Tuesday, March 10, 2015

TNF100 Forgotten Photos

As I was looking through my iPad for a photo, I came across some others from TNF that I had forgotten were there. This one is from the dark portion of the race, after we had caught up with the pack after getting lost. You can see that we are working our ways through the runners.

Pushing back to the front after a 2km detour
This was the first long incline. Turns out that the runner in the foreground of this photo is a Bangkok Runner also, Matty. He was running the 100km race. Only a month later he would get a trophy at Koh Chang in the 66km race. (post on UTKC coming soon)

The photo also reminds me that Eric had a terrible time with his new headlamp. I guess it wasn't sitting solidly on his head and was wiggling and jiggling around all morning. You can actually see him over my left shoulder trying to adjust it.

You can also, barely, see a stream of headlamps behind to the left. This is one of the coolest sights to see during the actual race. 1,000+ runners with lights giving shape to the darkness. One of my favorite parts of this race. Although, seeing the same lights from behind sucked ;) Picking our way through them back to the front sucked ;)

Funny thing, and thing that really takes a toll on the eyes, about passing 300-400 runners in the dark, from behind, is that when you pass someone, they automatically glance over at you to see who is passing. Not an eyeball glance, but an entire swivel of the head on the neck glance. And where the head goes the headlamp follows! 70+ lumen headlamps! It was like being temporarily blinded over and over and over!!

Admittedly, as I was passing people, I would also glance over to them to see who they were and see if I knew them. This, as well as seeing the results after the race and looking at the race photograph websites, kinda gives you a familiarity with other runners and of the race community as a whole. You know who is fast, you know who is injured and really working hard to just finish, you know who had just raced 100km in HK the previous week, you know who is stepping up in distance, you know who is super serious, you know who is out to have a good time.

The running community here is pretty small, just starting out really. Then when you start getting into different types of racing, trail vs road, long distance vs short distance, triathletes vs runners, the community gets even smaller and again, more familiar.

Other photos that I found show some of the trail and dirt roads that we ran on.

Gravity is typically a good thing, but when coupled with reduced friction and forward momentum and under race circumstances (translated- competitiveness) it becomes just another challenge
This photo reminds me that sometimes going downhill, especially with the loose rock everywhere, is more difficult than going up. It takes a lot of concentration and focus. You cannot switch off during a trail race...not for a second.

This is what some of the longer, gradual downhill portions looked like; the ones that Eric flew down like the doggone Roadrunner!! Not all of them were this "flat" though. This is just some rolling hills. Coming down from the mountain was much more technical and steep than this.

This 40km sign really came at a good time for me. We turned left into some trail and in front of us was a big hill...a big, ugly hill!! Your heart sometimes sinks when you see ANOTHER hill. I think the word is "disheartening". As we trudged towards the hill, another trail opened up to the left and this sign was right there. It felt so nice that we didn't have to go straight and climb another hill!

As we started getting more onto dirt roads rather than trails, and as the course became shorter and shorter (closer to finishing) we found ourselves walking a little more often. The next two photos show us taking it easy up a tiny incline in the road...followed by what most runners do after they see the race photographer ;)
"So, ya think we'll make it back to the hotel in time for a shower?...
Hahaha! Sure I ran the ENTIRE 50km...not!!
"Probab...oh crap, CAMERA, CAMERA! Act like we're running!"
That's one thing I've learned to accept about trail running...It's okay to walk, especially in Ultra trails, and you know what, it's okay to be photographed walking as well ;) The cameraman up ahead was a good kick start for us though...and of course, we made it back to the "ranch" in time to shower all of the blood and sweat away before returning to Bangkok to our families ;)

Oh, not sure if I mentioned in the last post that Eric and I (Team Cookies) came in 4th place again! Haha, got that fourth position locked!!

That said, and again, I end this TNF post with a playful yet quite serious...

"100km next year?"

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