Running a bit hard and breathing deeply. It reminds me of the days in HongKong. It should not be only me, but also the others think back the time we spent.
We took part in "Oxfam Trailwalker HongKong" held from 18th to 20th of Nov. We, a team of 4 run (or walk) through Maclehoce trail which mostly covers our 100 km race course. The trail is the longest trail in HongKong among 4 major trails.
The first 10km is road, not trail. It is very comfortable to run watching sea on our right side and big dam on our left side. A cool bleeze makes us relaxed and keep going on our pace. The race has just started.
After LongKe, we hit concrete trails, upstairs,downstairs and sometimes sandy beach. We enjoy running, like "This is it! HongKong!"
After running such a hard trail, we arrived at CP2 which is our first contact with our support crew. It is about 25km length from the start. I felt it shorter than I thoght, so still mentally good. But we would know that we already had damage from this humidity and heat.
Back to the course, trail is not concrete but well paved hard trail. It will be slippery if it rains. There are many supporters on the course. They said to us "Keep going!""Kayo Kayo(加油)" and "Gambatte!" We are hornord to get those messages from a lot pf people.
(Now thinking back after the race, we had massive heat damage especially between CP2 and 3.)
So, the key to finish this race successfully was how well we accept and keep going in this hot and humid condition. Now Japanese season is going into winter from autumn. It was hard for us to be adapted. We came a day before the race and had much cold air condition in our hotel. (It sounds excuse though...) Here in HongKong, it is same as japanese rainy season (before summer.) We cannot stop sweating!
Aoki-san got cramp on both of his legs when he gave a way to other runners. Amir captain looks a bit of tired because he ran 75km race in Japan 5 days before. I was going to have cramp on the inside of my both knees.
At CP3 we met Kawata-san(support leader) again, and he advised us to get hydrated and electrolyte well.
However, when we go relentless up and down trails after CP3, Shimmyo-san fall gradually behind three of us. We had no choce to leave him here(we never want to do it.) It didn't matter to take slow pace or wait until he catch up. His face was flushed and he looked so hard to breathe.
Then he said "I am going to drop out at next CP."
No one wants to hear it, no one wants to say that phrase ofcourse. He took that decision for our team. We don't know when he recover or if he can recover or not. He didn't gamble.(It is ok to keep going with three members in the team.)
He ran as fast as possible nevertherless he chose to drop out. I saw his braveness here. We promised to meet again at the goal. He was ok enough to walk himself although he lay down on a ground.
To the next CP which is 15km away from here, we were going down a road.
Catching up teams we were passed by. The heat and humidity are still high. We took off our team shirt and trailpack directly on our back. Half naked! Amir-san enjoy playing with monkies. He loves to see monkey got angry.
At the entrance up to Beaconhill, some other japanese supporters were on the road. They gave us such a helpful stuff ;icepack, muscat and coke! Much appreciated.
Apparently, japanese teams have a hard time with this hot conditions every year, because it is becoming winter in japan as I said above.
When we had the rest of the up-road to CP6 in front, Kawata-san came down to us. Amir-san running good. I wonder why he has such a power in his small body. He raced 75km just 5days ago. Amazing! Aoki-san looked hard as I am but he covers with his experience to get over it. I was struggling to run "road" which I don't really like. I prefer trails all the time.
Arrived at CP6, onigiri (riceball) is served. I felt hungry to keep going, so I had lots of them then we got a headlight for dark night and we left.
We didn't really talk how we run this race before the start. But we knew a point where we should boost to go. That is "NOW," the way up to Tai Mo Shan because we only have down way after this uphill.
Hiking up stairs, caught them up again, it seemed no problem but me...
I felt so hot and had stomach failure. The pace was too fast for me after eating a real food. I couldn't stand for it. Told them to stop here and got my finger into my mouth and vomitted on purpose. (Sorry for teams behind...) I felt a bit better.
This uphill was way longer than I thought. I couldn't speed. Amir-san ahead of me takes our lead and Aoki-san push me up behind. I have been thinking that I was going to lead them up in this part from CP6 to CP8 because I had no damage from any races. They must be tired. I am disappointed with myself. However, no choice to quit in my mind and "our" mind.
Slow pace, but going forward step by step. Finished the uphill, the rest is all the way down to CP8. Unfortunately, I got another problem. Every time I breathe, my chest hurts. I have experienced this symptom before. When it happened, I dropped out all races. I don't know how to get over. Just keep going. Feeling sorry to Amir-san and Aok-isan.
At CP8 udon noodle was waiting for us. I didn't feel like eating anything until CP8. Somehow I wanted to have the udon. Dashi soup gave me energy to go.
Promised to meet again with our crew at goal, we got back to the course, last 20km.
I don't know why it happened. My stomach failure and chest pain healed. Miracle! Lucky!! I was very glad to run again anyway. Since it is mostly flat trail and road, we speed again. Amir-san is too fast to follow.
"Take it slow." said Aoki-san.
I fell off by kicking a tree root. It was impressive moment for me though it was usual thing for him.
"This is it. I have my guts." said Amir-san.
At that time I coudn't beat him I thought, although we were teammates.
Running in the dark with silence. Nothing but sound of breathing. Such a precious moment.
We hit a little park and checked direction to the goal. The lights up road and signs 700m, 200m can be seen. Finally goal gate and our crew there! We hold hands tightly each other, then we crossed a finish line by14:48.
Very pleased to be here and honored to run with such a great teammates including support crew ofcourse!
THANK YOU ALL!
Team HOKA ONEONE JAPAN