Team Dirigo in Terengganu – What Went Down Over The Weekend

My weekend came early this week! Thanks to Dirigo Events, the 5 of us (Muhaizar, Uma, Daniel, Chooi Fern and myself) were off to Terengganu on a racing trip.

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I took Friday off from work to catch my flight to Terengganu (my first out of KL race!).

I wasn’t feeling too well when I woke up that morning. I’ve had only an average of 5-6 hours of sleep per day throughout the week since my first half marathon (2XU Compression Run 2014). It didn’t help that I was sore all over from Tuesday’s killer workout session. I was on the verge of falling sick and I could feel it.

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My head was pounding that morning. It was so bad that I didn’t even bother going through my “list of things to bring”. From the picture, it seemed like I’ve got everything covered.

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I slept on the train to KLIA2 (something I don’t normally do especially when I’m alone). KLIA2 is huge but I didn’t have much time to wander. I went straight to the departure gate the minute I arrived.

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Met up with Chooi Fern and her posse (her mom, Yu Fang and Bee Hoon). We were a noisy bunch. I apologise on behalf of everybody (haha!). The plane arrived earlier than expected. We were in Terengganu by 12.30pm. Our Manager, Darnis, came to pick us up at the Sultan Mahmud Airport.

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The BEST manager ever, lugging my luggage around for me! Sorry Darnis, I just had to!

After checking in, we unpacked our stuff and went for lunch with the rest of the team.

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We stayed at Batu Burok Beach Resort (400 meters from the starting line) which was right next to the beach. We had the best view! The only downside was that it was too HOT! Darnis promised that it would rain that evening (it didn’t!).

After lunch, I took 2 panadols and conked out for the rest of the afternoon.

At 5.30pm, we got a training wake-up call.

SERIOUSLY? In this heat? We had to unwillingly gear up for a short run along the beach.

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Felt a little bit better after the run. Running along the beach was rather relaxing although the sun was still blazing.

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So privileged to be training with the pros. Muhaizar, the champ, takes the time and makes an effort to teach/show me a thing or two about running! I have learned a lot from him and the rest of the team.

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Gloria, Coach Mark and the rest of Dirigo arrived that evening. We had dinner at a restaurant that was just outside of our hotel.

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Loading up on spaghetti and fish!

Took another 2 panadols after dinner. Although I slept for the most part of the afternoon, I fell asleep the minute my head hit the pillow (thank God!). Chooi Fern was still fiddling around preparing for the race the next day.

At 4am, my eyes were wide open. I got up and slowly got ready. The race was supposed to start at 6.45am which meant that I had to eat breakfast at about 4.45am. Breakfast was in Darnis’s room and I couldn’t contact him until about 5.30am! By then, it was too late to eat breakfast. I settled for one powerbar.

Met up with Coach Mark at about 5.45am for a warm up session. At about 6.20am, I was feeling hungry. My stomach was just not in the right state. I was feeling bloated and hungry at the same time. I had a pack of biscuits before walking towards the starting line.

My only prayer was to survive this race. I really wasn’t feeling my best. By the time we were off, the sun was already shining. I started out a bit too strong (as usual). And soon, I felt the effects of it. The good thing about this route was that there was only one hill. The rest of it was pretty much flat.

I took a sip at the first water station. Thinking that there would be many water stations ahead, I decided to skip the second one. Oh boy was that the biggest mistake ever! The next water station was at least 11KM away! That whole stretch felt like death. On a side note, I could see Muhaizar leading the pack on the opposite side of the road! Wooooo! Ok, back to how I was dying along the bridge. I was crawling my way across the long straight road which seemed to never end. Too monotonous, too tedious. My body was screaming for water.

Also, I had my gel pack in hand which I had to take (long overdue) with water. My heart jumped when I saw what looked like a water station. I ripped my gel pack and started sucking on it. To my horror, it was the SPONGE station! Words simply cannot describe how I felt at that moment. I held the gel in my mouth, swallowing a bit at a time (it was too THICK!). I tried very hard to breathe through my nose or I would have been coughing the rest of the way.

Finally, I saw the water station up ahead. By then, we had already merged with the 10KM group. I literally had to fight for water. Managed to grab one small cup. With that small amount of water, I sucked up the rest of my gel. I grabbed a cold sponge along the way too. That sponge worked wonders! I immediately felt refreshed and energized. The weather was just INSANE. I could feel the heat eating its way through my shoes.

I was already going horribly slow. Coupled with a mild side stitch, I was THIS close to walking. The only thing that kept me going was the picture of me jumping into the swimming pool and of course, I had Team Dirigo in mind. During the last 3KM, one lady overtook me from the side. She went up quite far ahead but at the last 2KM, she was just 20m in front of me. I couldn’t be bothered to overtake her. My head was heavy and I was feeling very queasy. If I had sprinted my way passed her, I would have probably end up in the hospital. I kid you not!

After crossing the finish line, I could not hold myself together. I made my way to the medical tent. I was already seeing all sorts of stars. After resting for a bit, I went to meet up with the team.

We went back to the hotel, showered and had buffet breakfast before heading back to the start line for the prize giving ceremony. Food and water never tasted so good!

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Muhaizar put up a good fight all the way to the end! Team Dirigo’s Champion!

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And of course, the sister came in 3rd place! So proud of her. She fought so hard for it and she deserved every bit of it!

I came in 8th place with a time of 1:39:33. Not exactly what I had in mind but I am just grateful for making it to the end. Good thing the prizes from the 6-10th placings were the same. Chasing no. 7 would have done my body more harm than good.

Daniel and Uma did really well too! Everyone gave their best. Thumbs up, Team D!

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Post race beach hangs.

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Bollywood in the making.

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After collecting our prizes, we went back to the hotel room. I was too lazy and too tired to pack. I laid on the bed with all my dirty laundry in the bathroom.

Daniel came over to hang out and load up on bread with jam. Too funny. He was using the bed as his plate! I took a nap while Chooi Fern and Daniel continued to go on and on about everything under the sun. Those kids, bursting with energy. 10628200_10152783843261388_6411494511797440573_n

We checked out at 2pm and went for lunch! We were famished!

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Very authentic Malay meal. Muhaizar was describing each dish, some of which I’ve never tasted. But it was so good!

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The spread.

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And then it was time to leave Terengganu. It was actually my first time there.

1604448_10152786638826388_8337973676534387318_nWill I come back next year? Probably not! Then again, it was a wonderful experience.

Some things just cannot be read or studied, it has to be experienced and felt with the heart. Thanks to Dirigo Events (Rainer Biemans, Gloria, Darnis, Maarof, Nik), Brooks and the rest of team D for this insanely fun weekend! And of course, Coach Mark, who has helped me get to where I am today. Thank you for all of your advice and encouragement. We couldn’t have done it without you!

10606588_10152786638871388_4382993547337678046_nNow, time for some much needed sleep!

*My advice if you are planning to race in Terengganu: BRING YOU OWN WATER!*

Lord, for the blessings of Your grace, I am forever grateful!

Your marvellous, infinite, matchless grace!

Even in times of despair, God showers us with sufficient grace to see us through!

Keep Running!

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