Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Standard Chartered Hong Kong 2012 – 10km

Date: 5 February 2012
Venue: Eastern Island Corridor, Hong Kong
Distance: 10km (Garmin-less)
Timing: 49:58 (Gun); 49:50 (Chip)
Pace: 4:59 min/km (Chip)
Result: 15th (Senior); 42nd (Women); 449th (Overall – FTW?!?!?! So many fast guy runners!) (results here)

Last year’s recap here.

Everything that could go wrong, went wrong…and worst. Let’s see

Uno: Was sicko all evening and night on Friday – pounding headache, hacking like nobody’s business (then again, whose business could it be except mine?!), every hacking producing a 10 times greater headache that I actually tried to keep this to a minimum, feverish. So what’s a damsel-in-distress gotta do? No, no knight in shining amour available. Took myself to bed early and zzz and zzz and zzz. For. Like. 13 hours. No. Alarm. And. Lots. Of. Prayers.

And a miracle happened! I kid you not! I woke up on Saturday feeling so much better – every symptom minus the hacking (much reduced, thank you very much) disappeared. In fact, I even managed a short and easy shake-out cross training on the elliptical. To be conservative, I kept myself indoors/rested as much as possible and napped.

Zwei: Garmin was already funky after Friday’s shake-out run (yes, shake out seems to the operative word around here. Just play along!) and completed jammed on me on Sunday morning. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Made. It. Functional. Re-setting? Nope, couldn’t even do it. It’s like how Windows hang on you on the PC.

Drei: Fumbled and obviously failed to click “start” on the el-cheapo replacement watch I had (this is the one I used to tell time…occasionally).

Hey, not everything was dreary. The event went well and I enjoyed it. Sure, a bit disappointed with the timing but given the half-dead Sue 48 hours previously and the route elevation, I should be glad to see a “4x:xx” instead of “5x:xx”. Yeah, I did toyed with that expectation.

The race started on HK island and the route was the stretch along the Eastern Island Corridor. It was a somewhat out-and-back. Somewhat because it starts at the highway and then turns around onto the other side of the road and finishing at Victoria Park. This was reminiscent of the Adidas King of the Road – including that last climb at km10! The weather at the start was around 16 degrees and anything less than our usual 28-33 degrees already works for us.

Crowded start and it took a bit more than the usual 500m before the crowds cleared. We started with 3-4 lanes and everyone was running at their pace but this sort of narrowed to one around km2.5 – probably because the runners need to head up the first ramp.

Got the first ramp out of the way and then the turnaround after km4 and the first of 2 hydration station (km4.2). There was a gentle downhill here. Feeling OK-ish, running comfortably. Like I said, the 13-hour sleep and temps helped. Tremendously. Or maybe the Gods were smiling on me.

Flattish route before the climb back to the start area. Second hydration station at km8.4 (Garmin-less I maybe but I listened to the instructions given at the start and read the Runner’s Guide. Hey, give me some credit. LOL!). And here’s the most epic FTW moment: a guy running slightly to the front right of me made a SUDDEN swerve to the left and cut across me to get to the hydration station. I was this close to a collision and so wanted to swear…OUT LOUD but I’m a good, honourable and God-fearing gal. That’s a blatant lie…I think I better cross it out lest I get strike by lightning later. That’s not EPIC yet. Because the hydration stations are long and spaced out on BOTH sides of the road. Now tell me, if this is not FTW?!?!?!?!

So I was mentally counting down the miles km. 1 more mile (1.6km) to go. Hang in there. Push it. Trying my darn hardest and then what do you see in front of you after a sharp turning at the km9 distance marker? An incline. A ramp. And a steep-ish one. Why, thank you…I so enjoy relieving the moments of glory from the Adidas run. Right, let’s just get this over and done with. Surprisingly, the legs worked. The lungs worked. Let me repeat the formula for conquering a 10km (for other distances, kindly speak to my colleagues at Pacemakers Malaysia): 13-hour sleep and temps.

a) As with last year, well-organized event. It would be hard pressed to find fault with any aspects of the event from race bib collection to the event itself to the post-run item.

b) Different start points and times for the HM and FM (on the mainland) and the wave runs elevated the typical congestion. The wave starts meant everyone around you was running faster or at or about your pace. Read, RUNNING, not taking a Sunday stroll or holding hands/making it a date (well, unless you’re in the later waves where everyone was probably doing the same thing).

c) Sufficient hydration stations at the start, along the route and end points.

d) Excellent traffic management post-run – signs and volunteers directing you to the relevant area (with/without bag check). I don’t usually do a bag check but I gathered it was well planned and organized – every runner is supposed to put all their items in colour coded provided bags and each bag is individually tagged. These bags are then stored according to the race category, colour code, row etc. To clear the finishing area, they handed out a swag with a banana, pear, isotonic and heat rub at the end which I think is great.

e) Adding to the collection of zodiac animals – design this year looks good.

f) I like the early start (5:30 am for me) because it meant I’ve the whole of Sunday to gallivant around town. No worries about transportation since the bus and train services were mounted early for the event.

g) Distance markers for every km although I only saw those for 2, 4, 6, 7, 8 and 9 – my fault since I probably was not paying attention.

h) Cheerleaders at the overhead bridge at km2-3 and the return on km6-7.

i) Road closure. Full road closure. Tell me again, why can’ the local authorities do this? This is in HK, one of the most vibrant, cosmopolitan and business city in the world. Enough said.

a) The narrow single lane at km2.5.

b) They didn’t have much announcements in English at the start; I was OK although my Cantonese is more akin to half-past-six. There wasn’t also much rallying – I like those at SCMS, AHM, Shape etc.

c) Not much of crowd support along the route probably due to the road closure and the early hour.

Photo log:

As seen in the subway

Race pack collection at Victoria Park

FM in CWB, just outside Sogo

And stolen from the official pics...i.e. I'm too cheap to pay for these

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