Last year I failed at this one. I managed to complete the first day 50 miler but a shin injury meant DNS the next day. So there was some unfinished business… This year I was determined to finish. I was very well aware that I am nowhere near this sort of race ready. Completing this event and doing so without any injury was the only goal. Plan was to take it rather easy on the first day to keep the legs as fresh as possible for the second. I guess I was not the only one coming up with this strategy.
Day 2 on Tai To Yan – Photo by @the.drone.runner
The weather at the start (midnight between Fri and Sat) was rather fine although it was drizzling a bit. I started in relaxed comfortable pace. It did not take too long before the field spread out and found myself running on my own. This remained the case for most of the 50 mile race. Here and there I caught someone ahead or someone passed me but I had a pretty lonely day overall .
I don’t like the Twins at and that was one of the reasons I decide to tackle them this Saturday as my longish hillish run. Plan was to go over Siu Ma Shan and Jardines Lookout to Parkview, then Violet, Twins and back to Parkview. After that to run back either over Jardines and Siu Ma Shan or around on the contour trail or combination of both.
The weather was funny – overcast, bit windy, humid. And it was hot but the thanks to the wind the heat was not that obvious.
I jogged up easy to the Cecil’s Ride and without too much effort climbed over Siu Ma Shan. Jardines felt fine too and soon I was at Parkview feeling pretty well actually. I bumped into Santosh there – exchanged few words and went on towards Violet Hill.
I felt quite well, I reached the top quickly and then enjoyed the windy run down towards the catchwater. I was still feeling great climbing the first Twin but perhaps two thirds up I began to struggle. My momentum kind of carried me to the top but the second Twin was no fun at all. All of a sudden I felt so exhausted … I started to think that I may not make the return trip and would catch a bus or taxi back from the Stanley side…
At the end I had enough mental strength to turn around climb the Twins again but it felt worse than climbing Tai Mo Shan during HK100. I suspected the sneaky heat was the main reason of my struggle. I decided to go slowly, don’t care about the pace, just get it done and make it at least to Parkview.
Violet Hill felt a bit better but I had to stop at Parkview. I went to supermarket there to get some cold drinks but those helped me just to jog down to Wong Nai Chung Gap to the bus stop. Further run was out of the question.
So disappointing day but good reminder to myself that summer is here…
Strava link here
I planned 3-4 hour long reasonably hilly slow trail run. Martijn was planning something similar so we decided to meet in Yau Tong and run on the Wilson trail.
I still felt my legs from Thursday run – not a big surprise after the first post-break run. To make things more interesting it was really hot and humid, first 30C+ run in months …
Our pace was reasonably mild although I was surprised to see some PRs post run on Strava… I kept up with Martijn most of the time until the No Name hill climb. On the downhills he usually opened a small gap – I was a bit cautious – running safely was the rule for this first trail run in weeks.
On the No Name Hill Martijn pulled away. To keep up would mean to push a lot for me. I was already struggling with the heat a bit. I switched gears and kept slower steady pace – still an effort but nothing too exhausting. Once on the road we ran down to Shatin Pass in easy pace. From there Martijn continued to Tai Po Road on Mac, I jogged down to Wong Tai Sin MTR.
Overall nice 18km run with no risks to slowly ease into the training.
Link to Strava here.
Seeing everybody making some New Year resolutions around January 1 I decided to set myself a bit of a challenge too – to do all four 100K races in Hong Kong in 2015. Well with new races popping up here and there they may now be more than four but I went for the original four – HK100, Translantau100, OTW and TNF100. It was not all smooth ride thanks to a silly injury but far from race fit I survived and completed both the early year races – HK100 and Translantau. A month long almost complete rest followed before I went full on into training for TDS. TDS was an amazing experience. But resuming training after that demanding race was not easy. The recovery took some time. But by the time of Trailwalker (after “practice” Moontrekker and LT70 races) I was feeling pretty good to go. Trailwalker went very well for me. Three out four were in the bag. The TNF however was always going to be the trickiest one.
I have never tried to attempt two 100km races within 3 weeks only. Also unlike the other three races I was not completely familiar with the TNF route. I knew most of it but not all. I never trained specially for this race. And of course – this race is a tough one…
I could not make up my mind what run to do on Saturday but repeat of last week’s Mac action was one of the options. Then two things happened. First I failed to wake up early enough. Then I looked out of the window and I saw the ominous polluted haze. For first time in months I seriously contemplated to skip Saturday training. But with TDS getting closer and closer I managed to drag my butt out of the house at the end.
Due to late wake up I decided not to waste too much tie travelling. I went for Wilson 3-4 and then bit of Mac and see if I have any energy and willpower left to go up to Lion Rock (haven’t been up there in years).
The start was not too bad. It was seriously hot but taking the initial climb easy helped things. After few minutes only away from city I had this view:
where the harbour ends
My original idea was to do Needle Hill, Grassy Hill, Tai Mo Shan, re-fuel at the kiosk and then go back the same way. Then I got Vic on board and we decided to do Needle and Grassy Hills and then decide what route to take next.
For a change it was nice to start the Needle Hill climb with fresh legs. While it was hot it did not feel too bad. Needle Hill was easy. The Grassy Hill climb did not feel bad either. I had no difficulties at all. I felt like I made it to Leadmine Pass without too much effort.
After short discussion we decided that instead of Tai Mo Shan we would take Wilson Trail – Cloudy Hill and Pat Sin Leng. I survived those last week and it looked like doable challenge even with some miles and climbs in the legs already.
We ran down the trail to the outskirts of Tai Po. We made quick pit stop in a restaurant – Vic for food, me for some cold drinks only. Once refilled and cooled down we set off towards Cloudy Hill. The pit stop re-energized me. But the heat was full on by now. I knew that the immediate future isn’t going to pretty.
Saturday was time for yet another insanity – 32km or so following the route of KOTH Tai Po race in northern part of New Territories. It was less than 44km of HK Trail last Saturday but on much tougher and more exposed route. Never before I even dared to attempt the Pat Sin Leng range on a hot day like this. This time though I was determined to finish. My plan was to take the initial climbs easy and to make sure I always have something to splash over my head to keep cool. I knew there are some streams along the way. But I needed to make sure I have water when I need it not when it appears. So on top of 3 liters of drinking fluids I also carried with me 2 liters of stream water for head showers. Proper 5kg ballast. But that will be roughly the weight of the gear I have to carry with me on the TDS race anyway.
Eleven of us set off from Tai Wo station towards Cloudy Hill. I saw no point pushing up fast on the first climb only to stay up there on the sun waiting for the others. I decided to be one of the others and climbed up at the very back of queue. I missed most of the photo opps at the top as a result but at the same time I was still feeling totally fresh after the first climb of the day.
As usual during my training season it is back to back runs of Saturday and Sunday. It was a bit cooler and overcast compared to the brutal Saturday. I packed 2 half a liter bottles – one with noon and soft bottle with plain water. Plan was to take the usual flattish route on Cecil’s towards (and beyond) Mt.Parker Rd and then back. I wanted at least 11km to complete 300km in May and if I felt like doing more I would.
I was not pushing too much but I was not running too slow either, fast jog. I cooled down at my usual pipe near before the Mt. Parker Rd, crossed the road and followed on Hong Pak. I felt pretty fine so I decided to keep going on. Then I saw group of people with many unleashed dogs of all sizes around them. As usual in this situation I slowed down and started to walk in order not to overexcite the dogs.
The proper summer training does not start until the first insane Saturday summer run. Astronomically it is still spring but weather is summer style already. This week insanity was designed by Vince. Start from Yau Tong, follow Wilson Trail via No Name Hill all the way to Shatin Pass – pause for some noodles there and continue on Wilson to Shing Mun. There turn to MacLehose Trail for some Needle and Grassy Hill adventures followed by dash to Tai Po on Wilson Trail again. Estimated distance about 40km with about 2,500m elevation gain.