As the darkness creeps into the evenings, a head torch becomes an essential piece of kit. Escape from civilization and step into the darkness!
I am proud to share with you, that I have conquered my fears and I survived my first night trail run- Petzl Night Trail Run 2017 which was held at Taman Rimba Alam, Putrajaya.
We arrived two hours earlier to grab a quick dinner. Then we were off to Taman Rimba Alam, Putrajaya only to be like a headless chicken, driving in circles looking for the start venue. We came across other ‘lost’ runners looking for the start venue too..There were no signages or arrows to show us the directions…Urrghh…To make matters worst, it began to rain-not just rain but it was raining cats and dogs! Flashes of lightning and continuous thunder. Finally, I decided to logged into Facebook to look and search for any updates and the information was a last minute changed of venue to the Nexus International School area. We thanked our lucky stars, that we managed to get a nice parking spot and we waited in the car….and waited….and waited……and waited….for the rain to stop….but it did not! Then at 8.30pm, we decided to make ourselves ‘waterproof’ and walked in the rain to the start venue. Finally, there was an announcement, the race will go on….and it will be flagged off at 9pm….Could it be divine intervention or maybe you could call it a miracle…..sharp 9pm, the rain just stopped!
At 8.30pm, we were led by two awesome ladies with a warm up Zumba session. I really had a fun time dancing, jumping and yeah baby..It’s Zumba time! Then at sharp 9.00pm the 13 km was finally flagged off. The race wasn’t crowded, about 1200 runners. My heart was beating like a drum…butterflies in my tummy…..THIS IS IT! My mind said….My first night trail run…..What’s it gonna be like? So many random thoughts in my mind then……….Bang…we were flagged off! I immediately head down the hill towards the entrance of the jungle….Ohhhh…..I ran about the hall way down before cutting cross and then back up the hill. I can proudly say I conquered the hill! My legs were burning by the 2 km and I struggled but I did it!
I was slow and steady. We ran across small muddy rivers. It was an awesome experience! Never in my life, I would imagine running and playing in mud…Back home, I will be the one- yelling from the top of my lungs at my kids telling them not to play with mud……but I did it! And I proudly can say….I faced my fears!
The best part of it all was the experience! It made me be a stronger and fearless person! Why? Hmmmmm….I wore the wrong shoes! I wore my lucky road running shoes….Yeah…lesson learnt! When you run a trail run…..you need trail shoes! DUH! Anyway, the trail runners were just so awesome! Each time I fell, many runners came to my rescue! At one point of time, going down hill on a small waterfall-mud gushing waters, I had to grabbed plants and tree branches and at times, crawl on my hands and knees and grabbed tree roots….(Spider man action or maybe more like cicak man action) It was a hilarious sight and luckily there were no photographers at that particular time for evidence- if not, I would have won the best action drama category, that night! But what really touched me the most was the attitude and passion of the trail runners- they were so ever ready to lend a helping hand and to rescue a damsel in distress! LOL!
Running in the woods made me realized it was indeed a night without limits! Running, walking, hiking and at times crawling and oh yes, sliding and skiing- thanks to my lucky road running shoes in the dark- woot woot! I HAVE CONQUERED MY FEARS!
Not knowing how I would fare for the whole race, I did not attack the course as much as I could have..(Or should I say- The course/trail attacked me) LOL.. My main focus was to just finish the trail run. I kept reminding myself to keep breathing steady (That I am not gonna get murdered or killed by a zombie in the dark) that I need to save energy on the uphills, so I can run stronger on the flats and hard on the downhills and finish the race and go home!
Then, suddenly in a weird creepy feeling, something happened to me…LOL..thoughts of when you are out in the forest alone in the dark, complete silence/ the sound of the forest envelops you, your senses heightened and alert and you lose your sense of time…..of place……you start to hallucinate, then it starts…weird, scary thoughts starts creeping in my mind….A killer clown! Behind you! Annabella is right beside you! RUN! RUN! Run for you life! RUN FOREST RUN! Other times I am keenly aware of my surroundings, BUGS! BUGS! SLUGS! SLUGS! nooooooo wait! FROGS! FROGS! It’s alive! It’s alive! Nahhhhhhhh…Run Chrisy! Just run Chrisy! Run and just finish this night trail run!
At some point after my diversion, I came across the 13 km runners, which was an interesting case for me because for some reason it made me hike/walked/crawled and ran a little faster. Entering downhill portions, finding passing lanes was a lot of fun, as was zig zagging around the trails and blasting through mud.
Yes, there was mud! Lots of it, the course overall was muddy and wet due to the heavy down pour which made the Petzl Night Trail Run even more AWESOME! Wearing compression socks was a good idea in a way as mud flew up my leg but my feet was intact..phew…but it kept me going…when the going gets tough…the tough gets going! In a very strange and weird way, the trail kept going and going and goin…to me it seemed endless…but it felt right at home!LOL….Finally, I reached the finishing line with the time 1 hour and 25 minutes (garmin watch) and the distance trackked at 7.7 km….woahhhhhhhhh…..For a first timer……
All I can say is, I LOVED IT! I can’t tell you how much all of that-interesting, lower impact trails, along with the challenging terrain, was exactly what a road runner like me wanted! (NOT!) Trail running as I did during this trail run used some of the same concepts but with huge twists that made it so interesting for me!
Overall, it was an awesome experience- water stations were well manned, volunteers did a tremendous awesome pawsome work despite the heavy rain, markers and directions were well placed, the terrain and route was simply amazing!
Thank you for making my first Night Trail Run an amazing journey and a memorable moment to treasure. Will I be back next year……???Oh yes, you can count on it….!