Time flies and I haven't written anything about running since my last marathon in New York 2019. Here is my attempt to add more miles into the "Mile" part of this blog. I have no race to report for months because nearly all of my Spring races have been cancelled or postponed including my first 50km in Hong Kong (Flying Colours) and the Nagano City Marathon. Instead, I am happy to present this non-race report of an impromptu FUCOVID-19 Unofficial Paris Marathon with my friends Linna and Jaclyn yesterday.
Who Says You Need a Race To Do a Long Run To cut a long story short, the three of us have signed up as a team to run the 62km Starrun Round the Island (SRTI) race on 11 April. For obvious (and right) reasons the race had to be postponed. With no race events on the horizon, we decided to go for a long run anyway because we didn't need a race or any reason to train. We could just run for fun.
The Original Plan We started around 730am in Tamar Park in Admiralty and went in an eastward clockwise direction through Chai Wan, Dragon's Back, Tai Tam and towards Stanley and Repulse Bay, with a vague idea of doing 30 km or roughly half of the SRTI course. Below is a map the first 20km, when I accidentally pressed save instead of resume on my watch after a water stop.
Halfway Around the Hong Kong Island The weather was drizzly, with intermittent rain showers, dry spells and gusty wind at the top of Dragon's Back. The route was mostly road along the Hong Kong Island perimeter (my comfort zone) and a few trails along Hong Kong Trail Sections 7 and 6 in Dragon's Back and Tai Tam Country Park were a mix of enjoyable, challenging, slippery and beautiful. The views from Dragon's Back were stunning, but I didn't spend much time admiring them because the combination of strong winds and slick trails made me wobble. I wobbled because it was me being rubbish on trails. I would still recommend Dragon's Back highly. Overall it was unique way to experience the landscape and the scale of Hong Kong Island.
When a 30km Run Turned into a Marathon With Linna being Linna, she started floating the idea of a full marathon before we were 5k into our run. Besides, I know Linna has been training so well, she qualified for Boston Marathon last year and was scheduled to run Tokyo marathon, Paris marathon, and plenty of ultra distance races this year. I can hardly imagine how tough it must be to see these amazing races and PR opportunities slipping away. I didn't think either Jaclyn and I were particularly surprised about her suggestion. Yesterday was meant to be Paris Marathon and it felt appropriate to run the full 42km. When she mentioned going for a full marathon distance again, we had already done 20km and I felt the idea was getting real. I was quite apprehensive at first but I was so glad to have joined them on this crazy ride. Stretching the Last Miles The best part was to not think about it, like marathoners (or Ryan Hall?) say, just run the mile you are in. So bit by bit, we ran from Dragon's Back to Tai Tam Country Park (10km done), Tai Tam to Stanley (another 5km down), then Stanley to Repulse Bay (3.5km done) and soon we only had 2 km left to get to Deep Water Bay. The downpour started again as we reached Deep Water Bay and our 42km journey came to a perfect end.
Body vs Mind
I didn't even know why I was against or timid about the idea of a full marathon at first. Intellectually I knew my body could do it because that's what I had been training for the past months. As Linna said "what else have you got to do for the rest of the day?" Yes, she was right, I had nowhere else to go with the city in semi-lock down, I had all the time needed to recover from this run. And I even have plenty of time to write this!
Thank you Linna and Jaclyn. It was an awesome run and you are great company. Look forward to running the actual 62km race with you soon!
P.S. If you are a little bit curious about what has been happening in 2019-2020 running season in Hong Kong.. Here is a pretty good story at the SCMP.