So tomorrow I run the first longer race on the trail. The MSIG 24KM on Hong Kong Island. I have got to say that I am nervous. Nervous for lots of different reasons. But I am also excited. This marks a step in the right direction.
Reasons to be nervous.
1. No Reece
I had completely forgotten about this race until about two weeks ago. My sight was firmly fixed upon the Lantau 70km which is next Saturday. This race came up on me suddenly and I haven’t done a recce. This is an issue. I like to know where I am running. I like to have control in the fact that I know the route. That I know where the hills are and where the flats are. I like to know that I am not going to be climbing through shale and over snow crested mountains. I think, and hope, that won’t be the case with this race. But it would be nice to know for sure.
2. Longest Trail Race. So far.
So far in my illustrious trail career, I have raced once; The Lantau Vertical race. A 7km race along Shek Pik reservoir to Ngong Ping an then up the hellish steps to the top of Lantau Peak. This was much shorter but with a serious amount of vertical. But this race is three times longer. Don’t get me wrong, I have trained and ran this far. But not under a race condition. The last time I did a race anything like this was in 2010; The Royal Parks Half Marathon. A race on road. This is on trail.
3. The Shadow of Lantau 70KM Looms
In a six days time, I will be completing my first ever Ultra. A 70km monster around the Lantau Trail. I am nervous, not because of this race, but in case of injury, in case the nutrition plan (one that I am trying out) is not going to work, in case my shoes aren’t right, in case I burn out. I really want, in fact, need to finish the Lantau 70km. This is the confidence boost that I want to push me harder, make me mentally stronger, and basically catapult me further into the psyche of doing these Ultra races.
Reasons to be excited.
1. This is my first long trail race.
I can’t wait. Seriously. I know this route is fast and there is a lot of downhills, something that I am comfortable with. Something that I have tried and feel the most comfortable during the training sessions planned by Andy. I know I can do this. I know that I can run this. This is just a step towards the ultimate goal of 100 miles.
2. My kit works.
Everything about my kit, I have tried out many times. I know the trainers are the best for the downhills, I know the top and shorts won’t chafe, I know the bag fits, I know the amount of water will be just right, I know the watch works and has the map uploaded. I just know it works. Most of all, I like it. I like the shoes, the fit and feel good. They also give me confidence. The Hoka’s don’t fill me with confidence – I have rolled my ankle just too many times in them. As for the Justin’s butter… I ain’t sharing.
3. The Shadow of Lantau 70KM Looms
I know that in a week, I will be towards the end of the longest race I have ever ran. I know that in a week, I will have powered over Sunset and Lantau peak, I will have ran to Tai O. I will have ran through the final 40km knowing that I can do it. Mentally I am prepared for next week. I am ready for Lantau and the pain I will be in. I am ready for the ups and the downs – both physically and mentally.. and geographically. I am ready for the challenges. Physically – I know I will be pushing my body to the limit. I haven’t had months of training to rely on. I have had quality training though and I feel this is more important.
4. Winner’s Lunch
As is the age old tradition in the Carr family, the victor of the race gets to pick the lunch they get after. It isn’t about winning, it isn’t about coming second, it is about doing your best, pushing hard and completing a race. I cannot wait.