Thursday, April 25, 2013

UTMF Trip 2013 Day 3

0700Hr. Rise and shine. Time for our morning short run.

The surface of the lake was covered with fog. (The original scene was actually very beautiful!) The sun was rising in the background on the left. The fog magnified the sun rays and caused the photo to overexposed. Like an explosion. Hahaha .. :)

We turned left and ran along the road by the side of the lake.

Beautiful view of the lake in the morning.

We went up this same staircase last year. :)

Met Louis as we went up. He had came out for a run earlier than us.

It was just a very low hill filled with pine trees and soft ground. Very excellent for running.

Mt Fuji was in the background.

Very beautiful view of the lake from this small platform.

It was not really a hard run up here. The run was more like running for the fun of it. To remind our legs of the tremendous effort it was going to put in the next day.

We stayed for a short while before running back to the ryokan. Breakfast was already waiting. Today we would go for the race briefing by Avid Adventure, followed by a route recce, racer check-in and some shopping at the race expo. Hehe .. ;p

On the bus to Togawasou hotel for the race briefing. This was what the elites do when they were not running .. :p

We could see the mountain right outside Togawasou.

We were back at the mountain!

Nora and Brian.

Hotel entrance. A trail runner's dream came true!

Could anyone name all of them?

I met Pauline again at Togawasou. She said I had slimmed down a lot and looked totally different from last year. She said I must had trained hard for this race. Last night, when Harry dropped by at Nagahama, he also said I had slimmed down and looked different from last year too.

(I guessed I must have looked like shit when I came the year before. Hahaha .. )

(L - R): Harry, Pauline, Hitomi
The race briefing was only for runners who signed up with Avid's support packages. As Pauline was the international coordinator of the UTMF organising committee, that was why Avid would have access to information regarding the race. Harry spoke on several points which we need to take note of during the race, like the sections which we were not allowed to use trekking poles, which section we were not allowed to run but only walk. Yes, you did not read wrongly. Only walk and not run. :p

We boarded the bus and it took us to the start of a trail. Everybody walked up the trail and was looking around, trying to imagine ourselves running through the next day when we were told we were at the wrong trail. Hahaha .. which made us released we actually had not seen any course markers. Hahaha .. :)

(L - R): Edzra, Nora, Reuben, me, Brian

The bus took us to another location, with another trail entrance. This time we were sure we were correct. :)

The directional signs used for the race.

At the back of Louis's shirt, which was very true. :)

Next, we went to collect our BIB at the start point, Yagisaki Kouen.

From Louis Kwan

Followed by the gear check. We were supposed to be given a red flashing light when we were done. It was also a mandatory item. However we were told it would only be given to us at A2 during the race as the stock had not arrived.

Now comes the fun part .. race expo shopping .. hahaha .. :)

Met Trish at the race expo.

Lunch was with the guys at a restaurant selling chinese food .. half an hour walk away. :p

After lunch, we walked back to the race expo again. And guess who did I bump into?!!

Sebastien Chaigneau!!!

We went back to the ryokan at around 1700Hr. Its time to do the final preparation.

Our BIBs and the IC chips to be tied to our shoes. Unlike last year where we were required to wear both BIBs (front and back), this year we only needed to wear one.

Racing gear.

1) Leki Carbonlite XL trekking poles
2) Salomon Advanced Skin S-Lab 12 hydration bag
3) The North Face Venture waterproof jacket
4) The North Face Venture waterproof pants
5) Arc'teryx Phase SL Crew Long Sleeve baselayer
6) The North Face beanie
7) The North Face running gloves
8) Portable toilets
9) Black Diamond Storm headlights
10) Petzl E+Lite
11) Water bottles
12) Sea To Summit 500ml collapsable cup
13) Bear bell
14) Spare batteries for headlights
15) Powermonkey Explorer external charger for GPS watch
16) Emergency blanket
17) First aid kit
18) Elastic bandage
19) Nutrition
20) Garmin Fenix
21) RoadID
22) Shades

Not in photo, race course map, travel insurance, handphone. I had never weigh them before but I believe the total should be around 5kg, or maybe more?

(The reflective band on the hydration bag was given during the racer check-in last year)

Items to be placed in the official drop bag at A4.

The official drop bag was given to us during the racer check-in at the start line. It was a 68cm x 50cm plastic drawstring bag.

I placed a spare set of shoes and running gear into it, plus running gloves, BUFF, bodyglide, additional first aid kit and nutrition.

Not to forget the drop bags provided by Avid Adventure. The night before, I had already separated the items for each aid station and placed them into ziploc bags with labels.

Each ziploc bag was for different aid stations.

Avid Adventures would provide support at 5 locations so inside the package they gave us were these small plastic bags and sticker labels for each location. So, instead of 1 official bag drop at A4, we had now 6 bag drops at W1, A3, A4 (official bag drop), A7, A8 and A10. That really made a huge lot of difference!

We could place whatever we want, as long as it could fit in. No shoes allowed though.

There was still an issue which was in my mind now. Trekking poles were only allowed in certain sections of the course (A2 - A4, A10 - Finish). I could carry them right from the start line, but only use them starting from A2. Or, I could place them into the Avid drop bag at A10 but that would mean I would only be able to use them in the last 18.2km. Should I also deposit the poles into the official drop bag when I reach A4? Or should I keep them with me (but not allowed to use them) from A4 until A10? Decisions. Decisions. Its alright. I would have another night to think it through.

Dinner was a big spread. There was so much food for us to choose from.

We tried to eat more rice as it would provide the energy we needed. I tried not to overeat as I was worried it would make me have difficulty falling asleep. It was really difficult because there was so much yummy food on the table. Hehehe .. :p

From Avid Adventures
After dinner, a few of us stayed at the common area. I sat next to the giant race course map, browsing through Facebook. Looking at the map, I was hoping that the terrain would pop out in 3D for me. Hahahaha .. joking. In fact, my mind was like a blank. Behind me lies the drop bags of those doing the STY. They were supposed to have them ready by 2100Hr tonight. Ours, the UTMFers, would be tomorrow morning 1100Hr.

From Avid Adventures
The STY drop bags would be consolidated and sent to the respective aid stations. While we slept early that night, the Avid crew were working hard.

I looked through my gear and drop bag items again and again. Worried that I might had missed out any item. Enough. Lets stop looking that them already.

This was it. The night before the race. Pre-race jitters? This was the time when you had to have faith in the training you had done. I would be lying if I said I was not a tad nervous but it was not until the extend of freaking out. It seems more like the feeling of anticipation of what was going to unfold. Whether if you had prepared, physically AND mentally, well for the race. Or was it anxiousness? I could not really describe the feeling I had in me now. I had read somewhere that before a race it was best just to be yourself.

Yah, I was just being myself.


Anonymous said...

haha love all these running shoes at the hotel entrance!!! fumi

Anonymous said...

haha! Love all these running shoes at the hotel entrance!!! fumi