It will be my 6th Comrades in a matters of days time. It's all happening this Sunday, 4 June 2017. Then 3 weeks later on 24 June 2017, it will be my second at the West Highland Way Race (WHWR). And this time, it's more on completing it rather than clocking a new personal best as build-up to it was just a bumpy ride.
Unlike previous years, there was no monthly report card from me this time. Due to work commitments as I ventured into a new career (more like returning to revive a previous setup), I know the first half of year 2017 will be a tough one in terms of running. Going into the year with a DNF from BTS 100 last year and a barely made it Comrades qualifier, and starting it with my second attempt at Vibram HK100, I tried my best and did all I could to get my mileage into my legs. All I got was 3 races thus far and with 2 successful one despite clocking poor timing. Then another DNF at Route 68 Challenge, managing only 63KM out of 168KM.
Work was horrendous and I was deprived of sleep and rest. Just couldn't find the strength to run. I did what I could cause running isn't just about running. I tried to build strength in other areas but I knew it wasn't going to be enough especially when we are talking running long distances. It's all about mileage and that was missing.
And besides training, most around me knew what had happened between me and Saucony Malaysia. No longer I am their ambassador despite being offered a new contract as the new team behind it is just basically pure bullSh1T! Promises after promises made, marketing methods that I am just so not agreeable for and lousy services provided, it's best for me to be staying away from them. Myself and the previous team had worked so hard to build to what it is today, and we are deeply saddened to see how it became now. Till at least the current brand manager whom is an embarrassment to the brand leaves, there will be no way I am going back to them. No your initials does not make you part of the brand! Oh and yes. I am no longer the admin for the Facebook site too as you probably have notice the standard of English there. But I am glad I have good friends from Saucony global so technically, there isn't any problem with the brand but rather the local distributor here. In fact, I will still be visiting them during my visit this time. And trust me, it hurts to be saying these above for it's a brand that I am closely attached to.
With no race shoes (despite being promised that I will have them), I am glad that another company took note of me. Enter ON, from Switzerland. I was a little skeptical with the shoes as I didn't like them at all, at least on the earlier generations. But as they move forward, the have streamlined their models and I was offered the ON Cloud model to try on. Then came the CloudFlow which felt really close to the Kinvara which I have became so accustomed to. No, don't get me wrong. I wasn't offered a contract to be their ambassador but rather involved in their seeding program first. At least I needed to know and feel if the shoes work for me, else I am no different to those whom I call "Play take only!". and those that only have interest to their own. And if it works, and if they really offered me a contract, then maybe I will think really hard about this. But for now, I am really thankful and grateful that ON stepped in just in time for my shoes for both Comrades Marathon and West Highland Way Race was finally chosen and settled for. The On CloudFlow and CloudVenture Peak it is, for both models I have tested since late March 2017.
From 5, 2 was chosen. The ON CloudVenture Peak for WHWR and CloudFlow for Comrades.
Moving forward to May 2017, I finally found some time to actually run. With Tropicana closure in mid May, my running finally return as I chased down some pretty good quality mileage among my legs. I felt alive and honestly did not felt happier running. I am finally back! Then a week before I am schedule to fly, my problematic tooth where my wisdom tooth was extracted last September decided to give me some problems. A quick check with the dentist reveals that there were 2 options. To remove it or to have a root canal procedure. I don't think either is suitable for it may bring down my immune system and hence we decided on a temporary emergency measure, to remove some nerves from it and to patch it back. It should be able to do the trick I hope and by the next day, the pain was gone, well at least temporary and I hope that it will last. But sadly it didn't and the discomfort returned 3 days later. Another emergency procedure was done in patching it back, but this time at another dentist near to my work place and I hope it will be a better job. It certainly looks better and I really hope that it will hold.
For the first time, I will be flying Qatar Airways with a transit at Doha. Looking forward after hearing much positive things about this airline. And from South Africa I will leave for Scotland the day after Comrades and will be arriving at Edinburgh before heading to Aberdeen via the train. Then I will lay off a little by visiting Tyndrum and Glasgow as I prepare for the big WHWR. A plan recovery at a "new destination" next before heading home with Chee Kong and family to Malaysia on the first weekend of July. Yeap, that's a total of 38 days away and am certainly looking forward to it after a hectic first half of the year. However with all the terrorist attack around the world with one recently happening at UK, it is definitely worrying. Nevertheless, positive vibes it is.
To close off this entry and despite only clocking 612KM since January 2017, what I can promise is that I will not DNF both of these races unless I break down physically. My mental will keep thrive over pain, my past will be strength, my experience will guide me, my dear friends will be my pillar and you will keep me going. My sixth Comrades and my quest for my second goblet. I am BACK!