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Heaven Is Up, Hell Is On The Way

So my first ever trail race – The Lantau Vertical. A nice 7km with the last 2km or so being a vertical climb to the top of Lantau Peak.

I arrived in Tung Chung to get the bus to the Shek Pik reservoir starting line. I was proper nervous. This was a big thing for me. The first race in years. The first run on trails in Hong Kong. This was the starting point to where I will look back on. Arrived at Shek Pik after a long winding ride on the bus. Ended up meeting two of my teammates in the Hong Kong Trail Running League. Lovely guys and cant wait to run with them. Then got ready for the start. My nutrition has been spot on while training so I stuck to my guns and continued with the Generation UCAN. This stuff worked perfectly. No gels. No additional food. Great.

Then queued for the start.

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And off we went. The first 1km was busy and narrow. Lots of steps up which slowed everyone down for quite a while. After the steps, the first 5k was a lovely meandering run through single file trails. Views over the reservoir where we had just come from. Was just great. Found someone running at the exact pace I wanted so stuck right there. I knew that if I went off too hard then the steps at the end would be a killer. They were regardless. Got to the CP at Ngong Ping in around 38 minutes. I was happy with this. Grabbed a drink and some orange slices. Started running with a smile on my face. This felt great. Not overly fast but not slow either.

Then came the steps. A vertical climb with no respite. This killed me. It was hard, long and my thighs hated me. I pushed as hard as I could but tried to remain un-tense, if there is such a word. It took just over an hour to get to the top and finish in a time of 1:51. Not fast and not last. I was concerned I wouldn’t finish. I was worried that the training I have done wouldn’t help. It has. The improvements are massive. Considering little over two months ago I wasn’t even running.

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Photo Credits: Lantau Vertical Facebook, Me, and Lantau Vertical Facebook

What I learned:

1. Steps are the weakness. It goes without saying that I need to step up this part of my training. Pun intended. This is something that practice, practice and practice can only help.

2. My stamina is missing. I was fine on the flats, the mix between running and power walking was good. But I need to be able to run further. Since the race I did my first ever track night. This was a good work out to help this and my pace. I know I am more than capable of doing better.

3. I picked teh right shoes. I was debating for days or Hoka vs. Nike. In the end I went with the Nike Wildhorse. A great pair of light shoes. Not sure if they would be the right choice for the longer runs but we will see.

Next Steps

1. A coach. I have decided that I need to be accountable. I am not accountable to myself ever as I go “It’s cool, do it tomorrow.” So I am going to hunt one down. I don’t want to finish in 221. I want to finish in the top 50. That is the new goal for next years Lantau Vertical.

2. Track nights. Simple really.

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