I must say I was really looking forward to this one. Group run following the first half of HK100 route was a great plan for Saturday. I however knew that the whole 51km would very likely not be possible in the hot weather that was to be. I set myself target to make it at least to Wong Shek Pier (about 30km) and then see.
It all started well. The initial road section was easy, the following winding trail section shaded with many streams so sun and heat were non issue. I tried to run economically at the beginning knowing that energy will be needed later on.
Once back on the road I started to realize that the day is going to be tough. As long as I was running in the group I somehow managed to keep up. But then on one climb I purposely slowed down a bit. A small gap appeared between me and the others. And I was never able to claw that back. It only grew bigger. Then I paused for a rinse under a water trickling from the rock on the side of the road, another pause checking out dead snake and I lost sight of the others.
I caught up with the rest at the end of the East Dam (because they were waiting) but once we got going again I quickly dropped back again. I simply could not handle the heat. I know very well that I don’t handle heat too well. But the level of struggle on this day took me by surprise. This picture that Rupert later posted explained a lot …
I knew there was a water hose after the first hill and I could not wait for it. I desperately needed to cool down. I had a bit of a problem locating it but after wandering around a bit I found my bearings as well as Vince (who was waiting for me by the pipe).
The cooling helped temporarily and I also filled one spare bottle with extra water for future “shower” on the way.
Vince was nice enough to stay with me. I was hopeless. Once we started climbing Sai Wan Shan the struggle was back. This is not a hard climb on a normal day. Now I could barely make 5 steps without stopping and resting. I was a proper disaster. I decided that for me this “run” will end at Sai Wan. I could not imagine going on further.
We were a bit worried abound Brendan whom we expected to catch up with us (he started a bit later after waiting for a latecomer). But he was nowhere to be seen and he kept radio silence (which is normal in the area with so shaky phone coverage). Vince was wondering if he should go back look for him. Eventually we concluded that strong Brendan must be fine. I planned to take longer break at Sai Wan (cooling down and drinking) before heading back to starting point. I would wait there till Brendan arrives to make sure he was fine.
I somehow survived the rest of the hills and even managed to jog a bit down to Sai Wan. We heard from one guy that our group is sitting in the first canteen in the village and that is where we found them.
I bought few bottles of cold water and later added one fresh young coconut. I took my time here. Some of the others planned to go for a dip in the sea, some planned to continue. I planned to go back up the concrete path and then follow down the road on the other side of reservoir back to Pak Tam Chung (about 10km). I was glad that at least Sunny had the same idea – running back with somebody was definitely better.
About 5 minutes after the other left Brendan showed up. He was ready for his coold down drinks but determined to go on. We said by to him once he left and two of us got ready for journey to Pak Tam Chung.
I went to refill my spare bottles with some tap water to be used as shower on the return trip. As I found out it was pretty salty water – obviously the tap tapped sea water 🙂 .
On the way back we hiked all the uphills but tried to jog most of the flats and downhills. At the end it was not as bad as I feared.
When we got back to Pak Tam Chung I had 27km on my watch. Given how I struggled on this one I was pretty pleased with the way it ended. Decent mileage with few hills on this hot day.
I also decided to give Tailwind a try on this run. The jury is still out. It did not give me any troubles but as the heat was the dominant factor of the day I can’t tell at all whether Tailwind works or not for me yet. I will give it another try but I will have to figure out the right dosage. One single pack per 500ml of water is way too sweet for me. And I am not sure if there will be enough energy for me if I dilute it more. Will try and see …
Link to Strava here.