I had a lot of fun at the Salomon X-Trail Run 2013. This year’s race was at Tampines Mountain Bike Park and Trail, which is an area normally reserved for cyclists.
Barbara and I arrived just minutes before the 730am race start but the start time was delayed by about 15 minutes so we had time to stretch and muck around. She refused to wear the event shirt because she didn’t like running in shirts with sleeves. I thought the shirt was really comfortable and the material was the best out of the event shirts I’ve received so far. I was able to keep cool throughout the run and I really like this baby blue colour. I also wore my football socks to run. This was the singular best decision I made in any race – the socks protected me from itchy grass and horrible mud (more about said mud later).
This was the map given to us with the goodie bag. The route looked a little crazy. There seemed to be a lot of winding paths.
But little did it prepare me for this sight. I swore I was in some jungle somewhere. This didn’t even look like Singapore.
The first two to three kilometers were tough. There were a lot of choke points because the path was narrow and many people hesitated when they came to a wet patch. I spent most of the time gazing at the ground and telling myself to be “light like a gazelle.” It turned out that I really quite enjoy leaping from rock to rock.
We emerged from the winding narrow bike path from the fourth kilometer onwards. There the path widened and became more rocky and gravelly. The ground was similar to Macritchie Reservoir and was a lot easier to run.
But towards the end of the route, I was greeted by this sight. Did I really have to wade in?
“Did anyone try to run through this section?” I asked one of the helpful volunteers. He replied, “Well, many have tried but they all end up swimming.”
I gulped and took a step in gingerly.
The water was surprisingly refreshing and washed away some of the mud that caked my shoes.
After one big loop that took me about 1 hour and 10 minutes, I made it to the finishing line. I managed to snap a photo of Barbara and Ivan sprinting in.
I was handed my medal immediately and was able to get bananas, water and wet wipes soon after. The goodie bag, which we collected earlier before the race, contained the Salomon shirt, a Salomon waist pouch that looked very roomy and some good Salomon/World of Sports vouchers that I plan to use.
Our shoes were filthy but we had a lot of fun. This was a very different experience from the usual road races. This was a lot more exhilarating and my mind was fully engaged making sure that I didn’t put my foot in the wrong place. In a road race, I would be able to disengage and slip into a more meditative state but for trail running, I had to be mentally alert. It was definitely more exhausting. I also had to utilise different muscles to run up and down hills. It wasn’t just a simple forward motion. I had to stay light on my feet and I realised that concentrating on my front-to-mid strike allowed me to run faster.
This was a well organised event and I’ll definitely be back next year!