MacRitchie Reservoir Run

This morning my alarm went off at six; I struggled out of bed at 6:30 and dressed, then rushed out to try to find a taxi to take me over to the MacRitchie Reservoir, to meet some other people for a run. When I found a taxi (there were almost none at 7 in the morning in Chinatown) he took me on an incredibly long route to the reservoir, trundling at frustratingly slow speeds on all the (very clear) roads. I was worried that I’d get to the start and find everyone had left, but thankfully I got there with a few moments to spare.

There were five of us running today: three serious guys from the Monday track nights, plus a random guy that had found out about the run on the internet. Apparently there’s quite a few people who hear there’s an 11km run around MacRitchie and say they’ll come along, and then never turn up, or do turn up and then trundle around slightly slower than my taxi driver, or turn up and do a kilometre and then pack it in; quite enough people to make one cynical about any new people who turn up.

I was worried that I’d be that person who’s incredibly slow, but when I started at my usual cautious pace, I was actually in the lead of the group. The first three and a half kilometres are a serious of short, sharp hills, usually on loose, rocky trails. I do ok ascending, but probably because of those years of downhill racing on a bike, I’m quicker downhill than the people I’m running with – either confidence, or stupidity, or better line choice meant that I could open up gaps on most of the downhills, before losing it again going up. That was a lot of fun for me, but I had to take it a little bit easy as I wasn’t sure what else was waiting for me.

The route flattens out, but never completely gives up on hills. There are some sandy areas near the golf course and a bit of boardwalk, and a largeish gravel hill to run up at around the 8k mark. That was where I started going backwards; my legs are strong for the first five k of hammering, but then because I haven’t trained enough for distance, I begin to falter. The others overtook me, then began to disappear in the distance.

On the last 3 k, there’s a choice of routes. Everyone else took the route through the forest, whereas I went on the boardwalk at the edge of the reservoir, which I think was a lot flatter and maybe slightly less direct; either way, we all finished in less than 56 minutes, apart from the one guy who got lost and showed up after an hour and twenty minutes. At least nobody got set upon by a rabid monkey or an angry pangolin or a vicious monitor lizard.

It was a little warm, but not too unpleasant. Apparently some people start their run at MacRitchie at 10 in the morning, which sounds insane as it will be horribly hot by then, but on the other hand the wife and I went for a walk in January of 2013 and started at midday, with predictably horrible results, yet still survived.

I think if I do this next week, I’ll run in my lighter off-road shoes and see if that makes a difference. They may not necessarily help; lighter weight means less padding which means more pain going downhill and on rocky surfaces. But the reduced weight may mean more speed… Still, it would be good to go from a fast start to a deathly finish to a strong result all the way around the course. We shall see.

GPS log here

On the way back, I was worried I’d never find a taxi. The last time I ran at MacRitchie in the morning, it took me more than an hour to find a bus to get me home. This time, I grabbed a taxi that was dropping somebody else off in the car park, but chary of paying too much, and worried that it would again be too slow, I had him drive me to Novena station, and then took the MRT back. That was probably a mistake, as it deposited me at Outram Park at 9:20 in the morning, and by then I was nauseous and faint, all the energy gone from my body, and not prepared to deal with the wife and child that I’d abandoned almost two and a half hours earlier. Probably best to damn the expense and take the taxi all the way home.

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