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ultrarunzaw

Marathon Des Sables 2018

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I'm not sure where to share this. This is jus a sharing on the MDS.

I'm taking part in 2018 MDS, a multi-stage self sustain ultra marathon, 251km across 6 days in the sahara desert. I'm not sure if anyone from Singapore have attempted and finished this. Currently I have 3 Standard Chartered Marathon finish, a couple of Ultra (60km) under my belt. I'm not a fast runner, my pace is on the slow side, but my stamina is good. I can run for hours and hours across 80km. My current weekly mileage is around 80km-100km. I've training for this for 4 months, and as of today I still have 11 more months. I have a coach from the US, Liza Howard, who is training me for the event. She's a very respected Ultra runner and completed the MDS a few times herself, thus first hand experience. In fact, she will be joining the MDS next year with me.

The entry cost of the race is an astonishing 3100Euros, not including flight and gears. In fact I spent about $1k on gears.

I'd like to hear views, opinions and advises from fellow ultra runner to guide me through this 11 month of training. I believe this run would be an extraordinary experience which I hope to share with every passionate runners out there.

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I am very happy for you @ultrarunzaw for taking the step into this MDS Ultra... I had heard of this Ultra and really salute the guys/gals for doing this race.... I am happy to hear your sharing of the review as well for this race.....

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beast   
On 5/6/2017 at 1:21 PM, ultrarunzaw said:

I'm not sure where to share this. This is jus a sharing on the MDS.

I'm taking part in 2018 MDS, a multi-stage self sustain ultra marathon, 251km across 6 days in the sahara desert. I'm not sure if anyone from Singapore have attempted and finished this. Currently I have 3 Standard Chartered Marathon finish, a couple of Ultra (60km) under my belt. I'm not a fast runner, my pace is on the slow side, but my stamina is good. I can run for hours and hours across 80km. My current weekly mileage is around 80km-100km. I've training for this for 4 months, and as of today I still have 11 more months. I have a coach from the US, Liza Howard, who is training me for the event. She's a very respected Ultra runner and completed the MDS a few times herself, thus first hand experience. In fact, she will be joining the MDS next year with me.

The entry cost of the race is an astonishing 3100Euros, not including flight and gears. In fact I spent about $1k on gears.

I'd like to hear views, opinions and advises from fellow ultra runner to guide me through this 11 month of training. I believe this run would be an extraordinary experience which I hope to share with every passionate runners out there.

I believe many of us here are casual runners who will not have any experience on MDS to share.

From what I know:
- you will have to carry a lot of stuff during the 7 days, including your sleeping tent and hydration/food for survival. I am assuming you will not be running most of the time but actually walking a marathon every day with that amount of load. So not sure how you are going to train on that.
- extreme climate changes, very hot during the day and very cold during the night. Also not sure how you are going to train adjusting to that either

Would be nice to hear more about your training and preparation. You could have a weekly or bi-weekly blog for us to follow... I will definitely find it inspirational...

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23 hours ago, beast said:

I believe many of us here are casual runners who will not have any experience on MDS to share.

From what I know:
- you will have to carry a lot of stuff during the 7 days, including your sleeping tent and hydration/food for survival. I am assuming you will not be running most of the time but actually walking a marathon every day with that amount of load. So not sure how you are going to train on that.
- extreme climate changes, very hot during the day and very cold during the night. Also not sure how you are going to train adjusting to that either

Would be nice to hear more about your training and preparation. You could have a weekly or bi-weekly blog for us to follow... I will definitely find it inspirational...

This is a very good idea. I will start a blog and get it running. For the curious, here is the official website

http://www.marathondessables.com/


Here's a quick run down

Basically it is a 7 days Multi-stage ultra marathon. It usually covers 250-260km accross the Sahara desert in southern Morocco. The route is slightly different each year. The days are breakdown into (estimate)

Day1: 30.3km
Day2: 39km

Day3: 31.6km
Day4: 86.2km (Wooosh!)
Day5: Rest
Day6: 42.2km

Day7: Mandatory UNICEF Charity stage 20.5km

The kicker is, you have to carry everything you need for the entire event except for water which they will provide. This include a bunch of mandatory kit like Sleeping bag, food, compass, venom pump, blanket, wet tissue, swiss army knife, etc. At the end of every stage, they will provide a tent (minimal comfort) for you to spend the night before you continue onto the next stage.

Each day have a 12hours cut off time except for Day 4 which has 35hours cut off time. If you fail to meet you will be disqualified. 

The challenge include
1) Running under 45-50degree celcius sahara heat.

2) Running of fine sand and climbing sand dune.
3) while carrying a 10kg-ish back pack.

4) Learning to sleep and eat with absolute 0 comfort.

5) Pacing for 7 days.


Every year there are abour 1200 competitors from around the world. 300-ish female runners. The number increase every year. To get a position for the event, you need to sign up 1-2 years in advance which is okay because you probably need 1-2 years of training.

Watch this short 2min teaser video to see how is it like.

 You can visit their official page on youtube to see a full coverage. MDS 2017 just finish one month ago. It was a very exciting year. 

I will start sharing my training once the blog is up!

 

Edited by ultrarunzaw
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16 minutes ago, ultrarunzaw said:

This is a very good idea. I will start a blog and get it running. For the curious, here is the official website
 

yea you can... jot down the training you had gone through and it can serve as a review when you are done with the race and provide insights for those who had not taken part before....

Would there be a vehicle for you to store your sleeping bag and food for all the 7-days?? I see that most travel light with only hydration and some food.... and there is really quite a large number of runners for this race....

Edited by AutumnRunner

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16 minutes ago, AutumnRunner said:

yea you can... jot down the training you had gone through and it can serve as a review when you are done with the race and provide insights for those who had not taken part before....

Would there be a vehicle for you to store your sleeping bag and food for all the 7-days?? I see that most travel light with only hydration and some food.... and there is really quite a large number of runners for this race....

Nope. No vehicle (except for emergency vehicles) . You have to carry everything you need. The only thing they provide is tent and water (pre-determined amount). Thus you see competitor going to the extend of cutting their toothbrush in half, vacuum sealing their food to reduce extra weight on the backpack. Some even skip carrying extra clothes. 

However there is a mandatory list of equipment that you must bring. If you add the weigh of your food and mandatory equipments, your backpack already around 7-8kg-ish (without water). If you add in 4 litres of water which you are given during the race, the backpack would reach about 11kg. Thus there is very little room for luxury/comfort item such as cameras, books, ipad/kindle, cup noodles, etc. My current mock backpack weighs 8km (without water). 

Edited by ultrarunzaw

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10 minutes ago, ultrarunzaw said:

Nope. No vehicle (except for emergency vehicles) . You have to carry everything you need. The only thing they provide is tent and water (pre-determined amount). Thus you see competitor going to the extend of cutting their toothbrush in half, vacuum sealing their food to reduce extra weight on the backpack. Some even skip carrying extra clothes. 

However there is a mandatory list of equipment that you must bring. If you add the weigh of your food and mandatory equipments, your backpack already around 7-8kg-ish (without water). If you add in 4 litres of water which you are given during the race, the backpack would reach about 11kg. Thus there is very little room for luxury/comfort item such as cameras, books, ipad/kindle, cup noodles, etc. My current mock backpack weighs 8km (without water). 

wow... that's like going outfield during the army days....

from the video, everyone seems to be carrying quite "light". Maybe I didn't watch too much in detail.... but I am sure it's really an experience of a lifetime...

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jerrylam   
21 minutes ago, ultrarunzaw said:

Hi everyone. I have created a blog. I will start to post my training plan and progress soon. For now, I have post details about the Marathon Des Sables.

http://ultrarunzaw.blogspot.sg/

Hope you guys will enjoy it.

Awesome buddy!! I'll definitely be following it for tips and motivation!!

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11 hours ago, ultrarunzaw said:

wow.... you are an experienced ultra runner with quite a couple of ultra runs under your belt.. and this race is definitely your highlight/goal for yourself... I am glad that you got a running coach to help you as this would definitely help you in getting your goal in the fastest possible way.

seems that our hot and humid climate is a good training ground for this race as compare to the Europeans.. haaha....

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54 minutes ago, AutumnRunner said:

wow.... you are an experienced ultra runner with quite a couple of ultra runs under your belt.. and this race is definitely your highlight/goal for yourself... I am glad that you got a running coach to help you as this would definitely help you in getting your goal in the fastest possible way.

seems that our hot and humid climate is a good training ground for this race as compare to the Europeans.. haaha....

Yup. I feel that a coach is very important. Especially one with first hand experienced because the event's specific demands. Many experienced ultra runner DNFs were not because they could not run the distance but by things did they not expect. For example not hydrating properly, not taking in enough salt and electrolyte, sand dunes, stomachache and cramps, proper hygiene, blister management, backpack rubbing against the skin, shoes coming off, not knowing how to use a compass, not pacing for 7 days, no proper recovery technique for the next day, etc.  

hahaha yup! Nowadays, when it gets really hot, it's kinda funny that I'm happy about it. I will put on a sweater if I'm at home. My mom will go "are you crazy?!?!?!?!"

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4 hours ago, ultrarunzaw said:

Yup. I feel that a coach is very important. Especially one with first hand experienced because the event's specific demands. Many experienced ultra runner DNFs were not because they could not run the distance but by things did they not expect. For example not hydrating properly, not taking in enough salt and electrolyte, sand dunes, stomachache and cramps, proper hygiene, blister management, backpack rubbing against the skin, shoes coming off, not knowing how to use a compass, not pacing for 7 days, no proper recovery technique for the next day, etc.  

hahaha yup! Nowadays, when it gets really hot, it's kinda funny that I'm happy about it. I will put on a sweater if I'm at home. My mom will go "are you crazy?!?!?!?!"

The considerations for an Ultra is clearly different from any road races below the FM.. it's something that one has to try it out inorder to appreciate the distance and also to understand how to cope with the 1001 factors coming up on that day... still many months for you to train up and remember to listen to your body and stay injury free (sends shivers on me looking at your training distance)..

If I spot someone running in the hot sun in Bedok Reservoir with a sweater on, I think that would 99% be you... hahah...

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1 hour ago, AutumnRunner said:

The considerations for an Ultra is clearly different from any road races below the FM.. it's something that one has to try it out inorder to appreciate the distance and also to understand how to cope with the 1001 factors coming up on that day... still many months for you to train up and remember to listen to your body and stay injury free (sends shivers on me looking at your training distance)..

If I spot someone running in the hot sun in Bedok Reservoir with a sweater on, I think that would 99% be you... hahah...

yup! Safety is still no number 1! You can spot me easily by my backpack which has a huge MDS logo! 

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4 hours ago, ultrarunzaw said:

yup! Safety is still no number 1! You can spot me easily by my backpack which has a huge MDS logo! 

Enjoy your training bro... and I only run there on weekends... while u run on weekdays...haa

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@ultrarunzaw, is Kinvara a suitable shoe for running Ultra? Did you wear this shoe before? My experience with Kinvara is that it's a 4mm drop shoe and IMHO, I felt it's a little too thin if you were to run such long distances in it....

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6 hours ago, beast said:

Hmm do you do night shift work or freelancing? Seems like you can run in the mornings on weekdays...

I work in a pharma industry (QC). Im actually on 12 hour shift work (8am-8pm). Thus I only need to work 7 days in 2 weeks. I get a lot of weekdays off!

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5 hours ago, AutumnRunner said:

@ultrarunzaw, is Kinvara a suitable shoe for running Ultra? Did you wear this shoe before? My experience with Kinvara is that it's a 4mm drop shoe and IMHO, I felt it's a little too thin if you were to run such long distances in it....

Actually my first choice of shoes of Brooks Cascadia 11. However it weigh so much at about 340g. If you factor in gaitors, the weigh could go up even more. While the Cascadia is extremely resilient, the weight is really a dis-advantage. I'm looking for something lighter. The Kinvara 8 is about 230g. I'm not sure how resilience it is but currently I have 90km mileage on it. I'm quite liking it. The RunningLab did mentioned that it is more of a road running shoe.

I have a 60km TheGreenRace coming up in August. Im thinking of taking the Kinvara there to see how it fare.
https://thegreenrace.sg/

Actually I'm all ears for choice of shoes as I'm still testing around! Would love some advice on it!

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Lexham   
On 11/05/2017 at 6:13 PM, ultrarunzaw said:

Hi everyone. I have created a blog. I will start to post my training plan and progress soon. For now, I have post details about the Marathon Des Sables.

http://ultrarunzaw.blogspot.sg/

Hope you guys will enjoy it.

Wow! All the best for your MDS, ultrazaw !!! 

Ultra respect to you for attempting this!!! Have bookmarked your blog on my browser.... will be rooting for you!!!

Jia you!!!

 

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6 hours ago, Lexham said:

Wow! All the best for your MDS, ultrazaw !!! 

Ultra respect to you for attempting this!!! Have bookmarked your blog on my browser.... will be rooting for you!!!

Jia you!!!

 

Thanks! I try my bestest not to DNF!

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beast   
13 hours ago, ultrarunzaw said:

Actually my first choice of shoes of Brooks Cascadia 11. However it weigh so much at about 340g. If you factor in gaitors, the weigh could go up even more. While the Cascadia is extremely resilient, the weight is really a dis-advantage. I'm looking for something lighter. The Kinvara 8 is about 230g. I'm not sure how resilience it is but currently I have 90km mileage on it. I'm quite liking it. The RunningLab did mentioned that it is more of a road running shoe.

I have a 60km TheGreenRace coming up in August. Im thinking of taking the Kinvara there to see how it fare.
https://thegreenrace.sg/

Actually I'm all ears for choice of shoes as I'm still testing around! Would love some advice on it!

I am actually wondering if runners will pack an extra pair of shoes just in case the shoe is spolit during the 7 days? Since the objective is to carry as little load as possible. However, without a shoe in the event of an emergency, it might be tough to carry on the race as well...

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51 minutes ago, beast said:

I am actually wondering if runners will pack an extra pair of shoes just in case the shoe is spolit during the 7 days? Since the objective is to carry as little load as possible. However, without a shoe in the event of an emergency, it might be tough to carry on the race as well...

Actually I asked this question as well. The answer I usually get is "no". A pair of shoes weight about 500-700g which is quite heavy when you're aiming for 7kg backpack. It's not only the weight, its the volume. You can't squeeze it into your bag. It will either be dangling around or you need another shoe bag (additional weight). If you have spare 500-700g of weight, you would probably want to bring something that you will definitely use. Whereas an additional pair of shoes is more of a "just in case" scenario, which can usually be avoided with sufficient preparation and understanding of your shoes.

What I understand most runner do is that they bring duct tape along should their shoes comes off. I do heard of a few runners who DNF due to shoes coming off but it's a small number. It's more of an exception rather than the norm. 

What I am planning to do is to try a few shoes out, get about 200kms in, and monitor the shoe's condition. Around January 2018, I will get the exact same pair, condition it with about 50km mileage, and then set it aside for the race.

Edited by ultrarunzaw

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1 hour ago, ultrarunzaw said:


What I am planning to do is to try a few shoes out, get about 200kms in, and monitor the shoe's condition. Around January 2018, I will get the exact same pair, condition it with about 50km mileage, and then set it aside for the race.

The issue I used to face with shoes (soccer boots or running shoes alike) that you used before and kept it for a few months, it is less lasting... there was a few incidents where I bought new soccer boots, used it once or twice and shelve it for half a year before using again. Then the sole came off after a few minutes... So to set aside after getting in 50km mileage might have to be very sure that the shoes will be fine.

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