Friday, May 1, 2009

Mak Datuk, Gunung Datuk!

This is a long overdue post :) Been meaning to post it, like, forever, but could not find the time. Last 4th of April 2009, I decided to formally join a KOMA (Kumpulan Orang Minyak Adventure - a suka-suka club some friends decided to form for everything adventurous - kayaking, climbing, running etc.) activity. I have been a member for quite sometime, but have yet been able to join any of the activities due to other commitments. This group, my brothers and sisters, will be featured a lot in this space in the future since I am hanging out with them too often to count now (heh), so remember the name... KOMA!

A group of us signed up to join the race up Gunung Datuk. This 870m mountain is situated in Negeri Sembilan, and this race is part of the Sirkit Mendaki Gunung Negeri Sembilan (the other two mountains in the series are Gunung Tampin and Gunung Angsi - the overall winner for the circuit is the person who collects the highest points after the three climbs). In an average climb - the recreational, suka-suka climb - a person can hike up and down the mountain in 2.5 to three hours. Last year record for the same race was 50 minutes (for male category)... hahaha. Go figure.


I am drenched, hot and sweaty. My shoes are muddy, and I am only one-third way up.

The female runners (we hypothesized the number is the year each of us is destined to win. So, cheers for 2010!)

The female runners at the starting line, waiting for flag off.

The first 500 meters. Still can smile for the camera maaa.....

I am contemplating to walk back down. Seeing how others were struggling and complaining, which are exactly my feeling as well, I keep looking back. The hard core runners were way at the front, leaving behind in the dust this group that I am belong to – people who joined the race because they thought they could do it or their friends convinced them to join. People who are obviously not fit to do such a physical thing. People who in other times may prefer to lounge in front of the TV, hang out with friends and go shopping. People who are now learning the meaning of ‘Ala, kita lari saja-saja je, for fun…”. For fun, my ass…..

I keep looking back downhill, but my steps continue forward…


I am a virgin to this racing thing. I’ve never even try the normal, flat-surface, 10km run, and suddenly I am registered for a race up a mountain?

So if I quit halfway, my friends will understand right?
They won’t be mad right?

They will console me saying that it’s is okay, there’s always next time… you are a first timer anyway. Half-way is all-the-way for you.



I haven’t even reached the half-way point to the peak, but a few runners are already running down. Down!!!! Which means as I am hauling my way up to this point, they already reached the peak, turn around and are now passing by me on their way down.
Are they robots???? Or did a helicopter drop them off at the peak, and they are simply climbing down? No wonder they have such a sexy thigh.
(Runners have the sexiest thighs. Ever. Maybe one far, far away day, I will get those sexy thighs too).


Oh, how I wish for a cold can of Coke now.
At the flag-off point where we started the race, some vendors are selling delicious smelling burger Ramli, and iced orange cordial. Rose syrup and cane juice. How I would kill for those now…..


Slightly above the half-way point, I see a vision climbing down.

“Fatma!”, the vision greets me, a bit too friendly to my exhausted mind.

It's Aiman. My saviour from the gruelling Kayak trip we took last year. He is an energizer bunny, a cheerleader, a 'we-can-do-it!' guy... He was not officially running in the race (long story, he wrote about it here) but decided to go up anyway... to take our pictures. He passed by me long, long time ago, so my guess he already reached the peak, started his climb down and now is sweeping (a sweeper is a person who ensure that every single climber is accounted for, that no one is left behind, and usually the last person to reach the peak) all our racers up. Despite that, he looks like he is taking a stroll on a beach - a big smile plastered, not a single trace of tiredness on his face. Naturally, I am the last person he finds, since all KOMA runners are running ahead of me... (oh come on, that fact doesn't really surprise you right?)

Most importantly, he doesn't believe in quitting halfway.

“Jom aku temankan ko ke puncak!” (See?)

Ohhhhhhhhhhhh, Aiman. There goes my chance of turning back.


The Gunung Datuk race is mentally exhausting. Of course my legs are deadwood, and hauling my body up feels like I am carrying a sack of 10 kg rice (reminder: lose weight to be more agile for the future races). But that could not compare to the crazy thoughts running through my mind. When I am alone, I keep everything to myself, letting out occasionally, "Oh God, this is hard".

But I keep going.

Yes, the thought of turning back crosses my mind so many times, I am surprised that I have not quit already. One thing that I learn from work and all the gruelling journeys I have experienced - the VMY race, the kayak expedition, and now this - is commitment. If I say yes, I'll finish it. I may whine, I may complain, but those are all to let the steam out. It may take me longer to do something, but god forbid that I'll quit.

So I soldier on, and now that Aiman is personally cheering me on, I could not just quit, no?

(But too bad that now he is here, he has to listen to all of my "I am tired!!", "I want to stop...", "Why, whyyyyyyyyy?" etc, all the thoughts that I previously keep to myself when I am hiking alone.... thank you my dear, for being my soundboard... hope you know me well enough that in normal circumstances, I am a cheerful, fun, happy-go-lucky human being..hahaha)


Everytime runners pass me by on their way down, I ask them how much longer to the top. Despite the fact that I barely move that far from one runner to the other, the answer ranges widely from -

"Sikit je lagi" - from seasoned runners and hikers, who know too well than telling us newbies the real distance, and to encourage us to continue on.
"Jauh la jugak..." - from the young kids in the teenager's category, who are obviously telling the real truth.
I know one is giving the RIGHT answer, and the other is giving the TRUE answer, but who should I trust?


Yes, every step that I take is one step further from where I started off, and since we have to follow the same trail going down, it is one step further from the finish line. But the truth is, it is indeed one step closer to the peak, as Aiman says. So why the hell do I want to turn back, when I am already halfway there. I am already half-tired, so let's go all the way!!!

Countless stops (more like one stop after every ten steps. Hahahaha, I should not cheat in my daily run at KLCC park anymore!), I arrived at the peak!! Dipping my fingers in the purple ink (the ink stain is the proof that you actually arrive at the top), it feels like I have conquer the world!!

All smiles at the peak

The savior... on the way down (even bigger smile!)


Seeing my friends' smiles are priceless. It puzzled me that as soon as I see them at the finish line, all my tiredness is gone.

It is as if I have not spend the last two to three hours hiking a 800m++ mountain, along a 10-km trail....

And now I know why so many people dedicated themselves to this sport.
It is that feeling when you pass the finish line. Some needs to be the first to cross the finish line, then it is considered they made it. For others, as long as we cross the finish line, we made it. The degree of achievement is different, but the fulfillment of finishing the race is the same. It is exhilarating, it is fun, it is worth all the pain... especially when there are people waiting for you at the end.


Thank you, thank you, thank you to all KOMA runners and our dear manager (Datuk Farid, next race kena lari jugak la. Manager kena rasa jugak jadik runner, heh), and other members who although they could not be with us, sent their best wishes. And of course thank you Aiman, my kayak saviour and now my race hero! Thank you for the water bladder and for convincing me not to take the sling bag up the mountain (I would have use it to stranggle myself out of annoyance)... Sling bag is for shopping, not for hiking!


  1. Kau nampak kurus dalam gambar2 itu. Ke kau memang dah mengurus gile sekarang, cuma aku je dah lama tak jumpe kau?

    Semenjak dua menjak ni dah taknak join futsal siot. Yelaa yelaa...pegilaa join KOMA punya aktiviti je hehehe.

  2. uii..hebattt..heheh..weh this suka2 club..aku suka2 nk join boleh?ekekeke

  3. waaa bestnyer... geng opisku di P*DB suka karocks la tapi, tu yang tambah galak menyanyi kitorang nih :p

  4. Rina: ehhhhh, mana aku saja-saja x main futsal, babe... tgh busy laaaa. Hehehehe, rindu ke kat skill kayu aku nih?

    Min: kalau ada aktiviti best yg boleh ajak guest, nanti aku buzz ko :)

    Farah: yezza, ini geng outdoor. Geng karoks ada jugak... hidup kena seimbang..

  5. - good report fatma!
    - are u ready for the next one? hihihi...
    - itulah istimewanya KOMA...friendship! they'll support you no matter what..

  6. aku tgk muka ko time panjat bukit pun aku rase penat.takpela,aku sokong dr jauh jerk.uhuk2

  7. Hey I should hav read this post much much much earlier... baru perasan... huhuhu..

    thanks for the post.. I'm not that great .. m just enjoying what u've mentioned..

    btw.. bout 'teman u naik puncak' those stuff .. ,i was actualyl blamed/ questioned/ scolded.. hmmm ... lantak lah.. i know what i was doing.


  8. i really appreciate what you did, aiman. kemungkinan aku patah balik itu sangatlah besar, hahahaha.. bila tgk ko punya lah bersemangat, aku x sampai hati nak quit. thanks for keeping this rookie going.

    and as for the blaming/scolding, well, in assessing you as a runner, maybe they got their point. but as a friend, you did something really meaningful. don't sweat on it :)