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Penang Ultra Round Island 84km: Pre Race Thoughts

I will admit that I am not feeling the most confident for this weekend's race. The Penang Ultra Round Island 84km is not an easy race. The terrain is challenging and I must say it is definitely more challenging than Route 68.


It does not help that I had to rest for 5 whole weeks from a twisted ankle and torn ligament from my first hike to Nuang Peak on the 17 July 2015. So let's just put it this way, I am not well trained and under mileage. I am also lacking in stamina. While some have told me to opt for a DNS (Did Not Start), I feel that I should just give it a try since my doctor and physiotherapist have approved me to resume training and even race albeit with a warning that I must listen to my ankle and be prepared to DNF (Did Not Finish).

With the haze, work commitments and a week of working on set with Chef Luke Nguyen, training has been pretty much neglected in terms of mileage. I can only try my best for the race. Unlike Route 68 that I set a targeted time, I will head in to #PenangUltra2015 with the aim of merely completing the distance of 85.5km with the cut off times stipulated of 15 hours. 
Yes, I will be running at night!
Not the clearest image but take note of the exciting elevations in stored for me (graph in the middle) that awaits me as I make my way around Penang island.

My exciting route:
• Start to Check Point 1:Esplanade Padang Kota Lama to Queensbay Mall Roundabout
Distance: 13.5km - A flat 4km tarmac road with 9.5km bicycle lane mixture of tarmac and cement road from Persiaran Karpal Singh all the way till Queensbay.
Cut-Off Time: 23:30pm
• Check Point 1 to CP 2: Queensbay Mall Roundabout to Teluk Kumbar Sin Choon Kopitiam
Distance: 12.3km - Tarmac flat road, the view of Penang Bridge and Penang Second Bridge on your left, passing thru Penang Industrial Zone.
Cut-Off Time: 01:20am
• Check Point 2 to CP 3: Teluk Kumbar Sin Choon Kopitiam to Sekolah Kebangsaan Genting, Sungai Nipah
Distance: 8.6km - 3.4km on flat road before a 2.8km climb of 139m elevation and 2.3km downhill to Balik Pulau. 
Cut-Off Time: 02:30am
• Check Point 3 to CP 4: Sekolah Kebangsaan Genting, Sungai Nipah to Sekolah Kebangsaan Sungai Pinang, Jalan Sungai Rusa
Distance: 14.3km, its a challenging mental flat straight route
Cut-Off Time: 05:10am
• Check Point 4 to CP 5: Sekolah Kebangsaan Sungai Pinang, Jalan Sungai Rusa to Dewan Majlis Bandaraya Pulau Pinang, Telok Bahang
Distance: 5.9km up hill with fresh cold air, 6.0km down hill and flat to reach CP 
Cut-Off Time: 07:00am
• Check Point 5 to CP 6: Dewan Majlis Bandaraya Pulau Pinang, Telok Bahang to Penang Water Sports Centre
Distance: 9.9km
Cut-Off Time: 08:40am
• Check Point 6 to CP 7: Penang Water Sports Centre to Gurney Drive Roundabout
Distance: 7.9km flat road
Cut-Off Time: 10:00am
• Check Point 7 to Esplanade, Padang Kota Lama: Gurney Drive Roundabout to Esplanade, Padang Kota Lama
Distance: 5.7km flat, last lap home
Cut-Off Time: 12:00pm (84km)

And just when I worry about having to remember the cut off times and distances, the race organiser comes out with wrist tags for our timing and also included the cut off times for our respective check points and distances. Brilliant folks!


I admit that I am more than nervous. In fact it is more nervousness than excitement. Thankfully the husbter ensured that I distracted myself well. Got me to look into my preparations beyond just running. Gear check, gear test and of course planning our stay and makanthon!

We will be staying at one of Penang's latest hotel St Giles Wembley. Some of the reasons for settling on St Giles Wembley is also because of its salt water pool (will come in handy for my recovery run - it is deep enough for me to do some deep water running the next day)!
A deluxe king room for us means there is enough space for me to run through my stretches in the room. Of course there is the gym but post race with all possible soreness, I will prefer to just stretch (and maybe groan) in the comforts of the room. Honestly I am eyeing the bed to vegetate more than stretching.
Bathtub is a good idea for my post race Ice Bath! Read more about my love hate relationship
with Ice Baths.
In case you are headed up to Penang, check out the rates which I deem good for city centre convenience:
St Giles Wembley – RM305.28 nett inclusive of breakfast (excludes a RM3nett per room per night local government fee)
Cititel Penang – RM276.34 nett inclusive of breakfast (excludes a RM3nett per room per night local government fee)
Cititel Express, Penang – RM167.48 nett inclusive of breakfast (excludes a RM2nett per room per night local government fee)
And if you have nothing planned for this weekend, head up to Penanglah! 

Hubster's recommendation that I do my gear check yesterday was a brilliant idea. It did well to calm my nerves. Since there was a half way bag drop at 50km, I divided my race gear check into 2 parts. 
First 50km - Compulsory items stipulated by Race Organiser includes hydration vest, emergency blanket, poncho, blinker, headlamp, whistle and basic first aid kit. Since I am technically the Queen of Blister from my KL Maran walk...I carry a can of Opsite Spray and Opsite bandage. A tad more expensive but they came in handy in the last leg of my KL Maran 3 days walk. Salt stick - 15 because I have a habit of bringing extra for other runners who might just need them. Fuel is bak kwa and almonds (not in picture) and Nips. Hammer Gel will be my back up fuel as I am generally not a Gel type of runner because I have not found any that suits my stomach but for now hammer and Endura are the only ones that my tummy seems to be most tolerant. Skins compressions, adidas Supernova Glide Boost, Thorlos socks, Garmin Fenix3, my 'happy' STI race cap and favourite adidas Climachill tee are all in place as well.
Half way gear change: gear change includes Brooks Transcend, Thorlos socks, sleeved adidas Climachill, Naroo facemask and arm cover because I don't want to be 50 shades of grey and sunnies. having experiences races where certain supplies run low when slower runners like me come in, I have taken the liberty to bring my own 3M Kinesiology tape and PERSKINDOL Spray. Wet wipes for a quick clean up before I change to fresh and clean gear. Spare fuel of almonds, bak kwa, Nips and Hammer gel in case I need to refuel. In my medical bag includes the supplements recommended by my Sports Doctor - Neurobin Vitamin B complex, Iron and Vitamin C. A fan that came in handy during my KL Maran and Route 68 to help me cool down along hot sunny stretches. It fits into my hydration vest easily too. I would love to have my furkid Shalom present at my 50km check point but she has to stay home with the rest of them at home. 

And for all the gear check that I thought was complete and looked in order, the hubster says:
• I should wear a reflective vest as the race was largely at night and along a busy road during the day time.
• Power bank in my half way bag in case my mobile phone or Fenix3 needs a quick recharge.
So for now, there is really nothing much I can do when I am 2 sleeps away from the race. I can only hope to stay well, eat well, rest well and just do my very best in the race despite being grossly under trained. Of course I need to have all the fun as well while I flag off at 9pm on Saturday 26 September 2015. Wish me luck please!

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