The GRIND

My foot injury is healing, only a slight bother now on road LSDs and virtually undetectable while on trails. I’m reminded of the increased likelihood for repetitive motion injuries when putting in high mileage on roads where there is almost no variation – just thousands of identical foot strikes on the pavement. I like trail running better anyway. While Penang has plenty of trails, most which are easily accessible are more compatible with hiking than distance running. Occasionally there will be a 1 – 3 km stretch where one can get in a steady running pace. This is followed by either a steep uphill or downhill grade which reduces one to a brisk hiking pace. These uphill root steps are great training as well and should be quite similar to the type of terrain we can expect on the TMBT, particularly the second 50 km, so I’m not complaining. I have to remember the fact that trail miles, especially steep trails, are much slower than road miles when looking at my weekly mileage totals. When my totals are not as high as I’d like, I’m reminded that training is also measured by hours on the feet rather than just total distance covered.

I’ve recently discovered a new set of more runnable/power hiking trails where I have started taking my son to tennis lessons 3 times a week in Bukit Jambul. This gives me a great opportunity to get in a couple hour run either on the hilly roads, trails, or most often a combination of both. There is a good 300 meter elevation gain on the trails with some flat ground in between the two peaks. With just over 2 months of training time remaining, I need to put in some long weekend back-to-back runs. Today I put in a decent half marathon effort in the second series of the Penang Run, clocking in at 1:44. Not too bad considering there was a long 3 km hill near the beginning and I forgot to bring along my headlight for the dark sections along the village roads of Balik Pulau. I placed 7th in the International Men’s Open category, but well behind the 1:12 blistering pace of the Kenyan first place runner. (Yep, I better hang onto my day job.) A 30 km run tomorrow would be ideal training on these depleted legs.

Recently I’ve purchased a lot of cool new equipment for the TMBT and just about have my kit complete.
1) A Scott Jurek Ultimate Direction ultra hydration vest
2) Black Diamond Distance FL Z-Trekking Poles (I’ve never used poles before)
3) A new pair of Newton Distance running shoes (for road training only)
4) A bunch of nutrition products from Hammer Nutrition that should keep me fueled for the 100 km distance.
5) Nebo CSI Edge 35 lumen back up flashlight (single AA battery, with hat clip) for the Black Diamond Storm Headlamp I already have. (I love it and its 100 lumen is rated for 80 meter visibility, waterproof too, so meets TMBT specs.)
6) CEP Arm sleeves for sun protection.
7) Injinji trail socks
8) Halo II Headband to replace the one I’ve worn out after 4 years of constant use. This is great for keeping the sweat from dripping down on my glasses, but it does get saturated after more than an hour. So I also purchased the Gutr Headband to give it a try for heavy sweating. My sister is an avid biker and highly recommended this product.
9) I sent my Garmin Forerunner 305 back to Garmin for replacement after all the rubber buttons completely deteriorated and wore off rendering it unusable. (They still charge $79.99 for the replacement).
– I already own a pair of CW-X Ventilator Compression full length tights which I am quite pleased with. In addition to the benefits of the compression, I find much more sweat evaporates as it travels down toward my shoes, so it is much longer before my shoes become totally soaked and squishy.

Unfortunately I will not have access to these until the end of July when my wife returns from a trip to the U.S. That will truly be a Christmas in July for an enthusiastic first time ultra runner! I’m especially looking forward to the SJ Ultimate Direction vest to replace my cheap department store hydration pack. Now I should have more time for running after finalizing all these selections from hours of research on the internet, carefully seeking out the items I think will best fit my needs and then finding the most afordable price. Now it is to the GRIND of hitting the road and trails, to up my mileage from 50-60 km to 75-100 km over the final two months of training!

(I would highly recommend BackcountryEdge.com as an excellent site for outdoor equipment. They have great customer service, very helpful video demonstrations, and 1 year unconditional returns with free exchanges and free shipping in the U.S.)

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