2017 – MSIG Sai Kung 50

On February 18, 2017 I ran the 2017 edition of the MSIG Sai Kung 50. No, I didn’t actually run 50 kilometres, in the countryside, up and down mountains. Maybe someday I will, but not that day. I ran the shorter, 21km route, in the countryside, up and down mountains. This run started super early in the morning. The run was to start at 7:00AM, so I got to Pak Tam Chung Picnic Garden at around 6:00AM. I had plenty of time to mill around, hydrate, warm up, and hand in my things to the friendly baggage collection folks for safe storage.

We got off to a great start at 7 in the morning but it wasn’t too long before we all behaved like lemmings and followed someone in the front who went off the path by accident. There was a hilarious few minutes of all of us trying to reverse direction on a perilously narrow village path.

Once back on course, we all began to spread apart a lot more as we all settled into our own personal grooves. Along the way was some great scenery as well as… a cow.

From then on, it was a mighty hard slog up some steep inclines. We eventually got to a beach village where refreshment stands were setup. Words can’t properly express how much I appreciated water and Nutella sandwiches.

From there, I had a nice little walk along the beach as I munched on my sandwich and drank the water. An important sidenote concerning the water: as I took the bottle from the refreshment stand and started to walk away, the lady at the stand reminded me not to just carelessly leave it somewhere. I assured her I wouldn’t. I didn’t. Once emptied, I crushed it and carried the dang thing up and down mountains until I finally saw the next rubbish bin.

So anyway, that nice walk along the beach was the last easygoing part of the run. From then on, I had a brutal, never ending walk up a mountain that seemed to never end. I swear, several times I just wanted to lay down and sleep. That was a real desire. This is the reason why I encourage people to get into endurance sports though. You get into a mental kind of headspace that is not really easy to get into in other situations. You end up LEARNING more about yourself. I finally did get to the top of that brutal incline and took a couple of nice pictures.

Now a little warning: when you’re completely knackered and sitting on the ground to catch your breath, DO NOT quickly stand up without your sunglasses on if there’s a clear blue sky. It was the strangest thing. It was like there was a little gremlin inside my skull, pinching the rear of both my eyeballs. I wasn’t having any of that so I sat back down for another minute until the weird little mini-migraine went away. Then I put my sunglasses back on, SLOWLY stood up again, and started the descent down the mountain.

Later on, we got off the mountain trail and spent a great deal of time running on pavement. At one point, there were some reinforced embankments that people had scratched various country names into. I made my own contribution.

All in all, I had great time despite finishing with an atrocious run time! Ha ha. I’d like to extend a big congratulations to the event organizers. They put on a great race overall – which even featured great post-race refreshments!

2017 China Coast Marathon

A month ago I took part in the 2017 China Coast Marathon, sponsored by Gammon. It’s a wonderful event that features a scenic full marathon and half marathon on a very challenging course of mostly incline and decline.

First I had to get up in the early morning hours to catch a minibus from my home to a shuttle bus stationed at Tai Po Market. That bus was due to leave at 6:00am and arrive at the race site at close to 7:00am.

Everything went smoothly and I arrived at Po Leung Kuk Holiday Camp with enough time to get my things ready, go to the washroom and properly warm up for the race.

There were already a lot of people milling about, trying to warm up. I was freezing. I immediately regretted not bringing a heavier jacket. I had thought a simple athletic wind breaker would suffice. I was mistaken.


Leading up to race time, I had to battle with my nerves to keep my digestive system at bay but I lost that battle. I had to go to the toilet shortly after getting off the bus, and then about a half hour later. By then the line was too long so I just hoped there would be some sort of toilet during the run.

At 8am we were off at the starting line and I felt GREAT, despite having to go number 1 and 2 at the nearest porta potty.

 

The run basically consisted of 2 rounds of the circuit shown on the map posted below. It was fairly challenging as most of the run was either at an incline or decline.

I was somewhere around 25% done when my left ankle began to act up as it sometimes does. I kind of expect it. I had sprained it a few times through the years and it healed a bit less every time. It’s not a big deal most of the time. From then on, I was forced to give up on my target pace of 6km an hour and had to alternate between walking, limping/running, and running. It’s funny how pain kind of comes and goes when you’re running.

I ultimately crossed the finish line and the feeling was amazing. This was my first countryside marathon and I had a lot of fun despite the poor performance. I hope I do better next time!

Cryotherapy in Hong Kong

Way back in early March of this year I partially tore something in my left thigh playing soccer. The recovery had been taking a long time so I decided to try cryotherapy in August. I made the trek out to Causeway Bay to try the only facility in Hong Kong that I know of which offers cryotherapy, Polaris Wellness

Polaris Wellness is located on the 10th floor of Lee Theatre in Causeway Bay. The facilities are comfortable and the staff is friendly and professional. When I went in August, they were offering an introductory 2 sessions for a total of $900. After that, there would be a wide variety of packages or membership plans you could choose from. The options seemed quite flexible.

First, I had a chat with the administrative staff and then the technician. He needed to assess what I was hoping to get out of the treatment. I was hoping to stimulate collagen production in my joints. I had heard that it’s a possibility and that would help with my thigh injury and also a wonky left knee that’s been bothering me off and on. After some chatting, I got a little tour of the facilities and then began my first introductory treatment.

They’ve got two main treatments. One is for whole body therapy, where you get treated with super cold gas all over your body while you stand inside some sort of pod, and the other treatment involves much more focused treatment, where just a certain area of your body is treated. I assumed that’s more of a facial kind of treatment meant to improve your skin complexion.

I was there for the whole body treatment so I was led to a changing room where I had to strip down, put on some disposable undies, apply stickers (for protection?) to my nipples, put on some comfy socks and a cozy robe.

After letting the technician know that I was finished, I was led into the treatment room. Once there, he told me to put on some boots and gloves and then I was led into the booth. Coming from Manitoba, I was used to sub zero temperatures well below -30 so when I first got in, it wasn’t a big deal. The initial temperature was only -20. But over the next couple minutes, it gradually got down to -105. It stayed there until 3 minutes had passed and I was honestly relieved when it was done. I felt great after warming up and the second session a week later was much the same with the only difference being that I got to -120 by the end of the 3 minutes.


I’m still considering trying to carve out some time once or twice in my week to make the trip to Causeway Bay and do a 10 session package. It feels wonderful and if it helps rejuvenate my joints a bit, I’d consider it well worth the time and money.