Sunday, February 27, 2011

Feb20 - Hong Kong Marathon 2011

Being a marathon tourist runner is actually quite fun. All you have to do is pack your shoes, with enough clothing, book your flight ticket in advance, then you're on your way. It's even better if you have friends at the said country, that way you'll really save also, and advantage point is the company.

KS & I arrived on Friday morning whilst Poong & Bee the night before. We made our way to Victoria Park via Tin Hau MTR station for our race collection pack. The temperature was around 13C which was just slightly chilly for our tropical climate bodies.

Not much of a queue there which was great. The locals had already collected their packs the week before and the foreign runners collection had started from Thurs onwards. Too bad no expo. 
The Full Marathon was split between Challenge, Run 1 & Run 2. Each category is a wave start to prevent everyone from cramming into the highways. Challenge - Sub4hrs timing, Run 1 - Sub5hrs and Run 2 - Sub6hrs. Cutoff time for the marathon was Sub6hrs. Otherwise its up the van you go.
Guess who??
Bee, KS & myself - FM Run1, Poong - FM Challenge & Ray - 21km
Our goodie bag consist of a participant drifit shirt, Hong Kong pewter souvenir, pamplets & our bibs.
On Friday night, we met up at SOHO area for our last carbo loading session. The very last carboloading meal which you have to take before a run is lunch, the day before the run. As even if you stuff yourself the night before the big race, you food wouldn't digest fast enuff. You might overstuff yourself and get sick instead.

As the race starts at Tsim Sha Tsui, and Ray's place (where we were bunking) was at Sheung Wan, we decided to book a room at TST to save time. Our original plan was at the USA Hostel but 2days before our departure to HK, I received an email from them stating of a burst pipe and all room bookings had to be cancelled. Panic hit!! Thankfully I found the Lee Garden Guest House which was also a walk away but at a slightly higher price.
Secure entrance with old fashion lifts

The reception at the hostel was busy but nice people. Spoke perfect English. We got a small twin-bedroom for HKD500. Some of u might think that's pretty steep but its the night before the race. Comfort counts.  
The 2 bed feet faces each other, with the flat screen tv against the wall. Heavy thick comforter to protect us against the cold. Air-conditioning was required though. Wasn't sure if it's a double usage aircon : heat & cooling system. Toilet & shower was small but the hot water was glorious.
Disadvantage to the room was, KS legs were much longer than the bed, so he said he got woken up by my kicking (which was what I was trying to avoid with the twin bed) and our room was located next to the main door. So each time someone comes into the area, there's a long bang. So note to self. Phew!!
Race morning : We dropped off our bags at the designated area. Very organised as categories are with respective luggage trucks. So I got a number 41 truck, that's where my bag goes and this is also labelled on your bib in case you forget. KS wasn't happy at first coz we had to use their bags but I guess it was a good idea as well because it was a wet morning, and their bags prevented our stuffs from getting wet.
Malaysian runners
Crossing the starting line
I wore a raincoat in the start to keep myself warmed. It rained abit for about 2km out. It was a pretty funny situation getting out of the city. Because of the cold, runners have trouble sweating. Ok, let's put it this way. When you sweat alot, you drink alot of hydrate. But no matter how much you workout, you still have to hydrate, and if you don't sweat, where does the water go? You imagine the loos, the bushes along the way out full with guys "standing" against it.
Supporters out to cheer on us. I actually teared at this part
The 1st bridge was the Stonecutters Bridge. It might look scary at first coz it looks really long, but then all bridges are long, until you get on it, and not look back.
Water station was equiped with water & sports energy drink. The energy drink was heaven. It had a tingling sensation somewhat bubbly feeling which clears the throat.
Running towards the Nam Wan tunnel. I had never liked tunnel as it is usually hot & stuffy. But this is winter, so all is good here.
Recognise these marathon ladies' back? : Yee Hua & Yen Erl
Crossing the Tsing Ma bridge was coooollld. The wind from the ocean was strong. My cheeks and nose was cold. Thankfully I had my gloves with me to keep my fingers warm. My visor helped with my focus, as they were some parts I would just pull it down, and ignore everything else but the road and my feet.  

Tsing Ma bridge was the 1st U-turn point for the marathoners, then we would head towards the Ting Kau bridge for our last before heading back to Hong Kong city. KS had adviced me before not to push on the 1st 21km as this is where we'll cover most of the big bridges. I felt good with my pace of 10km = 1hr 4mins & 21km = 2hrs 5min.
Slightly before the Cheung Tsing Tunnel, we were joined with the 21km runners. Dreaded!!! So many people to zigzag around. Getting tired just saying "excuse me" every so often. And mentally, when you see a whole bunch walking, you'll be tempted to.
Seeing high rises like this means you're heading back to the traffic : vehicles & humans. still going strong at the 30km mark at 3hrs 2mins. I believe in myself. Trying to maintain a good ~1hr for each 10km. My PB was 4hrs 32mins at Taroko Gorge in Taipei. I'm aiming for a sub4.30hrs. I believe I can.
The final longest tunnel was the Western Harbour Tunnel. The final 12km hits the marathoners here. If any 21km runners were dare to scold me for zigzagging my way thru, I'll just had to say "Hello, I've just done 30km, and heading to the finish line. How about u?" Yes, I think weird things when I'm in a mental state.At the end of the tunnel, I was glad to be out. I was starting to feel warm underneath my compression top.
Oh, a funny scenario. Remember the peeing theory. Well, I encountered it as well. After drinking so frequently, I was tempted for the loo as well, but not wanting to risk my time. I was chanting "sweat, sweat, sweat" underneath my breath. Well, it helped. hahahha
Wasn't looking at the camera coz I had to look where I was going
 More supporters this time

The final 5km was quite torturous. Since we had went thru incline bridges, the city is filled with tunnels and at really really steep inclines at the end of it. I just pulled down my visor, lean my body posture slightly forward, lifted my legs & just ran up it. Slowly but surely, you'll still make it up in 1 piece.
The final 2km thru the city roads was quite long eventhough the profile shown quite short. I guess coz I was distracted by the sights. The shops, the noise, the people. Even a sign that states "Please queue here to cross road". Hey, why don't we have this in Malaysia.
With wonders, I made the finished line at 4hrs 18mins 7secs. My new PB!!! Shaved off about 12-14mins from my previous time.
Victoria Park was really huge with multiply basketball courts, so they were divided for half and full marathons luggage collection. This was a swift. Quickly got my bag & warm myself with my jacket.
It was wonderful to see my friends there to support us in this race. They said they were woken up at 830am when the 1st runner came back, with police escort. As for our chip refund, just drop it into one of these boxes located around the area, and it'll be refunded back to your credit card. I hope....
I didn't quite get a good picture of the finish line as I was running towards it as I was too surprise/joyous/happy etc.
KS didn't get his PB here as he judged it as his long run instead *showoff :p*
As for all the other runners, I think we're about to change our schedule from an annual KL, Penang & Singapore Marathon to an annual Hong Kong Marathon instead.
Final goodie bag, the tasty energy drink, salonplus and a snack bar.
Ray said the medal design is the same every year except the date printed on it. 
Too bad we were provided a finisher shirt. It would be great to show that off. I think I might look for a stamping service & print "42.195km FINISHER" hahhaha....kiasu
All in all, I would say this was a good run. I might definitely come back for more...that is until I find another cold country to conquer as well


Kevin Siah said...

Come to Perth lah, also winter time, mid June. No tunnels. Bridges all short short one.

Congrats on your PB though! Seem like a great race to run!

michlooi said...

well done. Your marathon improve a lot. :D

cRAzYtoMatOmaN-D said...

wah...u could run & take pix at the same time...hebat la!

bridge looked like penang bridge...hahaha...

i had to keep reminding myself that it's HK so don't expect to see green green grass or trees when looking at your pix...

dannie chOOng said...

so u were there huh ??? anyway, it was nice of u to say HI to me & Carrie along the route though I was not really sure that was u...

dannie chOOng said...

so, that was u lah !!! anyway, THANKS was saying hi along the running route though i was not too sure if that was u in the beginning. i blame it on your super bright sunglasses...

Jenn Jenn said...

aiyoh Dannie. U still got the wrong person. Wah didn't wear sunnies that day lah. Already so dark. No worries lah. Too many ppl there anyway