Tag Archives: Lantau

2016 LT70 – Finding out like DNF tastes after long long time

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.
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2016 Translantau100 – the final chapter of my Hong Kong grand slam attempt

My main target for this season was the Hong Kong grand slam. Many things have to go right complete it. The first major hurdle is to secure a spot at each of the four races. I had luck in my first ever OTW lottery, I was just about quick enough to fill up the applications for TNF and Translantau and I went for charity entry for HK100 in order not to miss out. One also has to keep fit for the whole season, avoid injuries, don’t get sick… And then as we found this year – we also need the weather on our side. Two out of four of these races were stopped early due to the weather this season. There also is the small matter of actually finishing all four races.

After OTW, TNF100 and HK100 the only race left to do was the Translantau100.

Thanks to AFCD the route was brand new making the time predictions a bit difficult. The route looked on paper easier than the old version. Easier but still hard. Based on few recce runs and knowledge of some of the sections I guessed that 18 hours should be possible. My main goal however was to finish and get the slam done. Anything else would be a bonus. The main instruction to the brain before the race was “don’t do anything stupid”.
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2015 LT70 – The last “short” race of my season

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.

LT70 2015 Finish

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2015 Moontrekker – Back to racing

Not knowing how long my recovery from TDS would take I played it safe. Same as last year I set the Moontrekker as my first race of Hong Kong running season. At one stage (during a struggle on a long training run about 3 weeks ahead of the race) I thought about skipping it as well. But at the end I decided to give it a go. My focus of this season are four 100km races in Hong Kong. Moontrekker is was to be one of my training races.

The weather was good, a bit cooler than a year ago. What was not too good was my position at the start. I totally forgot about the bottleneck at the playground exit. By the time I got out the gate the leaders of the pack were half way to China Bear probably.
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2015 Country Of Origin Run – The race that wasn’t (and my pre-TDS training self assessment)

This was a cool concept. Find two team mates holding the same passport as yourself, form a team and have race against other teams on some fun Lantau trails.

Concept was cool but finding 2 team mates with same passport was mission close to impossible for me. But not wanting to miss out on all the fun I explored some other options. And one of the self proclaimed race directors announced that teams coming from other planets of our solar system will be given wild card entries (suggesting for example Uranus) and I was all for it.

Still I had to find team mates. I managed to convince a guy called Vince that he also is from Uranus. He in turn recruited lady called Rachel and Team Uranus was born.
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2015 Translantau100 – Well that was quite a trip

A year ago I spent the night in Pak Mong and Ngong Ping check points helping with the Translantau timekeeping. It was a very interesting experience seeing the tired runners approaching the Ngong Ping CP in the early morning hours. Some fresh and eager to push on, some destroyed already with two thirds of the course still ahead. I guess it was then when the idea of signing up for this race was planted somewhere into my brain.

Translantau map and elevation profile - beast of a course

Translantau map and elevation profile – beast of a course

Then later in the year I signed up for the TDS (because CCC was not enough 🙂 ). And I thought that it might be good to end the winter season with a tough run – already as a part of preparation for the TDS. So I signed up with no goal other than to finish. I had no special race plan, I haven’t done any recce and I had no specific time target.

Then came new year and as I had a spot at both HK100 and Translantau100 I set myself the target to finish all four Hong Kong 100km races in 2015.
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2015 Valentine’s Day Race

The idea to do this race as a daddy and son team was born a year ago during this race. We were helping at the Chi Ma Wan checkpoint and seeing all sorts of couples having fun day out on trails we decided to join the fun a year on. And so we signed up as Team Awoo Boys.

I was a bit a afraid that I will spoil the fun thanks to my pre-HK100 injury. But while still not in a shape for any serious training I was relatively OK to go for some training hikes before this race. We did a recce of the course one weekend, cool Mt. Parker hike and bushwhack the other and some mellow hike to Stanley on the final weekend before the race.

Awoo Boys Training for LBC Valentine's Day Race

Awoo Boys Training for LBC Valentine’s Day Race

I thought that we would mostly hike it and add a bit of jog here and there depending how we feel. Based on our 14-20km practice hikes we set ourselves a sub-3hours goal.

Junior however had other ideas. First it was not easy to convince him that starting right at the front ahead of the fast runners is not a smart idea. Then once the race was on I had hard time slowing him down on the initial climb and the descent that followed. I kept shouting “slow down, you are too fast” and “keep your power for the climbs” as well as some trail running safety instructions concerning stealthily overtaking people that are 3-4 times his body mass. His Eagerness obviously was not too happy that we allowed so many people to pass us while I was showing no interest in passing other.

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2014 MSIG Lantau 50 – The brutal one

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.

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LT70 2014 – Tough day in the heat…

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

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.
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Moontrekker 2014 – New HK racing season begins

It was not easy to get back to training after UTMB CCC . It took me a week to go for a first jog and then another lazy week or so before I was both mentally and physically ready to push again. This all left me more less 2 weeks to train and 1 week to taper as a preparation for Moontrekker. And all this in the seemingly neverending hot and humid Hong Kong summer. I was really glad that my first race of Hong Kong racing season will be a night one with moon rather than sun dominating the sky.

The new finish point in Pui O meant that the race would be about 3km longer than last year. I was not really sure what target time should I set for myself on this new course. But recalling my 2013 crampfest I was sort of hoping to improve and finish the longer course somewhere close to my last year time on the shorter course. As the next few hours would show I was way too optimistic. I also hoped to score some points for the Team UCAN in my first race as a team member in the HK Trail Racing League.

Team UCAN 2014 Moontrekker

With Echo and Shane before the start

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