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.

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