The Most Beautiful Thing 2017

TMBT was going to be special. It was going to be a family trip for me. The cousins, the uncle, the best friend were all coming down to Sabah.


I think we were a little last minute with training. As always, with the 50km looming, we had to do some training. I mean 50km is no joke! So, training started on the 4th of September week with close to no mileage before this week. Mind you the race was for 17th September which gave me slash us 2 weeks to do some last minute training. The 4th September - 10th September I hit a 60km week. I did 2 trail hikes with the cousins and Pau. They asked me to bring them into the trails. But for them, I would probably have not even gone into the trails. We wanted to do Nuang because of course Nuang is a good training ground with great elevations. But we were lazy, we just ended up in Kiara. Elevation is nothing compared to Nuang, but it was the best we could do. I do really love Kiara anyways. The 2 trail runs with the cousin and Pau was definitely my 2 key trainings for TMBT. Both runs took us about 3 hours to complete.

4th September - 5km @ 516 pace
5th September - 8.5km @ 517 pace
6th September - 9.8km @ 534 pace
7th September - 11.2km @ 526 pace
8th September 14.7km @1149 pace (Road plus Trail) with 500m of elevation
9th September 13.3km @ 1205 pace (Road plus Trail) with 500m of elevation
10th September - Rest Day 

11th September - 10km @ 510 pace
12th September - 12.3km @515 pace
13th September - 5.4km @534 pace
14th September - 7.9km @ 536 pace

So, with 8 road runs, and 2 trail runs, off we went to Sabah!


I am more often than not plagued with stomach issues. Every time I set off into a race, I pray for no stomach issues. My breakfast was a bowl of simple noodles. I had chicken rice for lunch - and made pretty damn sure I ate a lot of rice. For dinner we went to dragon-i where I just had a simple ramen with chicken soup and a bowl of spinach soup. That was about it for carbo-loading. Save for the car-motion sickness I experienced driving to the start line, I was a-okay!

Nutrition & Hydration 

I brought along 2 500ml soft flasks. I started with one bottle filled with water and the other bottle filled with lucozade in lemon flavour. In terms of food, I brought 100g of coin-shaped ba gua (meat jerky). I also brought along 2 Young Living Ning Xia Red 60 ml packets, and 2 Oats and Honey Nature Valley bars.

The plan was to take a couple of sips every 15 minutes. I would take a sip of Lucozade and a couple of sips of water. At every water station I would top up my water back to the 1 litre capacity I was carrying. This was to make sure I was adequately hydrated. In terms of food, the plan was to munch on my ba gua every hour and have my Nature Valley Bar at the 3rd water station which was at 28km.  I would also have something more substantial - some kind of solid hot food at the 3rd water station. And I would take my Ningxia Red at 20km and 40km to give me a boost!

I carried an additional two 250ml soft flasks which was to be kept empty. After water station 4, it would be an 11km run to the finish line with crazy elevations of the Dallas hill. So the plan was only to fill this up at water station 4 so I would be carrying 1.5 litres of fluid for the final stretch of the race.

BUT, as we all know all too well, the plan is rarely followed. Although I have learnt it should be. We should always eat before we are hungry and drink before we are thirsty. Once we feel the hunger pangs, whoah!


I had gotten my Mizuno Hayate only on Wednesday - 3 days prior to race day! I was contemplating on using my road shoes which has some sort of grip - the Mizuno Wave Cruise or breaking the golden rule of never using anything new on race day and just give the Mizuno Hayate a try. I chose the Hayate and boy was I so thankful. They gave me so much grip and I rarely slipped up. The muddy sections weren't difficult for me to tackle.

Although when they were wet after a couple of river crossings they got bit heavy but it was still manageable. The one thing I would change is to use lock laces because I had to tie my laces a couple of times. But in terms of grip and fit, and considering I was using it for the first time, I'm really happy with the Hayate.


I took a short 1 hour nap in the evening. And only managed to go to bed at midnight to wake up to a 3am alarm. I'm not very good in getting sufficient sleep before race day unfortunately! 

Race Day 

I had a Nature Valley Bar for breakfast and a tin of milo. I think I was kind of nervous. And sleepy! And my stomach was not feeling great from the car motion sickness - the drive to the start line was super windy! Thanks limwenshan for driving us to the starting point. 

Flag Off - WS1 (12.3km)

This section was largely on road and open gravel although it was kinda up and down. I think I tried to run some uphills but it was largely hiking up the uphills and running the downhills and what I would consider to be flat in comparison with the rest of the elevations. When we entered into a single trail some 8km in, many people passed me but this was to be expected as I wasn't too good at running - especially downhills in the trail. 

For most of the parts of this race, if not all, I was running, hiking and walking alone! 

WS1 - WS2 (7km) 

I checked in WS1 15-ish ahead of my 2015 timing. That got me motivated. I refilled my bottles and off I went - back into the trails. I think I was pretty okay at hiking up the trails, really bad at running down the trails and really good at running on roads and open gravels. There were some river crossings here and whoah splashing that cooling water on my shoulders was the best feeling ever. Everytime we ran past a water source I would splash water on my shoulders. The weather was so hot I could feel my back and shoulders burning! The water - super refreshing! 

I think I only ate half a ba gua up to this point! When I arrived at ws2, I ate 2 slices of pineapples, filled up my water and ran off! Although I did follow my hydration plan, my eating plan completely went out the window! 

WS2 - WS3 (8-10km) 

Here, during the climbs at the 20km point, I took my Ningxia Red - it was sourish and sweet at the same time and was super refreshing. It really gave me the kick I needed. I was really looking forward to have my next packet but I only brought 2, the next one to be taken at 40km. I really wished I had brought more. The route here was more run-able. I ran for the most run-able parts and hiked the uphills. The ending was a kilometre steep road uphill. Was super nice to see limwenshan here. I was in good spirits. I just kept telling myself, it's just like going up Kiara! Was so happy to arrive at WS3! I was feeling good, really good! 

But herein comes the mistake! WS3 was meant to be my long stop - where I was supposed to refuel myself well. Save for a couple of pineapples more I stuffed down my throat, I practically just refilled my water and left. I did think to myself, hmm, I'm not hungry anyways. I probably just ate one more ba gua slice here.

WS3 - WS4 (Pineapple Ridge) 

The climbs were long, and steep. It's basically like doing a Nuang after running 30km - limwenshan had to remind me of this. The climbs were so tough. When I thought the climb was over, I see another hill. It kept going on, and on, and on. I felt I was moving so slowly. I felt like my quads were giving up on me. I didn't feel so good anymore. All that positive spirit, yeah felt it no more!

My legs were so tired that even running downhill towards WS4 was painfully slow. I was just yeah - really really tired. But then, I know after 30km everyone is tired. Just got to keep moving. Every step I take is a step closer to finishing!

Not sure why I thought it was a good idea to just go with 1 litre of water. Man the initially plan was to fill 1.5 litres! I think it was because I wanted to move light. But this was a decision I would come to regret.

WS4 - Dallas Hill 

It's a downhill 7ish km before hitting climbs again - but I could hardly run downhill fast. I was moving really slowly. I'm not sure I would even call it a jog. I would run, then stop to walk a couple of steps and continue on. I was so done with this! I really couldn't wait for this to be over. I felt like I was dying. I really just crawled up the uphills, I kid you not when I say I was on all fours at certain points uphill. And jogged the downhills. 

The Infamous Dallas Hill 

Whoah once I hit the infamous Dallas hill, I almost cried. Or did I cry. Dallas hill is a double hill along the final 4km stretch. You go all the way up - such a steep climb up, then they make you go pretty damn down again then climb all the way up before hitting some stairs to the finishing line. The climbs were so steep and long and at this point, I had no more water. I instantly regretted my decision to not fill up my 2 empty 250ml flasks. I was only half way up the first portion of Dallas hill when I had no more water!

I think I experience what people term as hit the wall here. I could feel the hunger pangs. and I felt energy-less. Every step I took I felt like it was asking so much of me. I instantly took my Ba Gua out and started munching on them. I finished all 100 grams of it minus the 2 pieces I had already had. I was so hungry. After finishing the Ba Gua, I was still hungry. I pulled out my Nature Valley Bar and gobbled it up. I felt like a hungry monster. Throughout the whole course of hiking up the first Dallas Hill, I was eating all the way. Gluttony!

Hitting the top of the first Dallas hill, it started raining. I think I drank some of the rain water lol. But yeah imagine my joy when I saw villagers selling water and 100 plus. I bought a can of 100 plus and downed the whole can and bought a bottle of 500ml and carried it along with me. I paid a very reasonable price of only 5 ringgit for both drinks. Going back all the way down after suffering up the first Dallas hill was torturing. I felt all my effort was for nothing! We kept going down, and down, and down. And I knew the more we went down, it meant we would be going a long way up again. I cursed so badly at every step down. I was really exhausted.

The 2nd Dallas hill was not as bad as the first Dallas hill. It didn't feel as steep nor as long but because I was already so exhausted, it was still bad. My energy levels were so low. I was so thankful to come out on to the flats and hit the stairs. I saw the uncle and limwenshan at the stairs. The joy! It was so good to see them. And it was so good that they could watch me finish!

Just to highlight how tough the 4km stretch was - I think I took 2 hours for 4km, some people took 4 hours and I've even heard of people being stuck in Dallas for 8! Nothing could be more insane than making you climb Dallas hill at the very end!

Thankful to come in 5th with the timing of 9 hours 44 minutes. I'm also really really proud of the cousins!

TMBT, I will be back. I'm still gunning for that sub 9 hours!


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