I had this plan not to sign up for any race until after I am done with UTMB. That would in effect mean there would be no races after UTMB for me till end of 2016. And that was not a bad idea. It was actually a good plan. So I skipped Moontrekker, OTW, TNF. But when the registrations opened for LT70 back in April I could not resist. I signed up leaving the decision “to run or not to run” till later.
My post UTMB recovery was going slow. I took quite solid break in September and come October I was back in training.
The training was strange. I felt great one day and totally empty another. I enjoyed being on the hills but I could feel that I am definitely far from being ready for another race. Still I decided to give it a try and see how I feel on the day. If nothing else it would be a good assessment of my current condition.
The day was hot as it always is on LT70 day. If I was going to get anywhere I knew I must take it easy at the beginning.
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.
This is a special race to me. Back in 2013 LT70 was my first venture into ultra distances. I struggled in the heat last year and I was as close to DNF is one possibly can get without actually pulling out. And this year I signed up again. For fun. This is a happy race. And testing myself over 70km three weeks ahead of OTW sounded like a good plan.
I approached this race as a training race. No special preparation, just a part of training for my upcoming four 100K races. I set myself no specific target. I definitely wanted to finish. Anything sub 13 hours would be fine, getting sub 12 hours would be excellent.
Two years the 26km version of this Lantau race was my first proper trail race. This time last year I shocked myself and while doing my first 50km race I won my first trail running trophy. So me and this race we do have some history. And the history was to continue in 2014.
The 2014 edition however came with a tiny change – a brand new course. I was a bit disappointed as I liked the old route – the combo of three hills and the long speedy Chi Ma Wan loop. But old route or new route I was determined to go for it. Not without some recce runs though.
From the race map I guessed that part of the race would follow LT70 route. I only had 2 Saturdays to spare so I decided to recce the beginning and the end hoping that the middle part will not throw in any nasty surprise. After my 2 recce runs I knew that this would be one of the toughest races Hong Kong has to offer… My plan was simple – start easy to save the legs and the energy for the last 20km.
I am focusing only on handful of races this racing season and I have been looking forward to this one for weeks. A year ago this was my first foray into the ultra territory. This year my plan was to a) not to get lost like last year and b) improve my time.
Before race start
I set myself what I thought was a realistic target – sub 12hours finish. I prepared a simple table with splits from last year to help me to keep track of my relative pace. The idea was to finish the first 2 stages around the same time as last year and then pick up the pace on stages 3 and 4.
My original goals for the 2013-14 racing season was to finally do a full road marathon race and to complete my first 50km+ ultra on trails. But during the summer I signed up for the HK100 – the original solo Hong Kong 100km and when the LT70 race (70km and about 4000m of accumulated elevation gain) was announced it sounded like a good training and endurance test for my main event of the season. After considering all pros and cons I decided to go for it. I signed up. This was to be 30km longer than my previous longest race and about 26km more than the longest trail run I ever did.
LT70 route sketch
I worked on my pace during 40km test runs on Hong Kong Island and being familiar with the first 25km of Lantau Trail I felt pretty confident that I should be OK for at least the first 2 stages. Beyond that I had no prior knowledge of the route and no idea how my body is going to handle the distance.