Monthly Archives: May 2016

UTMB Training No 16 – Tuesday night road

Hot even in the evening. Tried to push but it was not really working. When I reached Bowen Road I saw some lady starting (or continuing) her run. She did not seem to run too fast. I thought I would pass her quickly but for entire length of the Bowen Road I could not even close the gap … Proper struggle… At the end 5-6mins slower time than a week ago with much more effort. Summer pace is on …

Link to Strava here.

UTMB Training No 15 – Recce of last stage LT70 relay – Part 1

Easy run planned for Sunday. So this Sunday I took my son to check out the first half on the last leg of LT70 race. He is to take part in kid’s relay team in the race later this year and this would be his bit.

It was still hot, humid and stuffy with few rain showers. We took it easy. We climbed in easy pace from Shui Hau to the catchwater and from there on we followed the pattern running for a km (2 trail markers), walking 500m (one trail marker) and repeat until Pui O.

It worked well. We took it easy on the trail bit down to Pui O as it was very wet and slipper there. We also had to spend few minutes talking to a stray dog, convincing him to take another route. But eventually we made it to Pui O in reasonanle time. And perfect timing – we got to the bus stop at the same time as Mui Wo bus.

Good day out, nice 10km to shake off the Saturday hills and a great company.

Link to Strava here.

UTMB Training No 14 – Hill work in the backyard

I planned to finally get to Tai Mo Shan area for the long run. But seeing the reports of muddy trails from the guys who went there on Friday night + the rainy stormy forecast for the day I decided to stay closer to home.

Plan was to do Mt. Parker 3-times. Two of the them would be loops Quarry Bay – Parker radar 1 – Parker radar 2 – Mt. Butler – Siu Ma Shan – Cecil’s Ride – Mt. Parker Road – Quarry Bay. The final one just plain run up and down to the radar 1. It was stuffy and humid with sun breaking through the clouds here and there. It was good to be at the area with many streams and water pipes + Quarry Bay offered the opportunity to refuel (cold drinks).

The first loop was quite OK. I had about 3kgs of ballast (water, backpack) but still made myself to run all the way to Tai Fung Au and then a bit more. But the last section to the radar and mostly fast hiked with running only on the flatter bits. Needed to save the legs for the rest of the day. Back at Tai Fung Au I bumped into some familiar faces on their Saturday morning run. I managed to exchange few words but quickly went on with my run – I still had close to 30km to go.

Butler climb was OK as was the Siu Ma Shan section. Down on Cecil’s it took a while to convince the legs to run on the flat trail, especially as the water pipe I planned to use to cool down was surrounded by large group of hikers. But nevertheless I jogged all the way to Mt Parker road and then down to Quarry Bay. Loop one done. I went to 7-11 for some cold Coke and quickly turned around to start the second loop.

I tried to run up the road again but in the heat and humidity the legs were too keen. Up to Tai Fung Au I was alternating between running and fast hiking stopping few times at water pipes to cool my head down. It was getting seriously sweaty. After Tai Fung Au it was just a fast hike to Parker. I did the radar to radar pushing myself to run the small hill to the second radar and then I jogged down to the foot of Mt Butler.

Butler climb was OK although slower than the first one. I was starting to suffer a bit by now but the vision of cold drinks in Quarry Bay kept me going. This time the pipe on Cecil’s Ride was free so I cooled down my head properly there and went on jogging the rest of the trail and the road down to Quarry Bay. Loop 2 done.

My VFUEL was finished by now so I had to power my last climb with Coke. I drunk some right away, the rest I poured into my bottle and topped it up with cold water. I also refilled my other water bottle. With still a bit of water left in the water bladder I should be fine for the last push up the hill.

There was no chance I could run the last uphill but fast hike was a good simulation of long climb in ultra race. Moreover this last hill was all about that 4.5km downhill at the end on tired legs. But to go down one first has to get up there.

I totally switched off my brain and just let my legs to go. Relentless forward motion… It was not super fast but it was OK (with few head shower pauses along the way). Once up there at the radar I quickly turned around and ran down back to Quarry bay and then home.

It was tiring but I was really happy how I managed the distance (my longest run since Translantau), the heat, the hills. Great training day.

Link to Strava here.

UTMB Training No 13 – Thursday Parker No 4

Tough to get going at the beginning but after few hundred meters I settled into the right pace and pushed myself running all the way up the radar.

I was not feeling like doing the other radar too but exactly because of that I did it (although the legs were a bit shaky). Same as the week before I ran down the road and then hiked up the steps to Butler. This surprisingly felt quite easy. After running back down the steps I fast walked up to Mt Parker radar again and then went for the long 4.5km descent to Quarry Bay to give my quads some work out.

Link to Strava here

UTMB Training No 11 – Recovery hot jog

Blue skied this morning and pretty hot. This was to be slower pace recovery jog so Martin joined me. We jogged slowly up to Cecil’s and towards the Mt. Parker Road. Then we continued on Hong Pak Country trail – jogging till the first bridge, then switching between jogging and walking until we made it to my plateau of silence under the slopes of Mt. Parker.

There we turned back and jogged most of the way back to the road. We planned to jog down to Quarry Bay but the heat was clearly taking toll on Martin so we took it easy and walked jogged the reminder of the route.

Nice morning out, decent mileage, feeling good and ready for the next week of training.

UTMB Training No 10 – Tour of my backyard hills

Stormy weather forecast made the planning for the Saturday run a bit tricky. Luckily the thunderstorms passed overnight and the morning was just cloudy and steamy. I decided against spending time travelling to the other side of Hong Kong and opted for hilly run in the background. Plan was to go over the hills towards Parkview and then see how the day goes. I was hoping for decent 20+km hilly outing.

I jogged easy towards Cecil’s Ride and then climbed with medium effort over Siu Ma Shan, then jog down the hill and climb up to Jardine’s Lookout. That is where I had the first chat break – I met Mark running the other way from Jardine’s so we stopped for few minutes.

Everything was fine when I made it to Parkview, no thunderstorms anywhere around, I still had enough water. So I decided to stretch my legs a bit and run down towards Tai Tam reservoirs and then go via Snake Valley to Violet Hill. The road section was OK but the Snake Valley was not very runable – wet, muddy and slippery after the overnight rains. This was the trail where I busted my ribs last year so I took it easy, no risks.

The Violet Hill climb felt much better than last week. I was not pushing too hard knowing that I have few more climbs ahead after that. Back at Parkview I took short break – visit to supermarket to buy some Coke.

Powered by the sugary drink and pushed back up Jardine’s Lookout. It did not feel too hard but my pace was not exactly blistering. Between Jardine’s and Butler I bumped into Stuart – so another chat break before climbing up Butler. From Butler quick descent down to Quarry Gap and push up to Mt. Parker radar. For me the long 4.5km run down from radar to Quarry Bay was more important than the actual climb – but to go down one first has to get up.

Legs were getting obviously tired when running down from Parker but that is what they need – tired long descent will be plentiful at UTMB …

Although most of the time I maintained comfortable pace post this run I felt quite tired and thirsty. Had to drink quite a lot for the remainder of the day to rehydrate… It was clearly hotter than it felt …

Link to Strava here.

UTMB Training No 9 – Thursday Parker No 3

The weather is still relatively cool for this time of the year. So mentally I am still OK to run all the way up.

I planned to extend these runs from today. I jogged up to the radar. No issues at all. Without any pause I turned around at the radar gate and jogged down and then up to the next radar. There I needed to catch my breath a bit but that I could do while jogging down too. At Quarry Gap I went straight up to Mt. Butler. It has been a while since the last time I climbed Butler from this side … Up at the top I took short drink break and then quickly jogged back down to Quarry Gap and back up to Mt. Parker.

By now I was starting to feel my legs a bit so this second ascent to Parker was a mix of running and power hiking. At the top I turned around and ran down all the way back to Quarry Bay.

Overall solid midweek training run, happy with how it went.

Link to Strava here

UTMB Training No 8 – Tuesday night road

This was a run to unknown. After the weekend runs I had some pain in the hip area although by Monday evening it seemed the origin of the pain is not the hip but the lower back. I felt much better by the time I was heading out for this run though. The weather was surprisingly cool for this time of year – much cooler than week ago.

I started slowly but after first few hundred meters I decided to push a bit till the end of the first uphill. When I saw time 6:19 at the top of hill after 1km it was pretty poor return on the effort. As usual I hoped to stretch my legs and go faster (sub 5min pace) on the following downhill bit. However a weird feeling in the left calf changed my mind. I took it easier making sure I don not end up with some stupid injury. So I basically just let the gravity to carry me forward for the time being. That weird feeling disappeared on the next uphill but I still took the following downhill easy to prevent some mishap…

After that all went fine for the reminder of the Tai Hang Road section. I was OK to push reasonably fast on Bowen Road. I consider any run under 1 hours as a speedy run. But given the circumstances, the calf management 1:02.40 was still OK. About 5 mins faster than last week with much less effort – although I am sure that the weather played big part in pace difference. If I keep around this pace for the rest of the summer training especially on the hotter days I will be pretty satisfied.

Link to Strava here.

UTMB Training No 7 – Recovery jog

I still felt keen to go for a run on Sunday morning following the struggle on the Twins – that was a good sign. I planned an easy jog on my usual Cecil’s Ride and Hong Pak Country Trail as a recovery run.

It was easy 5km out and then back so 10km together. Summer is obviously here to stay. During winter I don’t even realize that bits of the route are uphill. Now I am back in the conditions when I need to hike bits of the route. It was slow but it felt good. Reminder to myself – start picking routes with streams and water pipes. Head needs cooling down in this weather.

Link to Strava here.