Back to Endurance…

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Lake garden… hamster style 🙂

This Sunday, I will be running Back 2 Endurance 2015 at Taman Tasik Perdana (the “Lake garden”). This race is an ultra marathon and the goal is to run… as much as you can within the cut off time of 6 hours or 12 hours (it depends on what duration you register). It’s not in fact a road race as such as you loop within the Lake Garden park, mixing tar road and softer surface (on the walkway). This is the first time I’ll run a race in this format… I’m not sure what to expect at this point !

The loop @ Lake Garden. It avoids the amphitheater area with is more steep. A flat course, around 2.3-2.35km

There are many advantages to start with that kind of race (“loops”):

  1. You don’t have to worry about the logistic aspect: the loop is not too long and you always pass by the only Check Point at every lap
  2. You can bring pretty much everything you need (few pair of shoes, your drinks, spare clothes, …)
  3. You can have your friends and family coming to cheer you and support you 🙂
  4. You don’t need to worry about how long there is still to run and what’s next !
  5. If you have any issues (chaffing, blisters, tiredness, ..) the Check Point is always less than 3km away !
  6. You don’t need to carry your bag and supplies: you only need some water maybe and some food eventually (not to waste time)
  7. If you are anxious during the race (first timers !), the nice volunteers will cheer you up and re-motivate you 🙂

And on top of that, you get to run there… nice isn’t it ?



A loop format race is definitely what I would recommend for beginners. However, all kind of runners go to Back 2 Endurance: their goal is to increase their distance from the year before. It’s actually a good exercise to see how you can pace yourself. Also running loops requires mental strength as it can be boring and from boring becoming… demotivating and from demotivating… torturing.

What’s my plan ?

Honestly I don’t really know: if I had to say something it would be not to get too excited, play the long race well by pacing myself for maybe a 7:30mn/km ? The place is flat, that should be a relatively easy pace (like a long LSD) that I can probably maintain for long. A short calculation shows that 50km at that pace is 6h15. Make it 7 hours as you will need to stop at the CP. Push it further and doing the next 35km say at 8mn/km and you add another 5h. The big challenge will be the heat and possibly the rain (toward the end of the day). I remember P100 and the heat killed me (naively I was not prepared for it !) but on Route 68 or Gunung Nuang, I was better prepared and managed it much better. On a flat course it would be manageable, especially with the regular pit stops. Actually one of the risk is spending too much time at the CP !

The instrument of the crime :)
The instrument of the crime 🙂

Also I have not decided what shoes I will be wearing: by default it would be the Merrel Bare Access 3 but I’m tempted to run part of it barefoot (15-20km max), part of it with the Luna Sandals (15-20km max), or maybe with the Merrel Road Glove 2 (my good old training shoes). But.. that’s a lot of shoes !

Training wise, I have been lazy… not really but after Route 68 my objective was to focus on barefoot running and increasing my feet resilience and mileage. It meant nearly no LSD, only runs up to 15-20km max. I have done a lot of running around Mont Kiara on “loops”: one street which is exactly 500m back and forth and other place with a small loop of 500m. That last one is nice because it has a mix of ugly tar road (tough on the feet) with a downhill and uphill, a section with hard smooth tiles and another section with hard but abrasive coating. I go there to mostly run barefoot and I remember when I started there just walking was painful !

Many other runners and running friends are doing this race. For example the Bare with Me group (Malaysian Barefoot runners) is giving away prices for the barefoot runners that will run the entire event barefoot. The open question for me is what of minimalist shoes ? More seriously, it’s a nice idea to have barefoot runners there. The course this year is much more appropriate (no more road work on the side of the lake). This year is going to be fun I think because I have many running buddies going there 🙂

Last few words…

There are no couple of loop format races in Malaysia however to my knowledge they are all around Kuala Lumpur:

  1. Back 2 Endurance at Lake Garden
  2. Pink Ultra at Putrajaya
  3. Bukit Cinta Ultra at the University Malaya Campus
  4. 24h Taman Jaya
  5. Watergate 16h at Putrajaya
  6. Metro Endurance At the Lake (MEAL run) at Kepong

I don’t think I forgot any. Note they all have differences (duration, elevation, …). It’s definitely a good way of starting ultra running. Even for non ultra runners, it’s a nice and different experience to see how you can handle the loop format, the heat, … Definitely a must do once !

I hope you guys have fun there and that there will be many people coming to cheer runners. It’s so easy to go there and you can also have a run/walk in the park 😉 All the best fellow runners !

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