Monthly Archives: August 2016

UTMB Training No 55 – Recovery Sunday

After 8 plus hour baking on the sun in Saturday I had nice 10 hours long sleep. I was ready for some recovery slog.

Martin joined me for this one. It was yet another super hot day so we took it very easy – jog-walk up the road, then jog mixed with some walking on the exposed bits of Cecil’s. Then we walked up Mt. Parker Road to Quarry Gap. It was way too hot and did not have that much water with us so we turned around and jogged down to Quarry Bay and then on back home.

Nice and easy (but hot).

Link to Strava here.

UTMB Training No 54 – The last insane summer run – reverse HK Trail

I picked the whole HK Trail, solo, in the opposite direction as my last long summer run of this training season. This was to be more about the distance, time on the feet and mental power than the overall elevation gain. Although in the opposite direction Hong Kong trail goes from the sea level up the peak. The main reason I picked the opposite direction again was the tree cover and streams at the second half of the route. I also used my poles. HK Trail is not exactly trail one needs poles for but this was the last opportunity to train with poles.

I started much later than I planned – around 8:45am from Shek O. I jogged all the way to Big Way Bay simulating the flat road race start. The climb up was fine and once on the concrete path I was jogging again. I expected hot day out and slow pace as a result. But my intention was to run as much as possible on the runable sections. So I tried.

The contour trail towards Dragon’s Back was fine and so was Dragon’s Back except for a bit too crowded trail even in the early morning. I paused few times to enjoy the views.

The catchwater was not as bad as I expected. I was mixing jogging with walking trying preserve some energy for later on. It was getting really hot by now. There was no way I could push on the entire catchwater and survive the whole planned distance. So I ran most of the sections in the shadow and walked those exposed to the sun.

The heat was slowly getting to me so I was imagining the cold splash in the stream somewhere in the middle of the jungle path between Tai Tam Road and the reservoirs. I made the best of it when I got there, also put my Life Straw to use.

The cold splash helped and I was feeling quite well on the climb up towards Quarry Gap. The water pipe half way up helped again. I took a short break before Mt Butler climb cooling down properly again at the Quarry Gap restrooms.

I knew from the very beginning that the section 5 of HK Trail will be the critical one in this weather. Mt Butler went fine but the Jardine’s Lookout was really rough, same as few weeks ago. The heat was insane, no cloud cover at all. The only thing that kept me going was the vision of cold CocaCola in the supermarket on the other side of the hill… I was struggling but I was still faster than any of the hikers around so it was not all bad I supposed.

After the cold drinks and some food at Parkview I was ready for the second half. The exposed bits of Black’s Link were a bit tough but nowhere near as bad as the Jardine’s Lookout. My pace was slow but I made it to Wanchai Gap without too much trouble. Sections of the trail were bit scary with large chunks of trees still dangling down after the typhoon. But other than that it was now all about keeping the head down and placing one foot in front of another. The sun was getting lower so I did my best to jog all the sections that were not uphill.

The water pipe with 10km to was a great refreshment post before embarking on the short catchwater section and the final climb up to the Peak. I was feeling quite OK – the end was near and most of the route was now under canopy of trees.

Seeing the 007 trail marker was great – from there is only around 3 easy km to the end. I still paused at the playground for some water refill and jogged the rest of the way against the flow of sightseeing tourists.

Although I suffered big way on the Jardine’s Lookout I never really doubted I would complete this run. The route itself is not too difficult but the insane heat turned this into proper mental challenge – nice final bit of UTMB preparations.

Link to Strava here.

UTMB Training No 53 – Thursday Parker No 14

Second to last Thursday Parker run of this summer. It looked like I may enjoy rain on the way up. Instead all I had was high humidity thanks to disappearing into the cloud after the first kilometer up the hill.

It did not feel too hot though and running was quite easy all the way up to Quarry Gap. From there switched to fast walk mode. There was some typhoon debris earlier but the final 1.5 km to the radars were full of it – fallen trees (some already chopped up and cleared away from the road), fallen branches. It must have been pretty intense up there during the typhoon…

I made it to radar and added the usual dash to the second radar too. Then I jogged down to Quarry Gap and walked up Mt Butler. I felt quite OK so on the final part of the ascent I pushed a bit harder. After taking few photos of lovely large golden orb spider I ran back down the steps and to Quarry Bay.

This was a really enjoyable Thursday morning work out.

Link to Strava here.

UTMB Training No 52 – Tuesday road

The typhoon has passed and so the weather did not disturb my training plan. It was a bit cooler than the last 2 weeks but much more humid.

I noticed it right from the beginning. The legs felt much heavier than on the hotter but drier days. I had to run slower. The road conditions were fine on the first climb but on Tin Hau Temple Road it turned into obstacle course. The post typhoon debris was everywhere. I usually run full power down the road here. This time had to be a bit slower and careful to avoid all the fallen tree branches.

I settled into what on a day felt like fast pace (but significantly slower than the past 2 weeks). At one spot on Bowen Road the path was completely blocked by fallen tree – I had to climb over it. After that the road was mostly clear for the rest of run. Other than the heavy legs at the start and slower pace due to high humidity and messy surface it was a overall a good run.

Link to Strava here