same for most of us in the villa.
Rocktape those knees!
And tape those blister-prone parts!
Eating well is not just for health, it is also to fuel your race. Here is 450kcal to sustain the day's race
We stayed about 20km away from Bali Safari and Marine Park. It will take about 30minutes to reach there. Our driver Kum and his dad, Che came sharp at 3.15am. We estimated to reach the starting point by 4am latest. That will provide an hour of buffer before race starts at 5am.
Upon reaching the starting point area, we were glad that we rented the two cars. There wasn’t many parking, and if there were, it will be by the main busy road. Assuming that you take a cab to race start, you will have problem getting one to get back where you came from. Luckily, the race organiser has already arranged for transportation for participants with various pick up point around Bali. Had to give that to them. The transportation was well organised that they even gave out cool band to denote which timing (bus) you will be taking. That band (Velcro with your pick up timing) makes perfect souvenir apart from the medal and finisher T if you complete the 42km run.
Race safe!
Within a minute of reaching, familiar faces started to trickle in. First off was Sophie. I guess us standing near the makeshift toilet helps.
Good Morning!
Then came Noor. offering the Chomps to Sophie. Early morning power snack!
Secret food revealed
And all we wanted to do was...sleep. Look at the half awaken faces!
Blur look trying to look cool
The two (eventual) PB-er..

Can still smile
It wasn't long before more familiar faces pops up. It instantly make you feel as if the race is in Malaysia. There was a huge convoy of Malaysians racing in Bali. Most eager and ready to give their very best in the race.
The speed kings
2XU Model
With Hash buddy Azman
Speed Queens
Superladies. 3 moms and running marathons.
Dannie and Carrie. They often run Marathon together. Finishing together too. Hard to find running couple with same ability!
The organiser certainly played up the atmosphere well. 20minutes before the race start, one would expect corny warm up exercises but they played great music to wake everyone up. The sky was still dark and everyone knows it will be an hour before sunlight breaks. Sharp at 5am, the gun went off and runners could be seen wishing each other good luck. It will be a long day for most average runners.
Gun's Off!
How to switch on the watch ah?
OK! Switched on liao, now can smile!
Zairin. Running at his pace is inspiring.
Like a superstar, she fends off paparazi!
The race organiser added a really nice touch of placing locals in traditional garments for the first 1km holding the torches to light up the road. As you can see, we could not resist to take photos with them.
I was checking my pace for the first 5minutes to make sure i am not running too fast or too slow. It is important  keep pacing yourself and keeping the heart rate low to conserve energy. It was a steady 6:00 pace that we were all doing. Before we know it, the running party became a party of 5 with Zairin leading the pack, myself, Noor, Wifey and Phui Tin in tow.
Still can "Peace" Later at KM30 see how lah!
Yeap, looking worry with the fast pace. 
The first 10km was undulating and we were running on the main road that was closed off by the organiser. The traffic has been redirected to move in a contra-flow manner on the opposite side of the road. Must say that i was rather impressed with this, as i only expect organiser to "cone" up one side of the road for runners.
Soon, we passed the first water station. Water were given out in bottles and small cups. They are not the usual plastic cups that was used, but rather the disposable type.With Bali still using mostly groundwater as the water sources, i believe the organiser do not want to take risk giving the runners water that wasn't bottled. So, bottled water it was for the race!
The capture of the helper that is obese is not intentional. Maybe she can take up running soon.
Marathon Maniacs. It takes a minimum of 3 marathons in 90days to qualify for a Bronze Level. Here a MM was seen walking as early as KM4. He finished in 7 i believe.
KM5 marker with timing chip recorder
Noor (left) is nursing a stress fracture on the right ankle. Inspiring as he never let that stop him from doing his first 42km. I salute you!
I believe these toilet were purposely built for the race. It comes with complete piping and ceramic toilet bowl!
Could not resist. It says Hero Workshop Dynamo ACDC. Sounded like a whole new Rock Band altogether
As early as 5.30am, locals were occupying the streets cheering the runners! 

With Shariff SBR at KM8. Well done sir!
"Magic Knock" - says the signboard. Yeap, it takes a magic and a knock to make some of us travel that far to run and suffer. Things only a triathlete, biker and runner could relate to.
Clap Clap Clap!
We then turn off the main road after KM10 and started running in the local village road. It is time to absorb what the locals can give you. Many races makes you run along concrete jungle that offers nothing but boredom. This run, started to show it's color.
local makeshift market
About KM11, we started to hear a lot of noise. Looking forward, we saw school children in their uniforms out in drove to cheer us on.

You can't resist to hi-5 them.
What's interesting there?
A local weekend market with local produce, that was what it was!
The route started to get more colorful as we goes in deeper into the villages. The locals were very friendly and all of them will cheer you on and make you feel as if you are winning/leading the race. Like how Zairin said "This is how we tour", referring to how running allows him to see the part of the country that many would not bother. This is Bali and we are right in the middle where not many tourists would experience.
Catchy shop signboard asking if "You Want?" Now, want what is the next question.
We took our time to really absorb the local and their way of life.
Vespa lover Zairin with local uncle on a nicely maintained running Vespa.
Local girls with their pet dog
At KM12, we were given electrolytes. again, full bottle. Most of us more seasoned runners know that if we can't finish the drink, always leave it by the road side so that others could also drink it. We try our best not to litter everywhere. After all, we are guest in their country.

Powerade - Gatorade far cousin?
Certain things in life makes you feel that you running is really just a way to de-stress. Imagine having to carry these huge load everyday on the head. Surely makes "headache" an understatement
I wasn't joking that the locals were all out.
Say Cheese!
Everyone stopped to see and cheer!

And i really meant that they CHEERED!
I bet they are wondering where the Bikini babes were...

And this is like the third school we passed by
Looking at the photos, it doesn't give you the real feel to the reception that we received. Here is a video of how it all sounded like. If you are tired from the run, their cheers is like charging you up.
Charged up? Then continue running!
The route bring us past many local temples. The varieties are huge. It makes you wonder where are they in Kuta, Sanur and Ubud. Truly, the real thing is deep where the locals are!
ever smiling volunteers for the Marathon. :)
there were cultural shows lined up at certain villages. Imagine our surprise when we passed this part where they showed us how a "lion dance" in Bali looked like! Have to stop for photo moment lah!
Clearing the last big village, the sun started to appear out of the horizon. That then gave us a whole different light of things. The surrounding area are all paddy fields and local agricultural activities. Again, what the local does makes running feel like childs' play. These people work the field under these hot sun everyday.
With great company and superb scenery, even at KM15, you do not feel tired. At about 6.30am, the sun starts coming out from the horizon. The day has started.
Here, we joked as we run. Surprised it was evenly spaced out and in sync!
The scenery gets better as the sun rises up higher. With clear sky devoid of clouds, i know that the run will be a hot scorching marathon.

leaves sold on the road side. Mainly used as container for offerings
For once, I had a photo while running halfway that is not taken by a dedicated cameraman.
Pretend to struggle...many juice still in the system. No worries. KM15 covered. Many more KM to go. pace well!
While some runners rely on gel type of food, i am the real type of food person. These nuts and raisins powered me through the run - and i had extras to give others too. Nothing beats a good munch.

There were more cultural performances as we run into another village. Very tempted to dance with them!
And more school kids!
And then, i saw a little girl that reminds me of my baby at home. Had to stop and take a photo of her sitting outside a temple, barefooted.
So big her eyes.
Often, we saw many dogs around the villages. They were friendly enough and domesticated enough not to harm anyone.
The route gets a little bit more undulating and we soon had to run up and down small hills. Many at this point started to speed walk.
This is a sharp down down the road. You have to run, no choice.
 Crossed two large river, i remembered.
Locals still using river as source of water for domestic activities, like washing and bathing.
What goes down, WILL go up.
I never get enough of the blue skies with cotton candy clouds. Something we don't get to see often living in the city. The immediate photo below shows the runner running into another village, passing a "gate". The sky was just simply superb.
 And just when you though the kids went back to bed, they started to fill the streets again.
Unbelievable sky and superb water station support! The route loop back to the main road for about 1km before we started running back into the village road. I forgot to change my Panasonic camera battery and i am thankful i carried my iPhone 4 on the run.
The rest of the photos are taken using the iPhone4.
More kids on the streets cheering you on.
And the "peace" sign is universal!
 Further down the road, you get more kids, this time, in full performance regalia. Fantastic!
One even flashed the DIO sign. 
The middle one takes photographing very seriously.
 Further down the road, i realised that Noor, despite his injury has overtaken me when i was caught up in all the photographing. Looking at his face, one would not know if he was injured. Inspirational. Truly living it to the "mind over matter" thingy!
Recover well bro!
The street were literally fill with kids that were as happy as your own kids at home when they see you. Here, i have a girl jumping for joy. Must make mental note to bring sweets to offer them next time.

And then she turned she saw a superstar *wink*
The race organiser really took the trouble to ensure the runners get to see how the local live. Passing by a lot of temples makes you want to stop and go in for a short prayer.
And if the other performers were fully garbed in striking beautiful Balinese dancer uniform, there are more other more laid back performers. The one below uses mainly bamboo as their main instrument and even have Monkey God, Hanuman in the crowd as supporter!

 And of course, what is Bali without the roast pork or Babi Guling. One can only hope that they open a table and offer the runner a bite of the delicacies!
Running into KM25, i lost sight of wifey, Phui Tin and also Zairin. They were keeping very good pace and my stop and go taking photos has gotten me left behind. Knowing that wifey will be in good hands, i decided to take the race at a slower pace. At 25km, i clocked a decent 2:30, which basically will allow me to post a sub-5 if i continue running at the constant pace.
But there is just too much to see and experience - this is not a race to go fast, for me at least.
Caption says Keluarga Berencana. It is a move by the government to promote contraception to control the ever growing population in Indonesia. They encourage a family of 4 - parents and 2 kids.
The above photo mention the real concern of Indonesia ever growing population. I actually stopped and asked the local what it really meant. It turns out, it is a government initiate for "perancangan keluarga" or family planning; which explained the 2 kids and the parents as a "family". 
Further down the road, as i was running past a paddy field, a signboard for Es Kelapa Muda flashes. I had some rupiah with me, the weather was hot, I am not going to win the race (as by 2:30, i am sure the winner already finished the race) and so, i decided to stop for a drink. I looked back before crossing the street and saw Noor. Hey, why not get him to join me?
notice the rocktape on the inner right ankle - yeap, stress fracture and he is attempting his first marathon!
The stall owner were delighted and with his wife, opened two coconut and prepared the drink for us.

 While waiting, i looked around the stall and saw Coffee Soda from F&N. Wow!
And before my mind tell me to try it, the coconut milk/drink were sent to us. If you have been following my blog, you will know by now that coconut is the best isotonic the body can get. Read about it here. Now put in some ice and a lime, this drink was heaven-sent. Plus the company to enjoy can only get better.
See the face of happiness

Offered a few runners passing by, none took up my offer. They must be trying to do their PB.
Just like the Keluarga Berencana, the stall owner engaged us in a conversation about...Chicken. We found out that cock fighting is not illegal in Bali. He also told us that Cock from Malaysia and Brunei command good price. It can cost up to IDR5,000,000 or almost RM2,000 (USD800) for a fighting cock if imported from Malaysia. We also found out that the eventual winner ran past this portion while the sky was still dark.
thanks for the company!
I finished the whole serving, leaving only the cut lime. Ice wasn't spared as it ended up inside my bottle. One thing i found severely missing was sponging station or ice station in this Marathon. I believe the organiser do not want to take risk with contaminated ice or sponging water. Got pros and cons i believe.
Say Ahhhhhhhh!
We continued after the drink with me reminding Noor to take it easy if too much pain. I started playing catch up with a group of Japanese runners. Caught up with them within the next 2km and saw Vivienne in sight. She was having some cramps but i am sure nothing can stop this many times finisher of marathoner.
Even puppies come out to provide support!
Nearer to Gianyar, where the majority of the villagers make furniture out of bamboo, i chance upon a family that uses glutinous rice to be made into food to be sold. It was known as (i think) Benteng.
Was offered some but i politely declined.
The run brought me from villages that rely heavily on agriculture to villages that strive on using their artisan skills to make furniture out of iron wrought and bamboos. Then a village that does carvings on wood, also village that does carving into marble stones or volcanic stones. Bali is filled with talented people.
Bamboo pile
And again, i ran past another roast pork outlet, and I was offered here, but i declined. duh!
Roast Pork!
As i continued my run, i passed two villages that has peculiar looking, almost scary statues such as these below. I wonder what they were for.

Water stations, as reported was sufficient. The race organisers even went around the whole 42km passing bottles of water to the runners. I met up with Barbara at about KM32, one of the officers in charge of the race whom i communicate with for the back up transport. She offered runners Pocari Sweat, which wasn't in the list of sponsors! I believe these are bought using other funding!
Thank you Barbara and team!
Reminds me of Kak June and Kash which offered us Coke at KM32.
As i continue the run, i met with more scenic scenery - really beautiful. Here is a few farmers preparing the field to plant corns. It is a Sunday and it is close to afternoon. People earning an honest living always touches my heart, If they were selling corns ready to be eaten, i would had bought some!
 And cultural shows never end despite the heat. This one is nearer to KM35.

Err..Thumbelina coming out from Lotus flower?
Tongue out as i ran out of pose
At about KM35, i was overtaken by Danny and Carrie. They both sure run everywhere together! Fantastic!
About 10pm, sun almost at the top of head.
Vivienne then ran with Danny and Carrie, which has driven her to do it again within 6-hours. Well done!
Pics from Danny's Camera. Vivienne trailing behind before she disappeared with the couple.
Along the run, i saw many shops using the word PRADA. Makes me think if Prada was actually created in Bali. Is it some local slang for something? like Brada? ;-)
Branded pot?
Continuing on, the day got hotter and drier. With my short hair, i can feel the sun burning down. I constantly poured water on my head, taking a shower. You have to learn to cool down yourself or risk ending up under the hospital drip due to dehydration.
or you can carry something over your head to clock off the sun.
You know it's hot when most people started to stay indoor and the streets get quieter without anymore much cheering from the locals.

 Then, you were surprised as they rush out from the shade and greeted you in a very honest "Good Morning!". It was a GOOD morning indeed! :D
 As we approach the last portion of the run, with tired body and tired mind, some running their first marathon, others maybe their n-th, you can always look around you for inspiration. You will then realise that you have the blue sky looking after you. Fantastic view!
A temple in the other side

I swear i purposely walked-ran-take photos from KM30 onwards so i can look and see what the place can offer. Hope you are not bored looking. Because if you are, you are missing out a lot!

Soaking it all up!
These statues are like mocking you big time. :D Maybe a reminder that if you have a man-boobs, you will end up looking like this when running topless
And when you are bored of the sky, there are temples everywhere! I wanted to go into this one, but decided not to as i was sweaty, smelly and not properly attired.

I touched KM40 in about 5:30. Looked like i can sub-6. Not my best timing, but with scenery like in this race, I would trade it for photo taking opportunities. Which i did. I sat down with two local couples that manned a store that asked me if i am "jerih", which i do not know what it meant. They then surprised me speaking in English - "are you tired?"
The last few km took me a slow 30mins, mostly due to cheering other runners on and talking to them, offering some gels (which i took at KM35), my electrolyte drink and some humor. I ran with a local boy that refused to wet his hair, but he was like struggling from KM32. (that was how slow i went, i think i went up and down the road!), a local Bali guy that grew up overseas, worked in Singapore, now back in Indonesia and i mistaken for a Malaysian for his good English. I also help a guy in a tri-top to take photos of about 3 or 4 mileage markers. Shared the nuts i have with a few others, they were impressed kept that many things in my pouch. I am inspired by their tenacity.
The journey is coming to an end, soon.
With 1km to go, i bumped into wifey. She finished her race and she came back for me. We ran hand in hand to the finish. I found out that the girls has been waiting for me to finish. My bad for keeping them waiting. I am sure after they see this posting and the photos above, they will understand what took me that long.

Thank you Nira Cantik. Photo from her FB. Thanks Ben Swee for tagging, else won't find it. Thank you (from left) - Lynn, Chit, Wifey, Phui Tin and Pat (she was running behind to take photos of our behind)) for being so supportive and waited that long for me.
For my 11th Full Marathon, i crossed the line in 6:06:19. Feeling really really good as it was a leisure run for me and i reckon i should be able to recover within a day or two (in fact, i did as i am writing this)

I found out that wifey did her Personal Best (PB) of 5:25 which i am extremely proud off. If her pace wasn't interuppted by me asking her to pose for photos, i am sure she can easily push for a sub 5 finish. She is that determined to do so. I believe one day, she will. With one 42km down, we have two more 42km to run within the next 50 days. I say bring it on!

Some Stats
The race organiser announced that the race day temperature was soaring at 37 degrees C, which usually translate to about 40 degrees C on the road. Hot race. A few of us has sunburned with very noticeable mark. I say that is cool. At least you can tell people you did went to The Island Of God - Bali!
The race has 3-distinctive loop. Each unique in their own way. But the best would be the elevation where it reminds me of the Sperm Loop i do for training.
My racing stats on my Polar RS300X per photos below
Total Time
Time taken was 6:06:17. I am actually happy with this as i had almost zero fatigue. More tired from lack of sleep than from the run.
First 10km
 1:06 - Wifey posted her best 10km timing? Her best so far for 10km is 1:15.
KM20 split. Slowed down already...but still good pace.
 1:22 for next 10km (KM20 at 2:28) - another PB for wifey?
KM30 split. Already running without wifey.
 1:37 for next 12km (KM32 at 4:05). Can't resist that ice cold coconut drink..hahaha!
final 10km at 2:01???hahahah!
 2:01 for final 10km (KM42 at 6:06). :) Finish strong!
Average 76% or 140bpm. Certainly at endurance run pacing.
 The HR tells a lot about how stressed my heart was keeping up. At an average of 76% HRmax, i was running at a very comfortable pace.
Average speed of 8:44.
 See now why i need that Garmin 910xt? LOL. *excuse*
How many Big Macs? 7.6 to be exact.
Race pros
1. Superb location and route. Race organiser took a lot of trouble to plan for this route.
2. Superb local support. Who would wake up at 5am to clap hand for you? The Bali people did!
3. 34,000 bottles of water and electrolytes (total) were distributed. That is a ratio of 2 liter for every runner ranging from fun run to full marathon!
4. Race organising team went around counterclockwise and provided water to passing runners
5. Superb local support. Wait, did i said that already? Yeap, again, love the school kids clapping and cheering! love the cultural performances. If anyone did not get PB, it is because of this!
6. Good traffic control
7. re-usable timing chip - a fresh change from disposable plastic. Green for Environment!
8. Name on Bib - nice touch for all runners. Usually only for "early birds".
9. Fantastic race pick up and drop off. Well appreciated!

Race cons
1. No sponging station. Would be great if there are!
2. No iced drink - but perhaps for health/safety reasons.
3. Having to walk to collect medals - but hey, what is another 200m if you ran 42km? ;-)

Suggestion for Improvement
Some good stuff from Karen. :) I agree with some as i listed it above already

Will I Return
Yes. Yes. Yes. And Yes.

Hope you are all fully recovered by now! If you are running the Orang Asli Trail run tomorrow, see you there. If you are doing Borneo Marathon, see you there. Train well, Eat better and keep moving forward everyone! Thanks for reading!

If you missed the series, click here for Part 1 and here for Part 2.