The organizers did not hide behind "soft wording" in describing the course of the China Coast Half Marathon/Marathon, a great AIMS certified race that has 25 years of history.
The course run on the hills around the high island recervoir in Sai Kung and basically you run with the sea always on one side and the recervoir at the other. In front of you, an endless succession of hills....
I joined the Half Marathon, because I was very curious to see this famous course, since I have never been there even for a hike or a stroll.
For those interested, a more detailed MAP is on run.com.
3 races in 20 days, so I was not sure what to expect in terms of performance.
The starting list of the Half Marathon was quite good, with 5 out of the 10 top finishers of HK Half Marathon Championship of 2 weeks ago, therefore earning a good position at the end was far from granted.
Here we go with the first long climb, a good uphill of over 1km...
After 2-3km I felt that was going to be a good day: the legs were incredibly fresh and the HR was barely around 170bpm, more like a marathon effort. I felt the same sensation of power and freshness as 3 weeks ago in the 30k race.
In the HM of 2 weeks ago, I started already half beaten up and tired, all the race was a struggle.
Said so, I can say that I had my race under control: the first runner was for sure too superior to my level for targeting the 1st place, but I did not want to miss at least the 2nd place.
After 5/7km quite easy, I increased the effort to reach at least 175bpm, so I did leave behind some runners.
At the 10k mark, I was still very easy and HR still around 175, so it was time to increase again the effort, push on a long hill around the 13km and drop all the remaining runners to gain the 2nd position. From that on, I went full throttle with HR at 180 and open a good gap.
The first was not very far but his 10k time is 1 minute less than myself, so I do not think that I had a chance for the victory anyway. He is a better runner, that's all.
Close in 2nd Overall in 1h16'14", that is really an outstanding time due to the severity of the course.
18'42" = 3'44" pace (avg HR 170
17'49" = 3'33" pace (avg HR 176)
18'30" = 3'42" pace (avg HR 176)
21'12" (6,1k) = 3'28" pace (avg HR 180)
Average HR during the whole race was 175bpm.
2 weeks ago, in the last HM, I hit a 181bpm in average, so the difference in freshness and recovery shows up also in the HR data.
Overall very good feeling during all race.
Incredibly, the ache at the knee cap disappeared during and after the race (even now 24 hours later), so it was one of those strange cases (that I met sometimes in my running life), where a strong effort on an aching area, solves the issue, rather than weeks of icing and Voltaren ...
the experience of 3 races in so short time is therefore completed and I feel incredibly good. Probably the pain in the calves and knee in the past weeks helped me to limit the effort in training and save the good energy for the race days. Now a period of rest, to prepare for the final of the season. But we will discuss this plan next time.