The heat was searing, the strides heavy, and the incline impossible. There we were again, just over 10k into our morning training run, and forcing our way up Singapore's tallest hill again. It was a larger group this morning, numbering about 15 in total, that set out from MacRitchie reservoir park to tackle yet another LSD training run in preparation for the North Face 100k challenge.
I could barely generate a response as another runner said 'hi' while overtaking me on thesteepest portion of the climb. Far from the friendly greeting I had hoped to express, a half-grunt-half-exhalation was what came out from my mouth instead, as I waved my hands in acknowledgement. This was far more exhausting than I had envisaged, and we were not even halfway through our run for the day.
Regardless of how epic our struggle up the hill felt, it paled in comparison with the experiences of the Allied Troops that defended this objective on 10 Feb 1942, against the invading Japanese army. It was a sobering thought that the very trails that we followed were used by soldiers fighting for their lives more than 67 years ago, making a last stand at the start of World War II. These were the true heroes and giants of our past. Suddenly, the climb didn't feel that bad
We decided to explore a new section of the dense trail network in the area, opting to run along the 6 km loop mountain bike trail that circled the base of the hill. The course was even more challenging than last week, with some portions so steep and slippery that I almost felt like crawling down. In fact, there was one cyclist who lost control of his bike and was found lying on the trail by some of the runners in our group! Nonetheless, I still had a great time exploring all these new routes. Never knew there were so many potential areas to check out on foot :)
In the end, we got more than we bargained for. The final 8 km of the run was in the blazing heat of the pre-noon sun, which drained almost every ounce of energy that we had left. At some points, it was just a mental game of tricking my legs to keep moving in the hope that the end was just round the corner. Trust me when I say that I was absolutely elated to see the end point after almost 5 hours on my feet. 32.13 km in 4:46:10. Think that should be enough for today :P