Saturday, October 22, 2011
I ran this race last year; and my only goal was to beat my time and of course beat the morning sun. I decide to wear my old solomon trail running shoes and notice severe wear and tear on the outer edges of the sole. This race is not for those who are interested in running with VFF. It is a very rocky course and I'm glad I didn't think twice in wearing them.
I actually don't know how some of the runners can run without any hydration pack. Although the air was slightly cool; the humidity appeared to be quite high. This year I decided to start at the race line because the gate is quite small. After sprinting out of the court; I didn't feel comfortable being in front since I actually forgot the way to the trails. No worries because there was a pack behind me upping the pace. Once we headed into the trails, the fast group sprinted off into darkness. I felt happy with my time so far, but I'm sure I went faster out than I wanted. The next 14km is total darkness and undulating with rocky sections more on the western side of the peninsula. Around 9km into the race, my arch was giving me some pain in my right foot and I also notice that a pool of sweat was splashing around inside my solomon gortex shoes. This was my first indication that I should take a salt tablet. Luckily, I had 3 tablets. I drank all of my water by the time we arrived at CP1 16km later.
After a water refill, the 200m ascent climb would start to the next Checkpoint. I had plenty of water at this point so there was no reason to stop, but unfortunately the time I gained by passing it was lost with a wrong turn, I lost 3 minutes only to realize that I had the compass on my garmin watch showing me last years route.
I started to get in a rhythm again with 2 others quickly walking up the hills and jogging the descents for 5km. We ended all together at CP3 which is near Tung Chung Rd. There is a steep paved road downhill connecting back to a trail which passes a monastery and then some long inclined paved path to Ngong Ping entrance connecting us to the based of Lantau Peak trail.
Every time I climb this peak, it never appears to be easy. Again 700m ascent with little downhill is never a walk in the park. I was able to pass just a couple people this year only to get passed by a different others. Finally reaching the 'summit', Vince Natari was there to greet all the Moontrekkers with camera in hand.
Starting the climb down from the peak, my legs spasmed forcing me to dead stop and take a stretch. I didn't have any salt at this point. Another runner passed me but I was not going to get left behind and my time at this point was 25 minutes faster than last. Eventually after the descent became easier on my legs, I was able to keep a decent pace and pass the runner again. As I knew I was close to Tung Chung Rd and very close to finishing. I heard someone behind me making giant leaps down the stone path. I gave it one more push, turned the corner and barely beat him as I was forced into the road.
This year my legs are much stronger. I haven't done a lot of trail running, so I actually feel very happy with my time. I shaved off 37 minutes from the previous year. My official time was 5:45 minutes.