SuperBob runs the Hong Kong half

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SuperboB
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SuperBob runs the Hong Kong half

Postby SuperboB » Sun Feb 05, 2012 9:41 pm

TL;DR (short) version
Ran strong. Heat and boredom were main issues. Finished 2:31. Had a great time!

Long Version
NYC wasn't far enough from home so I looked to another continent! :lol:

So I'm in Hong Kong visiting the in-laws for a month. We planned this trip a week after Chinese new year so that there would only be a week between arriving and racing. Unfortunately the 20000 half marathon and 13000 full marathon spots sold out in 2 days back in the fall. Fortunately they allow overseas runners to register on site if they arrive within 2 weeks of the race. Bring your passport and cash. It was a deal at $440hkd (approx $60cad) for full, half or 10k. Regular registration was $400 (approx $50cad)!

Pre-race eating was interesting. I'm surrounded by non-runners who live by a different culture's nutritional values. I wanted to eat "simple" but the in-laws wanted me to load up on energy rich foods like meat & veggies and to reduce carbs on pre-race Saturday. So it took some convincing that carb loading is a good thing.

Race day. I took the MTR (metro) on a half hour ride from Tsuen Wan to Tsim Sha Tsui where the race begins. Race package drop-off was quick and efficient with the provided bags and pre-printed ID tags. Porta potties were abundant and there wasn't a line up. My portapottie said "western toilet." Didn't think much of it because my mind was on warm up. It wasn't until my second potty trip that I realized that other potties have squat toilet seats! Western or eastern, I was glad I only needed the urinal.

The challenge wave started at 5:30. Holy crap! Fortunately my wave started at 8:45 and I crossed the start within 5 minutes of the gun. The first km was such an awesome sight. The abundance of building signs hanging over the HK streets are a tourist attraction in itself. From 1km to 3km, the course narrowed far too much for my taste. My pace slowed to 8min/km as we twisted, turned, and shuffled for more space.

From the 3km mark, we entered the highway. I managed to drop my pace to 6:30 but the highway was long, boring, and hot. It lasted until approx 15km.

On a side note, there were armies of volunteers throughout the entire course. Helen told me that volunteer service is popular among HK youth and that many of the race volunteers were part of the the HK Scouts Association and the HK Red Cross (of which she was once a cadet). It were the Scouts who handled baggage check and claim of some 60,000 bags.

Another side note: Water stations were every 5k. Besides water, they offered an electrolyte drink that had a light flavour with a hint of mint. The mint gave a cooling affect on your throat that was kinda neat. Oh, and sponges! Glorious, glorious, sponges!

Another another side note: More armies of volunteers with the Auxiliary Medical Service were placed throughout the course. At first I thought they were giving out petroleum jelly. After running close to one medical station, it was definitely something different because the lotion had a strong medicinal scent. Strong as in Tiger Balm strong, but stronger. Turns out it was liniment of turpentine. Holy crap, what is what? I looked it up after the race and it's an anti-inflammatory and cooling lotion. Um, thanks but no thanks, haha!

Ok back to the race! From 15km, there was a long tunnel approximately 2km that takes you from the Kowloon side to the Island side of HK. It was a bit disorienting and sometimes you didn't know if you were running upslope or downslope. At this point, I was dipping into the 6:00min/km pace and running strong. Lots of racers were cheering to break up the noise. That was really fun because of the huge echoes in that chamber. After the race, Helen asked if the tunnel was smelly with auto fumes. No, all you could smell was liniment of turpentine, LOL!

After the tunnel, the course took us into the shade of tall buildings. You know, the buildings you seen when you google "HK skyline." A few more ramps up and down and I knew we were into the home stretch in Causeway Bay area. Lots of specators and cheering. "GA YUL!" is what they were cheering. The literal translation is "give oil" but it is said in the spirit of "keep it up" or "keep going".

The finish area was large and full of energy. I finished strong with a time of 2:31. Slower than my normal time but given the heat and the crowds, I'm happy with it.

If any of you have travelled to HK, you know there's a ton of walking. I'm not looking forward do that today. :)
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Tori
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Re: SuperBob runs the Hong Kong half

Postby Tori » Mon Feb 06, 2012 8:13 am

Sounds like a fun event!!!! Congrats. :D

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Re: SuperBob runs the Hong Kong half

Postby HCcD » Mon Feb 06, 2012 8:17 am

One of these days I will have to make it down to China / Hong Kong ... and, hope that it coincides with a race, at the same time ... :shifty: :wink:

Oh yeah, nice race .... congrats ... :P
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Re: SuperBob runs the Hong Kong half

Postby RA. » Mon Feb 06, 2012 8:18 am

Awesome, Bob! Enjoy all the walking today! I love Hong Kong! But pretty sure I wouldn't want to race there!
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Re: SuperBob runs the Hong Kong half

Postby Miss*Smiles » Mon Feb 06, 2012 11:00 am

That is so awesome!!

Congratulations :D
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Re: SuperBob runs the Hong Kong half

Postby Jwolf » Mon Feb 06, 2012 12:00 pm

Nice one! Glad you're having a good trip over there.
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Robinandamelia
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Re: SuperBob runs the Hong Kong half

Postby Robinandamelia » Mon Feb 06, 2012 12:14 pm

Sounds like an interesting adventure! Congrats.

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Re: SuperBob runs the Hong Kong half

Postby Marg » Mon Feb 06, 2012 12:48 pm

Wow that sounds like an amazing experience! Congrats Bob!
Linament of turpentine, going to have to Google that one. :shock:
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Re: SuperBob runs the Hong Kong half

Postby Endorphineaddict » Mon Feb 06, 2012 8:53 pm

That sounds like an amazing cultural and athletic experience.

Great job :D

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Re: SuperBob runs the Hong Kong half

Postby jes » Mon Feb 06, 2012 8:58 pm

What an amazing experience! Race of a lifetime!!
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Re: SuperBob runs the Hong Kong half

Postby Jo-Jo » Mon Feb 06, 2012 9:10 pm

So cool that you got to run a race in a far off land...and get a visit with family in too!!

Well done SuperBob!!!! :D
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Re: SuperBob runs the Hong Kong half

Postby carm » Mon Feb 06, 2012 9:29 pm

Nice race, SuperBob. How did you find the air pollution there? I can only imagine how wild it must have been doing a race in HK. It's soooo busy there. Next up, Great Wall Marathon?! 8)
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Re: SuperBob runs the Hong Kong half

Postby deerdree » Mon Feb 06, 2012 9:43 pm

give oil. i like that. :lol:

congratulations!!

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Re: SuperBob runs the Hong Kong half

Postby scrumhalfgirl » Mon Feb 06, 2012 10:05 pm

so neat! glad you came by to post this report - good to hear from you!
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Re: SuperBob runs the Hong Kong half

Postby purdy65 » Tue Feb 07, 2012 9:59 am

Neato! Cool race! :D
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Re: SuperBob runs the Hong Kong half

Postby SuperboB » Tue Feb 07, 2012 10:27 am

Air pollution isn't bad, imo, but I am suffering from dust allergies and I'm taking antihistamines every day. I realized that I'm spoiled by the super clean air of Victoria. I've been told that it's been getting worse since 1997 when Hong Kong was given back to China. At that time, many factories opened in Shenzhen, which is Hong Kong's neighbouring city.

Great Wall marathon? Not anytime soon, haha! Next away race will hopefully be in a small city. And in the Pacific time zone too! :lol:
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Ken B
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Re: SuperBob runs the Hong Kong half

Postby Ken B » Tue Feb 07, 2012 2:39 pm

Great report and a nice race! Congratulations!

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Re: SuperBob runs the Hong Kong half

Postby abirdd » Thu Feb 09, 2012 12:50 pm

Sounds like quite the life experience - congrats! Now I'm off to Google liniment of turpentine 8)

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AndyM
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Re: SuperBob runs the Hong Kong half

Postby AndyM » Sun Feb 12, 2012 3:36 pm

Wow, it sounds like a very interesting experience for sure! Good for you to take in a race on your trip!

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Re: SuperBob runs the Hong Kong half

Postby SuperboB » Sun Feb 12, 2012 8:20 pm

Ok folks, I am now taking a group order on Liniment of Turpentine. Minimum order of 1 gallon per person! :twisted:
After some searching, liniment of turpentine isn't so scary. It's a distilled resin from pine trees.

    Absorbine Jr: menthol, wormwood oil and a secret tincture of herbs
    Vicks vapor rub: camphor, eucalyptol, menthol, cedarleaf oil, nutmeg oil, petrolatum, thymol, turpentine oil
    Tiger Balm: menthol, camphor, mint oil, cajuput oil, clove bud oil, cassia oil, petroleum jelly, parrafin
    Liniment of turpentine: turpentine oil, camphor oil, soap, lotion base

I miss my grandma. She always put this sort of stuff of my bruises and I hated it. :lol:
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SuperBob runs the Hong Kong half

Postby Kelodie » Sun Feb 12, 2012 9:30 pm

Sounds fun!
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Re: SuperBob runs the Hong Kong half

Postby getfit » Tue Feb 21, 2012 10:26 pm

Great report Bob, enjoyed reading it :D
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