Sunday, April 28, 2013

UTMF Trip 2013 Day 6: Race Report 3/3

The challenging and technical terrain continued for who knows how far until we reached the top of Shakushiyama (1597m).

The descent was also in the same type of steep technical terrain. Some places had ropes tied for us to hold on, some places we grabbed onto trees or branches and swing across downslope, and some places we only could rely on using our hands to balance ourselves. I had lost count of the number of times I slipped and fell. You got to have a strong butt to withstand all the falling.

I repeatedly told myself: “If I could cross 27km through Tenshi mountains last year, I could get through this! I could get through this!”

Finally, we arrived at the outskirt of Fujiyoshida. “Alright, we are getting somewhere now.”

As I turned down the highway, I saw Ricka standing at the junction with another volunteer. I pointed to the direction that I was heading and asked: “A10?”

Ricka pointed in the same direction and replied: “3 more kilometer.”

My heart almost sank when I heard that. You meant I ran for so long and now I still have 3km more to go?! Pardon me, I still have not regained my composure at the moment. I was still feeling the “shock” of climbing through the technical section just now. I was still wondering were we in a climbing or running race.

I ran hard for the next 3km towards A10, trying to make up time lost in covering the mountainous section. I was still ahead of the cut off time at A10. I just had not got back my cool to think properly. The common problem of being a noob in such endurance races.


Distance: 142.8km
Time: 36:04:39
Altitude: 704m
Time of day: 03:04:45

From Avid Adventures
A10. Daytime view.

We entered from the right and exit on the left. Runners were able to enter the building and rest too.

From Avid Adventures
This was the last aid station to go, with 18.2km more to the finish line at Yagisaki-Kouen. The Avid crew was station here too. Hiromi saw me and shouted out to me. I told her about the last section and she said a lot of runners who reached A10 also said the section was very tough indeed. I sat down on the benches and had some noodles and hot tea. The sun was going to rise very soon but the weather was still too cold. I told Hiromi if I did not see her at the finish line, I would see her at the post race party at Nagahama tonight.

There was one last mountain to cross. I was told it would not be as difficult as the A9 – A10 section. The first ascent would bring us 700m higher across 3.5km. It was not really that steep, compared to what we went through before.

However, fatigue finally caught up with me. Not having any sleep for the past 30 over hours, I began to hallucinate. I saw some other runners further up the slope and the next moment when I looked again, they were gone! I went up the mountain walking like a zombie. I stared blankly ahead and just followed the path. I could not really remember why I was there in the trails (seriously!). I would look at the course markers and wonder do I need to follow them. Until to the point where I could not take it anymore and sat down by the side and rested against a tree, thinking of sleeping for a short while below the tree.

By this time the sun had already rise and I could see more clearly around me. The sky was clear and the sun casted a golden yellow hue onto the trees on the slope of the mountain. It was a very beautiful sight. At that moment, I told myself: “Okay, now is the time to push!”

I stood up, took a few deep breaths, and broke into a power hike again. I even managed to overtake a few runners who were walking.

We got out of the trails and went onto the highway. The volunteers told me we were left with around 2km upslope (on the highway) and 6km downslope to the foot of the mountain, followed by a last 4km back to Yagisaki-Kouen where everything all started.

I followed the winding highway road and overtook a few more runners until we came to a point where the volunteers directed us into another path going downhill. I started to run downslope, hoping to be able to run the remaining way back. However, the path was all hard-packed gravel track and both my foot hurt so much running on them. I could only switch back to power hiking the rest of the way.

Mt Fuji as we made our way down the very last mountain of the course.

Nearing the foot of the mountain.

We passed by a temple after the end of the path. There was a volunteer standing there and pointing to the temple and made the sign of praying to us, as if asking us to pay our respect to the temple. I stopped in my path, brought my palms to a Buddhist praying position and took a deep bow.

Thank you for watching over all of us during the race.

We cut through the town on the north bank of Lake Kawagichiko. The roads were empty. I shook the hands of every runner that I ran passed. We were almost there!

Running towards the lake.

On the northern shores of Lake Kawaguchiko.

Crossing Kawaguchiko Bridge. Mr Fuji had never looked more beautiful after making a full loop around it. :)

We could hear the music from the finish line from here.

1km more!

Turning down the bridge from here.

From Masao Nado

As I was nearing Yagisaki-Kouen, I met Teddy somewhere below the Kawaguchiko Bridge. He was waiting for all of us to return at the finish line together with the other Avid crew.

Nora was also there waiting for me. After she finished her race, she went back for a short rest and went out to the aid stations with Teddy to cheer for us. She told me she tried to catch me at the aid stations but I always left before they arrived. Hahaha .. :)

Nora got second place for STY Women!

From Masao Nado
Hehehe .. almost done!

From Jeri
Last ascent!

I'm back!

I took my time and walked down the remaining stretch, high-five-ing every supporter's hands.

Finally, I finished the loop. :)

Distance: 161.0km
Elevation Gain: 9164m
Time: 40:52:40
Time of day: 07:52:43
Ranking (Men): 358 / 610

I thanked the RD Tsuyoshi Kaburaki for organising the race and making it a very wonderful adventure for everybody.

When I crossed the finish line, he said to me "Congratulation, Malaysia!" I corrected him and told him its Singapore. He said the same to me when I finished STY last year. :p

With the two RD, Ricka Fukuda and Tsuyoshi Kaburaki and the beloved finisher vest!

I was so happy to be back. Most of the Avid crew were also back at the finish line. They treated me like a king, offering me a seat, bring me food and water and collecting my drop bag on my behalf. All of them have had little sleep since the start of the race. I owe many of them a big thank you for being able to finish this race.

The first thing I did when I got back to the ryokan was to have food! I was not that hungry but I knew my body seriously needed it. Even if I had no appetite I also had to eat something.

From Avid Adventures
This was me. Extremely fatigued, thirsty, bloodshot eyes from wearing my contact lenses for over 40 hours.

I grabbed 2 bowls of rice, a few pieces of ham, added soup in to make them easier to eat and gulped everything down. I forgot whether if I had chewed the food in the process. :p

My whole body was so dirty I almost finish all my shower cream cleaning myself up. I was feeling so tired that I fell asleep while showering, with my hand still holding on to the shower set above my head. :s

I fell onto the tatami bed and slept like a dead log for the next few hours. I did not even notice Reuben returning from the race.

From Nora Senn
I woke up like 6 hours later because I was feeling hungry again.

I was extremely lucky. I finished the race safe and sound and suffered no blisters, no abrasions. I was feeling dehydrated though. Very dehydrated.

Like what Nora said: "Only dehydrated?!"

From the photo, I seem to have aged a lot from completing the race.

Its time for celebration in the evening. There was a BBQ party for everybody to chill out, have good food, beer, wine, and recount each of our adventures that happened during the race.

The highlight of the party was, again, the big tuna and the wonderful display of culinary skills by the owner of the ryokan, Noboru Miyashita.

From Alex

It got very cold as the sky darkened. We started to move into the ryokan.

A few of us sat around the huge map quietly looking at it. In our mind, we were trying to recall what happened at each section, reliving the adventure again in our imagination. The race was so long, we had to reorganise our thoughts to put things into order, into perspective.

I checked my Facebook and read all the messages from my friends, posted by them while I was still running and after I completed the race. Thank you very much. :)

From Avid Adventures
This belonged to Ari, one of the Avid crew. He asked everyone of us to write out names and draw an arrow to the country we were from.

From Teddy
Me, Olivia, Teddy, Nora and Kristen.

My whole body was aching. Well, who was not anyway?

My movement were all in slow motion. When I am standing up, do not ask me to sit or lie down. When I sit or lie down, do not ask me to stand up. Hahaha .. :)

This was the temperature variation during the race. You could see that the second night was indeed much colder.

I was very tired so I went to sleep while the rest were still chatting. I guess I would sleep very well tonight. Maybe I would dream of Mt Fuji. :)




1) KRISTIN MOEHL (USA) 24:35:45
3) OGAWA HITOMI (JAPAN) 26:15:25


2) SATOU YUUTA (JAPAN) 10:07:05


2) NORA SENN (HONG KONG) 12:41:41


El Duque de Béjar said...

Great chronicle! Made me figure out what's coming this year... already looking forward!

Thanks for sharing!


Yuan Cheng said...

Will head to Japan next month to run my own UTMF.
Thanks for the report.